Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Blair Watler, ’17

Blair Watler, ’17, candidly shared her advice for navigating 2016 Fall OCI.

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers? The most helpful resources when researching employers were the law firms’ websites, talking to former summer associates and current lawyers at the firms, and Google searches for notable and current cases and matters.

How did you decide which employers to apply to? I mostly limited my OCI bids by the cities I was interested in living—Dallas, Austin, Houston, Washington, D.C., and New York. Since I didn’t work at a law firm my 1L summer, I wanted to interview with a broad range of firms: big Texas law firms, national firms with Texas offices, litigation boutiques, and DC and NYC firms.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews? Before your first interview, go by the CSO to write down your interview times, room numbers, and names of interviewers. Make a plan for lunch before you leave home.  I made and brought a “cheat sheet” to each of my interviews with basic facts about the firm and my interviewers (if I knew who they would be ahead of time), questions to ask during the interview, and space to write down any notes. It helped keep me organized and was helpful to look back on at the end of the day and week (it all blurs together).

What three questions would you recommend students ask employers? What is the biggest learning curve for summer associates?  What surprised you most about working at your firm?  What has been your favorite matter, client, or case to work on?

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI? Try not to read into things too much. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone else is rolling in call backs and offers, or that if you didn’t get invited to a dinner the firm hates you.  Focus on which firm feels right for you and less on what everyone else is saying or speculating.  Stay above the noise, ask critical questions, and trust your gut.