Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Recent Grad, Aleza Remis

The CSO asked several students and recent grads to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Aleza Remis, who spent her 2L summer working at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington, DC and graduated this May, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
I used the NALP resource often to look through the categories they rate in terms of billable hours, quotes from associates, and generally happiness. I also thought it was very useful to speak with associates or other students who had been through the process before. Additionally, NALP was helpful to show how many offices each firm had and which practice areas were large in the specific offices. One of the biggest mistakes is applying to a certain city and wanting to practice in an area that that office does not do.

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
For me, city was really the driving force. Additionally, I had some inclination that I was interested in criminal law, so I looked for firms in those cities that had large white-collar practices. It’s hard to sort through all the firms, so speaking with someone who has gone through the process–even just another law student in the grade above–is very helpful. Speak with someone you trust and that person can give their impressions of the firms.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
I had the same basic cover letter for each. I changed the city/name in each cover letter and added/tailored one sentence to that specific firm. For example, if one firm had a large FCPA practice, I added a sentence explaining my interest in that area of law. Also, if it was a firm I really was interested in (as opposed to just knowing about generally) I tried to be more specific about why I wanted to work there. Mostly I think it’s important to have the right name/office on each cover letter and to ensure you don’t say you want to do white-collar work when that firm doesn’t actually have white color work. Just be detail-oriented, but I don’t really think there’s a need to specifically tailor each sentence.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
This process took more time than I had anticipated. Ranking and making cover letters, checking and double checking, uploading, all of those things take time. If all the materials are ready when it’s time to rank, it will be much easier. I can’t remember exactly how much time it took, but definitely get started, especially on the research process (and ranking/preferences) as early as you can.

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
I emailed the recruiter in some cases or tried to find them in the CSO to find out if I could fit in an extra slot. I also kept my eye out for announcements on Symplicity because often someone cancels.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and you get there early enough to wipe off the sweat (this is Texas!). Be confident and be yourself. Know which firms you’re interviewing with and 2-3 reasons why you want to work there, specifically. Every firm will ask you that. The interviews are SO short, try to make a good impression. Be very friendly and polite, thank the interviewers. Smile! Think of some good highlights from your 1L summer work and be prepared to explain them. The firms enjoy listening to law students who are excited about the law!

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
Remain calm! Be confident, be polite, and be prepared! Try not to talk to too many people about your interviews, everyone is stressed and competing for a limited number of jobs. Best to talk to your mentor or other students who aren’t going through the process. Use the CSO!