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A resource for students at The University of Texas School of Law regarding the on-campus and off-campus application and interview process, as well as news about upcoming career panels and professional development workshops.

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Vault’s Best Summer Associate Programs for 2015

(From Vault.comNicole Weber | July 10, 2014)  When it comes to finding a career in the legal industry, one of the most important decisions prospective lawyers can make is choosing the right summer associate program. In Vault’s annual associate survey, in which nearly 17,000 law firm associates participated, they asked first- through third-year associates who had summered at their current firms to rate the program both in terms of how well it prepared them for full-time practice and how much fun they had. The average of these two scores determined which firms ranked on Vault’s Best Summer Associate Programs or 2015 list.

Vault’s Best Law Firms for Diversity

(From Vault.comNicole Weber | July 15, 2014) A firm’s commitment to diversity directly impacts employee satisfaction, but also the bottom line. Maintaining a diverse workforce is essential to meeting the changing and wide-ranging needs of clients, and clients recognize this fact—they want to work with diverse teams of attorneys who will bring a variety of ideas to the table. For the 2015 rankings, please see the list of Best Law Firms for Diversity.

Dallas Association of Young Lawyers New INRoads Program – Sign Up Today

INroads is a program where new Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL) members can become acquainted with DAYL and all it has to offer including its committees, community service, networking opportunities, CLE programs, and great people. INroads is a year-long program that will match DAYL members who are looking to become more involved with DAYL members who are already involved.

INcomers are DAYL members who are looking to get more involved in DAYL, whether through volunteering or simply attending certain events. INthusiasts are DAYL members who already attend several events per year and want to help INcomers get involved in DAYL, whether through volunteering or simply attending certain DAYL or DAYL-sponsored events.

The goal of INroads is match INthusiasts with INcomers in order to offer a friendly face at DAYL events and to show members what DAYL has to offer. By signing up to be an INcomer, you can make DAYL an even better organization with more active members, more networking, and more learning. If are a new to Dallas, this program may be right for you.

Please fill out the online application form if you are interested in participating. If you have any questions, please contact Paige Tackett at paige.tackett@gmail.com.

Vault’s Best Law Firms to Work For

(From Vault.com – Nicole Webber | July 08, 2014) While prestige is certainly an important factor in the law firm job-seeking process, there are many other aspects of firm life to consider as well. In Vault’s annual Law Firm Associate Survey nearly 17,000 associates rated and commented on various areas of their work life including overall satisfaction, compensation, career outlook and more. Their answers generated Vault’s Quality of Life Rankings and their annual list of Best Law Firms to Work For.

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia Open House & PATH Conference

For students working in or visiting Washington, DC this summer, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is hosting the following free events:

PDS Summer Open House & Fall OCI Preview
Thursday, July 24, at 5:30 p.m.
Join PDS on Thursday, July 24, at 5:30 p.m. for an open house and on-campus interview preview. They will have a panel discussion describing their work, followed by breakout areas with attorney representatives from each of their practice groups. Learn about opportunities for fall, spring and summer internships and externships, the hiring process and timeline for attorneys, as well as their on-campus schedule. Meet representatives from the current summer class who can speak to their experience at PDS. Register online.

PATH Conference
Saturday, August 2, 2014 from 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Registration is now open for the 5th Biennial PATH: Public Defender Advocacy, Training & Hiring Conference. PATH is a full day of programming for law students, attorneys, and career services counselors interested in learning more about careers in indigent criminal defense. Participants may choose from 16 sessions, with a small group lunch with defenders from some of the nation’s best PD offices.  PATH is free and takes place on Saturday, August 2, 2014. Register online.

Please keep in mind that PDS will be participating in Fall OCI next month so take advantage of these great networking opportunities!

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Rising 3L, Michelle Hood

The CSO asked several students and recent grads to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Rising 3L student, Michelle Hood, who will be splitting her time this summer at Haynes and Boone, LLP in Dallas and Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
To research firm history, background, reputation, and noteworthy cases, I used the firms’ own websites and Wikipedia. To research statistics, I liked using NALP. I was mostly concerned with what practices the firm, and specifically the office I wanted to work in, focused on. NALP lists the number of total attorneys at the firm, as well as the number of attorneys in each office and practice group. NALP also lists the partner to associate ratio. I was looking for a firm with a low partner to associate ratio because I think that suggests higher quality work and a more achievable path to partnership.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?

