OCI Tips for Law Students to Stand Out, Look Good

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 29, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On campus interviews are dominated by grades. Many of the top firms and job opportunities have a GPA or rank cutoff for who they'll interview during OCI.

Even if you're not excluded from interviewing based on grades, statistics indicate that most people aren't going to be the top academic candidate for any given job.

That's not something to worry about. Sure grades may be your foot in the door but that's not what's going to seal the deal.

OCI interviewers sit through meetings with many applicants during the process and the real trick is being asked back for a second interview. The best way to accomplish that is to stand out from the crowd.

That doesn't mean be the person with clown shoes or a list of jokes at the ready. There are better ways to be memorable.

  • Dress Memorably. We're still advocating business attire but include a unique accessory, a differently styled shirt, or an interesting tie that looks fashionable but also professional.
  • Prepare Questions. You must be interested to apply so make sure that comes across. Prepare questions ahead of time and possibly even write them down. Organization and genuine interest are both positive traits.
  • Know the Industry. If you say you're interested in a certain area of practice, you better be ready to take about relevant cases and law that are affecting that field right now. Be sure your interest shows depth, not just a need to please.
  • Choose an Early Slot. In some cases you may have an option between several times for an interview. Try choosing one earlier in the day so that you can be the standard by which everyone else is judged.
  • Practice First. Take advantage of mock interviews if your law school offers them. Not only can they help calm your nerves, you can get valuable insight on how best to present yourself.
  • Tell a Story. Many law students have similar backgrounds so it's important to make yours as unique as possible. Spend some time thinking about how to craft an engaging storyline around your past experience.
  • Smile and Relax. Interviewers might remember a nervous wreck but not for the right reasons. Show that you can stay calm under pressure since law is often a stress-filled career.

Summer associate positions are still a top way to get full time work after graduation so take OCI seriously. Making yourself memorable in a positive way just might be your foot in the door.

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