The Fall on-campus interview season is about to start! Each year, Fall OCI offers Denver Law students the opportunity to interview for public and private sector opportunities, including summer associate/law clerk/extern/intern or entry-level associate/staff attorney positions. If the students hired for summer associate positions perform well during the summer, law firms generally make offers to these students for full-time employment upon graduation. Some employer participants interview and hire 3Ls for full-time employment after graduation. In addition, a number of public sector employers also hire externs, and in some cases entry-level attorneys, through this program.
OCI is an extremely competitive process. As a rule, grades play a particularly important role for most participating private sector employers. However, many OCI employers are interested in more than class rank; they are looking for the whole package. Prior work experience, activities/hobbies/interests, volunteer work, and networking contacts can help you stand out. For public sector employers, a genuine and demonstrated interest in public interest work can make a difference in your application.
Statistically, most students do not obtain postgraduate jobs through Fall OCI. In fact, generally, only large law firms make the majority of their offers through the Fall OCI process. For students seeking opportunities from all other types of legal employers — including small and midsize firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and judicial clerkships —self-initiated job searches, externships, and networking produce the vast majority of job offers. Be sure to meet with us over the summer to develop an effective overall job search strategy.
If you plan to participate in Fall OCI, preparation is key. Here is what you can do to prepare and set yourself apart from the other candidates:
- Prepare and refine your resume, cover letters, and writing sample. Employers expect error free documents. Do not let spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors be the reason you are passed over for an interview.
- Make an appointment with a CDO counselor to discuss the OCI process and to review your application materials before the deadline to submit. Any counselor can meet with you. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Assistant Dean Eric Bono or one of our career consultants: Felicia Ho, Andrea Montague, Judy Stein, or John McKee, please call 303.871.6124, email email@example.com, or stop by the CDO front desk.
- Research employers of interest. You will have access to employers one (1) week before application submission begins. There are a variety of resources you can use for research including:
– National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Directory of Legal Employers
www.nalpdirectory.com. An excellent resource to learn more about large law firms participating in OCI, which gives an overview of the practice areas, hiring history, salary information for summer associates and entry level associates, billable hour requirements, number of attorneys per practice area, pro bono policies, and other relevant information about a given legal employer. Firms that have a NALP form will expect you to be familiar with it.
The employers’ own websites will give you an overview of what the firm, nonprofit, company, or government agency does. Law firm websites are likely to include a firm profile, a list of practice areas, lists of branch offices, attorney biographies, and a listing of internal firm publications for which the interviewing attorney has written. Many firms also include extensive descriptions of their summer associate programs.
Bloomberg Law, http://www.bna.com/bloomberglaw, allows you to search various legal and local publications about the employer and the interviewer(s). You can also search for cases and other matters the employer and/or interviewer is handling.
The Martindale Directory, http://www.martindale.com/, gives basic information about the practice areas of a firm as well as biographical information about its attorneys.
Denver Law has alumni working at the majority of participating OCI employers. You should contact them and offer to meet for coffee or lunch or to arrange a time to speak by phone if that is more convenient for them. To find and contact them:
- Meet with a CDO counselor to get connected to alumni at employers of interest;
- Search the list of professionals on law firms’ websites; many firms have functions to search by law school attended;
- Run a Martindale.com search specifying the name of the firm and “University of Denver Sturm College of Law” as the law school attended; and
- Check on LinkedIn.com running a search with employer name and “University of Denver Sturm College of Law.”
When you speak with alumni you can ask about their experiences working at the employer, what the employer looks for in candidates, any interview advice they might have, etc.
Speak with students currently working or who have previously worked at employers of interest. The students can share with you their experiences, give insight into the culture and environment of the employer, and provide advice on the interviewing process.
4) Attend Denver Area Legal Recruiters Association (DALRA) Resume Panel and Review on June 14 at Denver Law. Learn from and have your resume critiqued by outside recruiting/hiring professionals in the Denver legal community. Register on the Blog.
5) Attend the Fall Recruiting Employer Expo on July 26 at Denver Law. Learn more about the OCI employers by asking thoughtful questions, show your enthusiasm and interest in specific employers, and make a lasting and positive impression on the employers you meet. Register on the Blog.
While the OCI process can be daunting, the CDO is here to help. We are available to meet with you throughout the summer, answer your questions during the process, and assist you in your job search. OCI should be only one part of your career planning and employment search and we are here to help you navigate all of the resources and opportunities available to you.
We look forward to meeting with and assisting you in your career plan and employment search!