  • Plan to be everywhere super early – you never know what unexpected things may happen.
  • Have a list of at least three questions you can ask interviewers. It’s okay to ask them the same questions, but do be sure the questions are not easily answered by looking on the firm website.
  • Be energetic. The interviewers interview student, after student, after student for hour, after hour, after hour. It can get repetitive, so break up the monotony.

What questions would you recommend students ask employers?
Two general suggestions for questions: (1) think of the qualities you are looking for in a firm and ask questions to politely probe the interviewer; and (2) improve the quality of your questions by asking follow-up questions and/or explaining why you asked the question, why it is important to you.

  1. What type of work do first and second year associates do? What are the final products young associates create? What aspects of a case are young associates involved in? It is best to ask these types of questions to young associates. You can also simply ask young associates, maybe during a call back lunch, what they are working on now or what they have worked on since they started. This is a good way to honestly gauge the quality of work assigned to young associates.
  2. How much work does the X office (office you are interviewing with) do with other offices around the country/world? I asked this question because I wanted to work at the office that was the hub or center of the firm. I did not want to work, say in Dallas, for only partners in New York. If you want to find mentorship and excel at a firm, I think face time with the partners and associates you work with is important.
  3. Do young associates rotate through certain practice groups or tend to specialize earlier? At what point do associates start to gravitate toward into either M&A or Corporate Securities work?
  4. I spent three weeks working in the Corporate Securities Practice Group at X firm my 1L summer, how is M&A work different from Corporate Securities work? I then expressed my interest in trying M&A work next summer because of the qualities the interviewer used to describe M&A work. This question helped to demonstrate (1) the little knowledge I did have and (2) that my interest in corporate work was not feigned.

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations? Did you go to each reception you were invited to? Did you feel that attending a dinner/reception helped you make a stronger connection with the firm?
I tried to attend each reception/dinner I was invited to. In the few instances that I had to choose between receptions/dinners, I chose either (i) the firm I most wanted to work for, (ii) the firm I felt like I needed more interaction with to decide whether I liked the firm, or (iii) the firm I felt like I needed more time with to make a lasting and positive impression.

I think the receptions and dinners are very influential. They are a GREAT way to make a stronger connection with the attorneys in town. First, the dinner allows you to see the attorneys in a more relaxed setting and get a better feel for the firm. And second, the dinner is another opportunity for the firm to get to know, and like, you. I highly recommend going. Much of law firm interviewing is about personality fit. You are interviewing the law firms just as the law firms are interviewing you. Receptions/dinners are a great way for you to find the firm that fits your personality.

And while you are at the receptions/dinners, be sure to break away from your friends – I know, the comfort zone – to talk with attorneys. You are there to get to know the attorneys, not mingle with your friends. My friends and I would go out after receptions to talk and catch up. That way we were not so distracted with catching up with one another during the receptions/dinners.

Did you send thank-you notes after each interview? If so what format and to whom?
I sent handwritten thank-you letters after each interview. I sent them to every person that interviewed me, even during callback interviews with eight different people. After the interview process, I realized handwritten thank-you letters were not necessary. In some instances I received the summer clerkship offer before the letters even arrived at the firm. So I do not think you must write handwritten thank-you letters. They could be a nice gesture and influential if the firm is on the fence about hiring you.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
I think I heard back from most places within a week. But do understand, the hiring process is a numbers game. Firms usually have a number of associates they expect to need in the year you all will graduate. They base the number of summer associates to be hired on the number of associates they will need in the future, taking into consideration the few summers that may not return. So when extending summer offers to 2L students, firms will contact a round of students first. Then the firm will wait to see which students accept the offers. Once students accept or decline summer clerkship offers, the firm will conduct another round of offers taking into consideration the number of declines they received. This will continue until all summer associate space is filled.

*Caveat: this was the summer hiring process for the firms I interviewed with – mostly large Texas firms with summer classes of 20 or more. Other summer programs may have different hiring practices.

