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On-Campus Interview Process

An Overview of the On-Campus Interview Process

On-campus interviews, or OCIs as they are commonly referred to, are a major part of the law school experience. However, many incoming and first-year law students are unaware of what OCIs are and how the process works. The term is thrown around law schools so frequently that students often feel embarrassed about their lack of OCI experience. Let’s take a closer look at the on-campus interview process, how it works, and what to expect as a law student.

An Overview of the On-Campus Interview Process

What Are OCIs?

OCIs are interviews conducted by law firms and other legal employers on a school’s campus during both the fall and spring semesters. Generally, students who are selected for an OCI are interviewing for a summer associate position. For a majority of firms, OCIs are the primary method for hiring recent law school graduates.

Firms will hire you as a 2L summer associate and then decide whether to offer you a full associate position. Generally, 2L summer associate performance is the main factor that firms use when deciding whether to offer an associate role. In essence, the summer associate position is an audition for a permanent, full-time associate offer. Upon graduation and passage of the Bar Exam, students offered an associate position join the firm as first-year associates. 

OCIs are generally attended by large national law firms and local, state, and federal governmental agencies. On occasion, smaller local law firms may participate in the OCI process.

How Do Students Take Part in OCIs?

Generally, law schools will open an OCI application portal where students submit their law school profiles. The profiles include a law school transcript, previous legal experience (1L summer position), and other basic information about the applicant. From there, employers will review all of the applicant profiles from a certain law school and determine who to interview.

Employers who participate in OCIs are typically looking for students in the top 10 to 15 percent of their class. In addition, students with distinguished academic credentials, such as moot court or law review experience, are highly preferred. While strong 1L grades are a huge help, some employers look for students with slightly lower academic and professional experience.

What Should Students Expect?

If you were one of the lucky students invited to an OCI by a prospective legal employer – first off congratulations! OCIs are a competitive process where every student is anxious for a number of reasons. Students often speak with others who received invitations and begin to worry about whether they have enough OCIs. Some students worry about competing against their friends and colleagues for a single summer associate position. The list could go on and on.

Students invited to interview, especially those who have multiple invitations, should expect a hectic four or five days of interviewing. Employers will usually send a first-year associate and a more seasoned attorney to conduct the interviews. The interviews themselves are usually short and most last for between 20 to 30 minutes. From there, students are left with the task of leaving a positive impression on the interviewers. In doing so, be sure to avoid these three common mistakes!

Be sure you’re prepared for OCIs with this list of 5 things you should bring to an interview and our tips on how to dress for OCIs!

Students Who Don’t Get Invited to OCIs 

In short – there really isn’t anything to seriously worry about. Students who do not get invited to interview during the OCI process will be in the majority of their class. As mentioned, most OCI employers are looking for those students in the top 10 to 20 percent of the class. That leaves a whopping 80 to 90 percent of the class left!

Students in this majority will apply to summer associate positions, internships, and clerkships much like a normal job. That means scouring job websites, constantly refreshing the law school career opportunities page, writing out cover letters, and submitting transcripts. Many students who don’t find summer associate positions through OCIs land great roles at awesome firms and companies.

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