Who cares about showers and flowers when you’ve got job interviews to tackle? Spring OCI is here or coming soon to a law school near you, and it’s time to grab yourself a legal job. Drew Carls, the On-Campus Interview Coordinator for the University of Texas School of Law took time to answer some of Vault Law’s Spring OCI questions. With UT Law’s Spring OCI just days away (the Austin-based school’s Spring OCI program will take place from February 28-March 7 this year), Mr. Carls has been busy getting ready for the on-campus interviews and resume collection. He shares some of his Spring-OCI tips below.
Vault Law: What is Spring OCI? How does Spring OCI differ from Fall OCI?
Drew Carls: The Spring On-Campus Interview (OCI) Program takes place during the Spring semester and is usually a smaller program than Fall OCI. Spring OCI is open to all students including 1Ls, while Fall OCI is open only to rising 2Ls, 3Ls and LLMs based on employers’ hiring criteria. While employers from various legal sectors participate in both Fall and Spring OCI, firms and organizations with larger summer programs primarily recruit in the fall, although they may also recruit in the spring (some schools offer employers the opportunity to choose 100 percent of their interview selections during Spring OCI, while Fall OCI trends to hybrid interview selection programs in which a certain percent of interview selections are chosen by employers, while the remaining slots are filled by lottery.)
VL: What are your top 5 tips for a successful Spring OCI?
1.Meet with your career counselor and/or attend an interviewing tips program. Learn the nuances of legal interviewing so you can be prepared.
2.Participate in a mock interview. A mock interview is an opportunity to polish your interviewing skills so you can walk away with actionable improvements for the real interview.
3.Ask a recent summer clerk/intern for advice. Seek out a fellow law student or recent alumnus who has worked at the organization that you are interviewing with. Ask them what they think makes for a successful interview and clerkship with that employer. Find out more about the organization.
4.Research the employer. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Review the employer’s website and consider other tools such as the NALP Directory of Legal Employers, Vault Career Guides, Chamber Associate, LexisNexis, Martindale-Hubbell and your school’s summer clerkship evaluations. Professors and other attorneys familiar with the employer can also be helpful. And don’t forget to research your interviewer(s).
5.Become familiar with NALP’s General Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions. Know how quickly you should respond to an offer, how to best respond to an offer (either by phone, e-mail or letter), what split summers are and how to make that arrangement, as well as what to say when declining an offer. For specific guidance, visit with your career counselor.
VL: How does UT Law Career Services prepare its students for Spring OCI?
DC: Our office offers a variety of resources to our students participating in Spring OCI including resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews and interviewing programs, to name a few. In addition, we offer online resources to help students research employers as well as online summer clerkship evaluations by fellow students.
VL: Has UT Law modified its approach to Spring OCI at all in this changing economy?
DC: UT Law Career Services Office continually reviews its approach to recruiting programs based on current hiring trends. We modify our programs to serve the needs of our students and recruiting employers accordingly.
VL: If a student doesn’t find the right job placement or internship during Spring OCI, what are some next steps he or she can take in his or her job search?
DC: Students should work with their career counselors to develop summer employment plans that include job search strategies beyond Spring OCI, such as reviewing their schools’ job banks, scheduling additional mock interviews and broadening their job searches either geographically, by employer type or both. There are other summer options available including clinic work through their schools and volunteering with public service organizations to gain legal experience. Students should also continue to expand their networks as many opportunities are by word of mouth. Attending a bar association or CLE event can provide great opportunities to meet legal professionals. Be sure to look for other networking opportunities, and do not forget to let your network know what type of opportunities you are seeking.
University of Texas School of Law Site
Drew Carls is the On-Campus Interview Coordinator for The University of Texas School of Law. Mr. Carls joined the Career Services Office in 2006. He manages the Mock Interview Program, the Fall On-Campus Interview Program and the Spring On-Campus Interview Program. Mr. Carls also manages UT Law Career Services’ Twitter (@UTLawCSO) and LinkedIn accounts and serves on multiple University scholarship, parking and transportation and social media committees. Previously, Drew was appointed to the University of Texas’ Task Force on Curricular Reform—its report was instrumental in significant core curriculum changes at The University of Texas at Austin, including what is now known as the School of Undergraduate Studies. Mr. Carls received a BA in Government and a minor in Communication from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.
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