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How to Prepare for OCI

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 05, 2015 10:02 AM

It's already August. For law students, that means on campus interviews, more commonly known as "OCI." OCI is where fledgling, soon-to-be-lawyers take some of the very first steps down their career path.

You've sent out your resume and been matched for interviews. You have your suit pressed and a haircut scheduled for the day before. Now what? Here are five tips for preparing for OCI, whether you've got two days until your first interview or two weeks.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice Interviewing

If you haven't been running practice interviews, start. You can do mock interviews with friends, study groups, or at your law school's career center.

The key when practicing is to practice in chunks. Make sure your canned answers (i.e., why you love the firm, why you went to law school, what your greatest challenges have been) are self-contained stories that can be told as needed, not one long narrative. Similarly, have enough to say that each answer could take a minute or two to tell, but start with what matters most, in case you get cut off after a few seconds.

2. Scout the Location

If you're lucky, your OCI event will be held at a nice hotel somewhere near your law school. There's nothing better than having a bed waiting uncomfortably in the background while you interview. Don't let the location trip you up, however, whatever it may be. Check out the interview site beforehand, know how you will get there and where you can freshen up beforehand. Being familiar with the interview site is an easy way to reduce stress and avoid uncesssary complications.

3. Treat Every Firm Like It's Your #1 Choice

Sure, you sent a resume to as many firms as you could. Sure, some of them you know little about and others you can't really see yourself at. But sure enough, you've got an interview with a few of those firms. Even if they're at the bottom of your list, treat them as though they're your first and only love. Put in the effort to do the research and learn about the firm. Interview with enthusiasm. Those firms might be great after all -- or they might be the only ones to call you back.

4. Use Paper

I know, we're in a post-paper age, but not when it comes to interviews. Bring an interview folio with you, crammed with copies of your resume, transcripts, writing samples, references, and any other application materials. Spring for some nice paper when you print these out. You might not be asked for them, but if you are, you'll be prepared.

5. Scrub the Internet

On campus interviews are screening interviews, which generally means firms don't put the same effort into researching potential summer associates as they will once you've made it to the next round. Good! That means they may not have seen your embarrassing Facebook photos from spring break or your drunken tweets after finals.

But they might be looking soon. Imagine that someone from your potential summer firm will be checking all of your social media. Clean it up and make it presentable -- or at least update your privacy settings.

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