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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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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.

5 Questions for Summer Associates & Interns

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com) who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted these useful tips. From her June 2014 enewsletter:

5 Questions for Summer Associates & Interns
If you started work a few weeks ago as a summer associate or intern, by now, you should feel fairly comfortable around the office.

You should know something about your supervisor(s) and his or her expectations. Are they bottom line-oriented or do they revel in details? When he says “draft,” does he expect a rough summation or a client-ready document? Does she expect you to be connected 24/7 or does she want you to turn your smart phone off, especially in meetings that she calls?

Increasingly, you should also feel that you understand something about the organization’s culture. Is it competitive of collegial? Does it encourage diversity of thought or does it expect everyone to toe a particular line? Does the entity advertise that it encourages work-life balance, and does it walk that talk when it comes to the day-to-day challenges employees face.

If you can answer these questions, you’ve made good use of your summer experience.

Now, to ensure you get the most out of the weeks that remain, set aside an hour or two over the upcoming holiday weekend and tackle the following five questions:

1. What’s your reputation? By now, you’re known for something. You may be known as the first person to arrive at work daily, a great team player, or a slow but steady worker. You could also be known as the summer hire who wore shorts to work, fell off a party boat, or mistakenly sent an ugly email to a bevy of partners. (And yes, previous summer hires have done each of these.) If you don’t know the reputation you’ve developed, ask. Then, take control of the impression you are creating. You have a few short weeks to ensure your lasting impression is a positive one.

2.  What have you learned from your assignments? Think over every task you’ve been assigned, including the most menial, and consider lessons learned. What assignments have you enjoyed and why? Have assignments tested your knowledge and talents? Have any assignments been painstakingly miserable? Does the pace of work energize or exhaust you? What feedback have you received, and this is really important, how have you reacted to that feedback? If someone has said you need to show improvement in an area, have you proactively taken steps to boost your performance?

3. How can you improve your résumé? Take a quick look at your résumé and draft a paragraph that summarizes your summer experience. Describe in three to five sentences the new skills and knowledge you’ve acquired thus far. If you can’t come up with three to five sentences, guess what you need to accomplish during the next few weeks? After you’ve drafted the entry, ask yourself whether everyone with whom you’ve interacted at your workplace would agree with your description.

4.  Who haven’t you met? If there’s a hiring committee, have you met all committee members? Have you met coworkers hired during the previous year? Have you spoken with them regarding their expectations before starting work and whether those expectations have been met? Have you met with people in multiple departments and practice areas? When you accepted this summer position, who were the one or two people you wanted to meet? If you haven’t met those people yet, it’s time to send a meeting request.

5. What’s the one thing you wanted to accomplish this summer and haven’t? When the summer began, what were your top goals? Did you want to learn how to depose a witness? Did you hope to participate in putting together a deal? Did you seek to become a pro at market segmentation analyses? Review your goals and then critically examine the efforts you’ve made to accomplish them. If you have a ways to go, as soon as the holiday weekend ends, meet with the folks in recruiting and ask for specific work assignments that will help you meet your objectives. You may or may not receive those opportunities, but as I tell lots of clients, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.”

Getting the Most From Your Summer Clerkship

Gavin Villarreal, ’98, a partner at Baker Botts (Austin), discusses how summer clerks can learn the most and maximize the odds of getting an employment offer when the summer ends in the article “Getting the Most From Your Summer Clerkship” (Gavin Villarreal, Texas Lawyer, June 9, 2014). Learn how to work with a mentor, produce well-written work, and receive substantive feedback during your summer clerkship.

Litigation and Advocacy Directors Conference in Austin – Registration scholarship request due June 6, 2014

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s annual Litigation and Advocacy Directors Conference, will be held July 12-15 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TX.  NLADA’s Litigation and Advocacy Directors’ Conference is a national gathering of experienced advocacy leaders designed to foster peer interaction and learning on the most important litigation and other strategic advocacy issues affecting legal aid programs and the communities they serve. For more information about the conference, review the attached brochure.

A limited number of scholarships for conference registration are available. Any students interested in attending one day or the entire conference should contact Sonja Hartley, at shartley@law.utexas.edu by Friday, June 6, 2014.

Law Firm Summer Receptions for Rising 2Ls (Class of 2016)

Each summer, many law firms across the country hosts receptions so rising 2Ls may learn more about the firms and become acquainted with attorneys and recruiting staff prior to Fall OCI. Invitations will be sent directly by the firms; however, you may also see the complete list  on UT Law Symplicity and select the ‘Events’ tab. We encourage you to check the calendar throughout the summer.

Unless stated otherwise, business casual attire is appropriate.

  • Akerman LLP Law Student Reception (Miami, FL) – July 22, 2014
  • Baker & McKenzie 1L Diversity Roundtable Discussion (New York, NY) – June 10, 2014
  • Baker & McKenzie 1L Diversity Roundtable Discussion (San Francisco, CA) – June 12, 2014
  • Baker & McKenzie 1L Diversity Roundtable Discussion (Washington, DC) – June 11, 2014
  • Cadwalader Pre-OCI Reception (New York, NY) –  June 16, 2014
  • Cahill Gordon & Reindel Rising 2L Reception (New York, NY) – June 16, 2014
  • Goodwin Procter Rising 2L Reception (Boston, MA) – June 09, 2014
  • Goodwin Procter Rising 2L Reception (Los Angeles, CA) – June 11, 2014
  • Goodwin Procter Rising 2L Reception (New York, NY) – June 12, 2014
  • Goodwin Procter Rising 2L Reception (Northern CA) – June 12, 2014
  • Goodwin Procter Rising 2L Reception (Washington, DC) – June 12, 2014
  • Holland & Hart Rising 2L Reception (Denver, CO) – July 09, 2014
  • Lathan & Watkins Pre-OCI Reception (Costa Mesa, CA) – June 19, 2014
  • Proskauer Rising 2L Reception (Los Angeles, CA) – June 24, 2014
  • Simpson Thacher Open House (Palo Alto, CA) – July 23, 2014
  • Skadden Reception for Rising 2Ls (New York, NY) – June 24, 2014
  • The Kate Stoneman Project (New York, NY) – June 17, 2014
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