First of all, congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely decided to apply for summer associate positions through the exhausting, exciting, and hopefully rewarding process that is OCI. Here are some pieces of advice from my experience.
Cast a wide net
The more firms you apply to, the greater your likelihood of success. There are so many accepting applications, and you won’t really know which one is the best fit for you until you’re in the thick of applying, so you might as well increase your chances. Also, the extra interviews can be good practice and get you more comfortable telling your personal narrative.
The downside of over-applying is that you may end up interviewing with firms you have no intention of joining. If that happens, however, it will be obvious to the firms and you’re unlikely to receive an offer anyway. This strategy can result in wasted time both for you and the interviewers.
This is conflicting advice to the above, so you’ll have to decide what is best for you. If you have the time, do your homework and make purposeful choices about where to apply. Ask lawyers to coffee, meet with CDO, and talk to the 3Ls who are working at firms this summer. If you don’t want to work in a satellite office, don’t apply to the firms that only have a few lawyers in Denver. If you know you want to work in only one practice group all summer, avoid the firms that have a rotational schedule for their Summers.
This method is substantially more work at the beginning of the process, but will be worth it to avoid unnecessary interviews and extra rejection letters.
Finally, the best advice I can offer is, no matter how many firms you decide to apply to, be a team player.
Got a callback? Tell your friends. Not knowing whether you’ve advanced to the next round is one of the worst parts of OCI. Don’t stress about hurting your friends’ feelings. Just be honest with them so they can move on and focus on the firms they’ve still got a shot with.
Extra hard questions in an interview? Give your friends a heads up. Ultimately it’s going to be about the fit. If you’ve got the interview, they think you’re qualified. You’re not putting yourself at a disadvantage by being considerate to your fellow interviewees.
A rising tide raises all ships. DU’s success is your success, so remember that this is not meant to be a competitive process. If it all works the way it should, you will end up where you are meant to be!
Good luck! Feel free to reach out to me personally if you’d like to chat more about OCI.