Law Students: How to Create a Plan If You’re Jobless After OCI
Your law school on-campus interviewing program (“OCI”) is coming to a close. As you watch your colleagues secure employment at reputable law firms for the summer of 2016, you have come to terms with the reality that you have walked away empty-handed. Fortunately, you should not panic, as not all hope is lost. While you might be under a lot of pressure to win the prestige game, especially as you watch people who may be just as qualified or even less so score to enviable degrees, your law career is not over.
Make no mistake, however, that your situation is a difficult one and should be addressed with utmost passion and determination. That is the reality of the situation. However, remember that you are not alone. Countless other law students with just as much talent and drive have found themselves in similar positions this season. Furthermore, do not be afraid to mourn your loss. It is a disheartening situation to find yourself in. It may not seem fair, and perhaps it is not. After you have completed your grieving stage, though, it is time to pick yourself up and start making the best of your plight. In this post, we will look at some ways that you can do just that.
The first step is to honestly reflect upon everything you have done up to this point in search of a job. Even though you may exceptionally prepared academically and intellectually, you will need to ask yourself how well you prepared for the OCI season. Did you show a lack of preparation in your applications and other job-seeking materials? If you think you could have improved in this way or if you felt ill-prepared for the job search process, reexamine. The goal, then, is not to condemn yourself for your lack of preparation, but, to work diligently to improve and to seek out any available resources that may help you on your job search at this point. To embark on your journey to more effective job seeking, experts suggest asking yourself these questions:
- How did you approach and execute each step of your job search?
- Did you give potential employers your very best on every level?
- Did you enlist the assistance of career services?
- Did you apply a safeguard to ensure that the delivery of every document and every piece of correspondence was absolutely, positively error-free?
- Did you talk to any attorneys to learn firsthand what the practice of law is all about so you would be armed with the ability to speak confidently and intelligently on the subject?
- Did you take full advantage of mock interview opportunities?
- Did you prepare for your interviews by sharpening your interview skills with the intensity and commitment they so desperately deserve?
- When you did your interviews did you clearly convey your strong interest in each firm?
- Were you able to back up your interest due to diligent research?
- Did you convincingly demonstrate a genuine thirst for the law?
2. Be flexible.
Once you have properly and honestly addressed all of these questions, consider your priorities and where you are willing to be a bit more flexible in your search. For instance, it might help to broaden your horizons geographically. You might ask yourself: do you have some personal connection to the region in which you have been seeking employment? If so, you might want to consider ways that you can compromise; after all, to find gainful employment, prospective lawyers might have to do some searching in places they would least expect to find themselves. In other words, try not to keep your heart set on New York City. Consider looking at other metropolitan areas not too far away such as Philadelphia, Boston, and perhaps even lesser known areas. If you see yourself thriving at a big law firm, try seeking out midsize or boutique firms (Reidy).
a. Consider Alternative Positions.
Do not limit yourself to law firms either. Governmental organizations, corporations, and public interest organizations may have some rewarding employment opportunities worth pursuing (Reidy). As Reidy stresses in her article, your goal should be to obtain worthwhile legal experience. This experience can be obtained through any number of means, so do not feel that you have failed if BigLaw eludes you.
b. Consider Alternative Timing.
If you are still determined to break into BigLaw, however, there may still be some opportunities to be had. Reidy notes that sometimes BigLaw firms miscalculate their numbers and end up extending fewer offers than are required. Bear in mind, though, that you should not set your heart on such opportunities. Cast a wide net and do not get your hopes up. That said, be sure to leave your name with career services so that if any BigLaw firms do turn out to have open positions and return to your law school in hope of filling them, they may know who to contact! (Reidy).
Do not underestimate the power your contacts can hold. Be assertive and email a graduate of your law school. Do not stop there. Chase down every path your contacts have opened until all options have been exhausted. Sometimes you might be surprised what you can find just by making use of your own resources.
Above all else, remember to keep a positive attitude as you search for employment. It may be difficult, but how you present yourself to others can make a difference in how they perceive your abilities—and it can affect your performance. Just hold fast to your goals and prepare to be creative. Not all hope is lost, but you need to keep moving. Do not give up in defeat.
Reidy, Kara. “What to Do When You’re Jobless After OCI.” | Vault Blogs | Vault.com. Vault.com Inc., 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.
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Law students, do you find yourself without a summer position after OCI? Would you like some help in landing a new position with other tools and resources? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant in Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in partner, counsel, or associate-level position, contact a Search Consultant in Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.