Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Christian Ryholt, ‘19

The CSO asked rising 3L, Christian Ryholt, 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 resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
I used employer websites as well as Chambers Associates available on the Career Services Office’s Resources page.

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
As I want to practice in Houston, I applied to every firm that was hiring in Houston.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
Yes. When I was bidding for OCI, I was not yet sure if I wanted to be a litigator or transactional attorney. I created a version of my application for litigation and a version for transactional. If the firms’ Houston office was litigation focused, I applied as a litigator; if it was transactional, I used my transactional version.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Have flash cards created beforehand with information about each firm, the interviewing attorneys, and questions you want to ask. Have some questions ready as you will be asked, “so what can we tell you about our firm?”

What three questions would you recommend students ask employers?
Ask about the summer program (real work, social activities, etc.); the firm’s culture (what makes it stand out); and ask the attorneys about their practice (what they like about it, why they chose transactional/litigation, etc.)

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations?
I accepted them as they came along. Sometimes I attended two receptions, leaving one early to go to a second one; never a third. However, I only attended one dinner per night.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
I heard back within a day or two after interviews to set up callbacks. However, some firms do take longer. I received a callback from a firm more than a week after OCI was over. After my callback interviews, I heard back from the two firms I got offers from within one day.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
Do as many interviews as you can. It is a numbers game. Even if you don’t receive a callback, it’s good practice. Don’t fear back-to-back interviews – everyone understands, and you get to knockout two interviews quickly. Be prepared and personable. Have stories about your background and questions to ask. Use the Career Services Office – they are a great resource!