7 Tips for Law Students to Master the OCI Process

by Gutwein Law

As you gear up for on-campus interviews (OCIs), it’s important to remember this process is a pivotal first step in your career as an attorney. That’s why it’s vital to invest the necessary time and preparation needed before, during, and after your day(s) of interviews. A well-thought-out plan, thorough preparation, and meticulous attention to detail are your greatest assets to finding the right fit in a potential employer.

But OCIs are not just a crucial time for law students; they’re equally significant to our firm. We’re always looking for talented people to join our team and that often starts during the OCI process.

So, what can you do to ensure you stand out during OCI and beyond? We’ve put together a list of seven tips to ensure you’re well-prepared:

  1. Maintain a Strong Academic Record

While academic performance isn't the sole determinant of success, maintaining good grades can display your dedication to excellence. High grades can be particularly valuable for securing interviews with competitive firms and organizations. If your grades slipped in a class for a whole semester be prepared to explain why and what steps you’re taking to correct course. Take advanced courses in the area of law you want to practice and those courses tangentially related. Additionally, involvement in student groups or other on-campus activities are another way to differentiate your resume.

  1. Conduct Thorough Research

In preparation for your application and interview, be sure to invest time in researching the firm. Familiarize yourself with the firm’s history, culture, values, recent projects, team, and more. Understanding the organization not only demonstrates your genuine interest but also equips you with thoughtful questions and responses during the interview process.

  1. Craft a Personalized Cover Letter

When drafting your cover letter, resist the temptation to use a template. In other words, don’t use Find & Replace (we can often tell). Instead, take the time to tailor each letter to the specific employer and position you're applying for. Highlight your unique qualifications, experiences, and how they align with the company's needs and values. A personalized approach distinguishes you from candidates who opt for a one-size-fits-all approach.

  1. Thoroughly Proofread for Grammar and Spelling Errors

Attention to detail is a critical skill in the legal profession, and this extends to your application and any follow-up materials. Prior to submitting or sending, thoroughly proofread your resume, cover letter, and other documents for grammatical and spelling errors.

  1. Provide Context for Prior Work Experience

When discussing your prior work experience, it’s helpful to begin by providing some context. What’s the name of the company? How many employees do they have? If a legal role, what kind of law do they practice? What were the specifics around your role? This kind of information helps us to better ask questions and understand the scope of your experience. During the interview be able to explain what projects you worked on and what the goals were for those projects.

  1. Showcasing Mutual Fit

In both your cover letter and interview, it’s essential to not only articulate why this job aligns with your career goals but also why you believe you are the ideal candidate for the position. When looking for a summer associate, our goal is to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, focused on a long-term fit rather than providing just a short-term experience for a summer.

  1. Follow Up Beyond On-Campus Interviews (OCI)

Establishing a strong professional network in the legal industry is vital, so don't limit your communication with potential employers to the OCI process. Attend available networking/bar events, firm tours (like our Spring and Fall law student tours), and make sure you stay connected with legal contacts via LinkedIn or other methods.

Can you think of any more tips for law students undergoing the OCI process? If so, let us know in the comment box below. For more information on our Summer Associate program, please visit: info.gutweinlaw.com/summer-associate-information-package.