Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Giulio Yaquinto, ’17

Giulio Yaquinto, ’17, candidly shared his advice for navigating 2016 Fall OCI.

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers? Law360 is probably the most overlooked resource for firm research. Students have a free subscription through the Tarlton Law Library, and using a firm name as a search term is a great way to quickly learn about recent cases/outcomes. I mostly stuck with firms in Texas since I plan on ultimately practicing here, but I also bid a bunch for Washington, D.C. I didn’t tailor my materials for each firm aside from one cover letter for Texas firms and one cover letter for D.C. firms. Based on the Excel spreadsheet with hiring history, the DC firms appeared more selective, so I based my rankings largely on those numbers.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews? Concerning the interviews, my biggest mistake was underestimating how exhausting OCI can be. Doing four or five interviews in one day isn’t easy, and if you’re still working during those last two weeks of summer, the process can be grueling.

What questions would you recommend students ask employers? Having good questions to ask during the interview is essential, and I think the best ones demonstrate a combination of interest in the firm/person you’re talking too. For example, ask the interviewer about the most interesting project they’ve worked on recently, and whether that’s indicative of the kind of cases the firm generally handles. Also, don’t overlook the associate interviewer if it’s a partner/associate combo. For callbacks, my experience was that I either heard from someone in 24-48 hours or not at all.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI? As far as advice, I would say don’t take the whole thing too seriously. That’s not at all to say you shouldn’t be 100 percent professional and prepared, but I think it’s really easy to get more worked up about that stuff than necessary. Know the firm, know its work, and make sure you have a couple good questions. Other than that, have a general framework in your head for the obvious questions (why us, what kind of law do you want to do, why law school, what did you do before this etc.), and have fun. If the process is making you miserable, it’ll be hard to hide, even for only 20 minutes. I treated each interview like I had already achieved what I wanted, and anything more was the icing on the cake. That worked pretty well.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L who may need to look outside of OCI to find a summer clerkship? If nothing works out, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of other great opportunities after OCI. A lot of the people I interviewed with during callback interviews came to the firm after several years in the U.S. attorney’s office, DOJ, or another federal agency. If Biglaw is what you ultimately want, I imagine returning to OCI your 3L year with that kind of experience under your belt will go a long way.

Seriously though, make sure you’re having a good time. That’s the single most important thing I would recommend, and it’s an easy thing to forget or discount. I don’t think any employer goes out specifically looking to hire people that take themselves too seriously.