Also, if you receive an offer from one firm, but have not heard back from another firm that you would rather clerk with, it is acceptable to get back in touch with the firm you’d prefer to work for and ask when you can expect to hear back. You can explain that you have an offer deadline from another firm, but before you make any decisions you’d like to know the timeline of this firm so that you can make an informed choice.

What is the one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?

  1. In general, relax. UT Law has great hiring percentages and UT Law students are the most sought after in Texas, and really all of middle-America. There is no school within hundreds of miles as highly regarded as UT Law. Just think, in the northeast there are tons of prestigious schools located very close to one another.
  2. In interviews, be personable and have fun. Once your resume gets you the interview, it’s really all about personality fit. So relax and have fun.

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Recent Grad, Aleza Remis

The CSO asked several students and recent grads to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Aleza Remis, who spent her 2L summer working at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington, DC and graduated this May, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
I used the NALP resource often to look through the categories they rate in terms of billable hours, quotes from associates, and generally happiness. I also thought it was very useful to speak with associates or other students who had been through the process before. Additionally, NALP was helpful to show how many offices each firm had and which practice areas were large in the specific offices. One of the biggest mistakes is applying to a certain city and wanting to practice in an area that that office does not do.

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
For me, city was really the driving force. Additionally, I had some inclination that I was interested in criminal law, so I looked for firms in those cities that had large white-collar practices. It’s hard to sort through all the firms, so speaking with someone who has gone through the process–even just another law student in the grade above–is very helpful. Speak with someone you trust and that person can give their impressions of the firms.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
I had the same basic cover letter for each. I changed the city/name in each cover letter and added/tailored one sentence to that specific firm. For example, if one firm had a large FCPA practice, I added a sentence explaining my interest in that area of law. Also, if it was a firm I really was interested in (as opposed to just knowing about generally) I tried to be more specific about why I wanted to work there. Mostly I think it’s important to have the right name/office on each cover letter and to ensure you don’t say you want to do white-collar work when that firm doesn’t actually have white color work. Just be detail-oriented, but I don’t really think there’s a need to specifically tailor each sentence.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
This process took more time than I had anticipated. Ranking and making cover letters, checking and double checking, uploading, all of those things take time. If all the materials are ready when it’s time to rank, it will be much easier. I can’t remember exactly how much time it took, but definitely get started, especially on the research process (and ranking/preferences) as early as you can.

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
I emailed the recruiter in some cases or tried to find them in the CSO to find out if I could fit in an extra slot. I also kept my eye out for announcements on Symplicity because often someone cancels.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and you get there early enough to wipe off the sweat (this is Texas!). Be confident and be yourself. Know which firms you’re interviewing with and 2-3 reasons why you want to work there, specifically. Every firm will ask you that. The interviews are SO short, try to make a good impression. Be very friendly and polite, thank the interviewers. Smile! Think of some good highlights from your 1L summer work and be prepared to explain them. The firms enjoy listening to law students who are excited about the law!

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
Remain calm! Be confident, be polite, and be prepared! Try not to talk to too many people about your interviews, everyone is stressed and competing for a limited number of jobs. Best to talk to your mentor or other students who aren’t going through the process. Use the CSO!

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Rising 3L, C.C. Huang

The CSO asked several students and recent grads to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Rising 3L student, C.C. Huang, who is working this summer as a law clerk with the City of Austin, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
With regards to OCI, I found the spreadsheet with OCI attendees and historical hiring information the most helpful. I narrowed my list down by desired locations, then according to GPA (lowest to highest within each location), and finally by practice areas (most desired to least desired).

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
I probably spent about 10-15 hours total reviewing employers and setting up my list of bids.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Remember to smile and speak to recruiters.

If you had lottery interviews, did you have any success with them?
I got a callback from an employer with whom I was an alternate and a callback from a lottery interview.

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?
If it does not look like OCI is going to yield results, start cold-emailing non-OCI firms. If you are interested in government/public interest jobs, apply before March/April to be able to apply for summer funding in time.

