Because of the competitive nature of the OCI process, many think of it as daunting. It isn’t. Simplifying things and being true to yourself will take you a long way. There are two things to keep in mind to improve your chances: (1) do some (if not all, it depends on you!) of the easy, obvious tasks; and (2) be yourself and show that you are motivated, excited, and eager for an opportunity to practice law.
You have probably already heard of some of the basic things you should try to do. Seek people and guidance. Go to any event available. Ask for business cards and make sure to follow-up with everyone you meet. Send hand-written thank you notes. Do your homework on firms and people you want to know. Some people do these things better than others. I was not the most diligent with these kinds of things. However, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of things in this area that you can do, and should do, that will go a long way. At the least, reach out to the CDO, the 2Ls, and the 3Ls. Everyone is here and willing to help! The CDO does a great job of telling you about firms and connecting you with people who have been there. If you are truly serious about succeeding in OCI, and if you are reading this chances are that you are, then doing these simple things will improve your chances.
Doing some of the essentials mentioned above will greatly improve your chances. Grades will also help you but can only take you so far. At the end of the day, you should also be a likeable individual whom the employers believe can contribute to the firm. I was told once that while grades get you an interview, it is your personality that gets you the job. I think the most important thing to convey during an interview is your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Show that you are interested, grateful, and excited for the opportunity to work for the firm you are interviewing with. Do your homework to commend the work they do and show how your interests align with that work. Give them a personal story of why you are there and how you are ready to take on your next challenge. You want to convey to the employer that you would be a great asset to the firm and that you are the type of individual they seek. At the end of the day, an employer is essentially asking him or herself whether they would enjoy working with you. Thus, be polite, kind, humble yet confident, and relatable.
Individuals in law school are achievers. They are impressive individuals that enjoy challenges. If you are thinking about doing OCI then you have set your sights on a significant challenge. Make sure you own your story, be confident, and relay to the individuals you meet that you are one to do great work. Hopefully you are trying and succeeding in doing well in school. Ultimately, remember that you want people to enjoy your company and want to work with you. Be nice to people and be confident because you are also interviewing them. Good luck!