Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Etiquette 101 for upper-level summer OCI

In the strange world of summer law jobs, 2Ls such as myself are now in the thick of the hunt for associate positions that will begin in May 2011. The selection process is based, not on our second-year performance, but on grades from the 1L year that we wrapped up four months ago. The first wave of interviews begins next week with what is called OCI, or On-Campus Interviews. Students submit "bids" for 20-minute interviews with employers, who then select a dozen or so students based on resumes, grades, writing samples, grades, personal references, grades, grades, and grades. You get the picture. 
If you're lucky enough to get past the first interview, the second round usually takes place a few weeks later. This "callback" interview can last several hours, and is much more demanding. I had one last year that included one-on-one meetings with five different associates and partners, back to back, at the firm's downtown Louisville offices.  Plenty of students don't even bother with OCI. The process can be stressful, and the odds of success can be fairly low compared to the required investment in time and research. I didn't land an OCI job last year, but I still had an incredible summer experience with a solo practitioner who hired me based on a recommendation from a close friend. Still, I plan to take a second bite out of the OCI apple starting next week. To prepare, I listened yesterday to a 90-minute presentation on etiquette that was hosted by the law school's fantastic Career Services Department. The presenter, Terri Thompson of Etiquette in Action (photo, above right) agreed to let me share a few of her tips: 
  • In a sit-down interview with an employer, always remain standing until you are offered a seat.

  • Always thank the interviewer twice: once after the face-to-face meeting, and a second time in writing with a thank-you card.

  • Speaking of thank-yous: use blank cards, colored white or cream, in a plain envelope. Apparently, they shouldn't even have the words Thank You printed on the front. Email is an appropriate way to supplement written cards in some circumstances, but you should still send the card itself.

  • At an interview meal, place your napkin on the left side of your plate if you must leave the table.

  • Attire for law students should be extremely conservative. For guys, shirts with either traditional cuffs or French cuffs with links are OK. For women, long hair should be pulled back at the nape of the neck unless you can sit through the entire interview without repetitively "tucking" your locks behind your ears.

  • Men no longer need to wait for a female interviewer to offer a handshake first. Although there was some disagreement about this during yesterday's panel, Thompson says social etiquette for handshakes is now completely gender neutral.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I really like your presentation with information.Thank you for your kindness!

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