Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Ryan Frankel, ‘19

The CSO asked rising 3L, Ryan Frankel, to share his advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer, we will be sharing tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more. For now, you may find instructions on how to bid (apply) and schedule interviews, research employers, and prepare for interviews in the 2018 Fall OCI Guidelines (PDF).

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
Quite frankly, I didn’t do anything. I have heard of success stories of going to the recruiter and trying to pitch your case for a few minutes with the attorneys. It can’t hurt.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Always research your interviewers if you can. There will be a ton, and it can get jumbled. Be sure to at least have a couple of sentences about each person and study them beforehand.

What three questions would you recommend students ask employers?
I would ask how summer associates get work; i.e., is it from a specific partner or a “vulture” system. More importantly, there are a few things I would avoid: if it isn’t obvious how much they pay, do not ask about it. That is a question for when/if you get an offer. Don’t ask about summer associate events as your interview should be all about business.

If you had lottery interviews, did you have any success with them?
Absolutely. About half of my interviews were lottery, and so were half of my callback interviews. The firm I’m working for this summer—the one that hired me—was from a lottery interview. Lottery interviews can be random; the preselect interviews are sometimes chosen by the recruiter, and an attorney may see something in you during the interview that the recruiter, for whatever reason, did not see. So, absolutely do not count a firm out just because they did not preselect you.

Did you send thank-you notes after each interview? If so what format and to whom?
I personally did, yet I don’t think it’s required. It was a standard email with a sentence or two personalized to whomever interviewed me. I would say they should be required for all callbacks. Also, do not get discouraged if you don’t receive a response—it provides no indication as to whether or not they liked you.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
After the first interview, I heard back from most—if not all—employers within a week. This of course is not necessarily standard, but after a week, I’d say you shouldn’t expect much. I have heard of people getting invitations two weeks later—it’s just rare.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
Do not worry about what everyone else is doing and where everyone else is getting interviews. Also, while a firm may have a big name, it might not be right for you. If you want to litigate, many big firms won’t be great if you want to get your feet wet early. Don’t be seduced by a name—find the firm that matches your interests.

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?
Email, email, and more email. Use every connection you might have. Email your resume to hundreds of employers. You will get a lot of “we have already filled out class,” or no response at all, yet it only takes one “yes” response.