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Rising 3L, Samoneh Kadivar

The CSO asked several students and recent grads to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Rising 3L student, Samoneh Kadivar, who will be splitting her time this summer in Austin at Baker Botts L.L.P. and McKool Smith, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
I created a list of my priorities and chose law firms based on my priority list. For example, my number one priority was to be in Austin, and if I couldn’t be in Austin then I wanted to be in Houston or Dallas. My second priority was to choose a law firm that had an amazing IP practice with a great reputation. My third priority was to make sure the hours and culture of the firms I read about online meshed with my personality and the things I wanted to be doing currently and in the future.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
Yes! Although I was interested in practicing IP, I also applied for corporate positions. Clearly, I had to change my CV (resume) to show why I was interested in practicing corporate law. However, I also changed my CV (resume) for each IP firm. For example, if the IP firm practiced mostly life sciences, I emphasized that I majored in Biology. If the IP firm didn’t practice life sciences or if the life science practice was small, I emphasized that although I was a Biology major, I also took physics, chemistry, computer science, etc. I would definitely recommend tailoring the application materials for each employer. They can tell if it’s the same generic document you send to each employer! Also, put some fun, crazy (but true) activity or thing you have done at the end of your resume. It’s a great talking point in interviews.

What questions would you recommend students ask employers?
(1) Do the associates have difficulty meeting their billing hours? If they do, it might be a sign that there might not be enough work in the firm for you, though it might also just be a sign of a slow year.

(2) What one piece of advice do you wish someone had told you when you were a summer associate?

If you had lottery interviews, did you have any success with them?
Yes! The two firms I had lottery interviews with both gave me a summer associate position that I said yes to.

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations? Did you go to each reception you were invited to? Did you feel that attending a dinner/reception helped you make a stronger connection with the firm?
Managing reception/dinner invitations is tough just because it can be really exhausting having to constantly be “on.” But after the first couple, it actually became really fun for me, especially when I spoke with lawyers at the receptions who were like-minded or had similar interests to mine. I went to every reception I was invited to except for two, which ended up being the two that didn’t give me a call back interview. So going to the receptions is VERY important, especially if you want to have a call back interview. Don’t forget, they take attendance at the receptions! Further, if the firm is on the fence about you, but you have a great personality and seem like you would fit in with the firm, speaking to the lawyers may just get you over the fence.

The interviews are easier than law school exams. So, just enjoy the process and have fun with it!

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
On average, it would take anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
My biggest piece of advice is to try your hardest during the interviews, even if you have good grades. Being a great conversationalist can make or break you. You want to come across as likeable, not arrogant. And always try to be enthusiastic. For example, I interviewed with one firm early in the morning and I didn’t have time to get coffee before the interview. I was really tired. I still went into the interview and the interviewer asked me how I liked Houston and my exhaustion got the better of me and I gave a mediocre response. The interviewer told me sarcastically, “Well, don’t sound so enthusiastic about it.” Although I did end up getting a call back, my attitude towards the interview came across very clearly. So always remember to keep your energy levels up. Also, take advantage of the Career Services Office. Being able to do a practice interview with Natalie Aitken (my career counselor) and get her feedback not just on my mock interview, but also on my resume, made me a WAY better interviewee and candidate.

3L+ Law Prep Houston Diversity Reception on July 9, 2014 – Limited Free Students Tickets Available Until July 2

Celebrate diversity in the legal profession with 3L+ Law Prep at its inaugural Houston Diversity Reception on Wednesday, July 9, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Houston, 1200 Louisiana Street. The reception will include appetizers and drinks, an opportunity to network with local firms, and hear from inspiring speakers including Bruce Ruzinsky, Partner and Diversity Committee Chair at Jackson Walker L.L.P., and Kourtney James Perry, Assistant Director of Career Development at the University of Houston Law Center.

A limited number of complimentary student tickets are available online through July 2, 2014.

The Diversity Reception follows 3L+ Law Prep’s Houston Summer Conference, which includes Super Summer and Career Management training seminars. You can register online for the Conference or any of the seminars. Full, partial, and diversity scholarships are available by contacting scholarships@3Lplus.com. Please include your resume and a short statement (less than 200 words) on why you would benefit from the training seminars.

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