Graduation Photos: 5 Potential Locations

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

3Ls! I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about graduation photos.

I know there are a thousand and one other things we could talk about right now (like, the fact that bar applications are opening VERY soon), but let’s just have some fun for a moment.

When I was in high school and undergraduate school, I took graduation photos/announcements VERY SERIOUSLY. My hair had to be just right. My outfit(s) had to be just right. The location had to be just right.

Everything had to be just right.

Now, that it’s that time again, I’ve come to a “creative block.” I can’t seem to figure out how or where I want to take my pictures. Nonetheless, I’ve done some research and here are 5 potential locations for a law school graduation photo shoot.

  1. Your School
    So, this is probably the most common place to take shots, but you could always get creative by going to a specific area of your school. Consider a random classroom or, if your school is a historic building like mine, consider going to those historic rooms that you rarely enter. It could be a fun way to highlight the school.
  2. A Courtroom
    Even if you don’t want to be a litigator, it might be fun to have a photo shoot in a courtroom. It may not be possible to get into an actual courtroom just for photos, but there may be a mock courtroom in your school. If you’re really creative you could even stage your own courtroom.

    Harvard Law School Commencement 2018
  3.  Group Photos
    If you started with a crew and you made it with the crew, then take the photos with your crew. This could be a great way to commemorate the moment. There are tons of these types of photos online, but you could easily make the shot unique.
  4. Random Location in The City
    I’m fortunate to attend school in a metropolitan city. Memphis is full of historic sites and landmarks. We have monuments and beautiful bridges (with colorful lights, btw!). We even have contemporary parks with twinkling-light fixtures. Find the beauty in your city and get to snapping!
  5. A Studio
    This is another classic location. If you have access to a studio, you could always make your graduation photos have that “professional headshot” vibe. These types of photos could be used for multiple purposes, not just for graduation announcements; which is also cool.

How to beat the bar exam by doing extra things to improve your odds

By Stefan Borst-Censullo, Esq.

To begin off I want to apologize to you, the good reader, for my contribution to this over stuffed cannon of “hey so you’re about to take the bar, here’s some tips.” However, you have obviously decided to read this post, so you are either very bored or beyond desperate. In any case I hope this will help you realize either that ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST or alternatively assist in further procrastination before you dive head-first into the hours of MBEs.

The main lesson that I, an underemployed, heavily indebted, but FULLY LICENSED ATTORNEY can impart on you  is to remember what the bar is really testing. The bar is not measuring your intelligence, your commitment to the pursuit of justice, or the goodness of your soul. Rather the bar is a relentless ritual. Plenty of great advocates have failed the bar multiple times while undeserving folk (like yours truly) somehow managed to sneak past the graders.

The bar is nothing more than a ritual

Our esteemed elders in the legal community insist that we need to endure simply because they too went through it. The way to pass this exam involves the time old method of “embracing the suck.” Translated from its original grunt, that your best bet is to focus on improving your chances of survival through trying your best to put in eight good hours of studying a day in some sort of organized methodology of covering as many subjects as possible.

Given the razor-thin edge between passing (which feels like this) and failing (seen here), it’s understandably unnerving to think about how little of your fate is out of your control.

A few extra things that help improve your odds

  • Don’t take chances with your computer. I bit the bullet and replaced my five-year-old Mac once it started showing its age. The “hey I’m going to turn off without warning” thing was annoying enough while I was streaming Bobs Burgers, and it would have been panic inducing during the test.
  • Spend good money on a quiet hotel. With all the understandably massive levels of stress you’ll have during the actual testing days, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a good night’s sleep. But a place with thick walls and dark curtains is a nice place to decompress.
  • Don’t skimp on exercising and eating right. I have no clue whether my habits of long distance running and healthy snaking contributed to me passing or not. However, I can tell you that I maintained my focus during both my studying period, and the extent of those grueling three hours without a blood sugar drop or an emergency run to the restroom during the MBEs. So do your best to get 45 minutes to an hour a day of some sort of movement (walking a pet would suffice) and eat whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean proteins like your mom told you to do years ago.
  • Imbibe some mood-elevating media. Inevitably during the course of your studies, you are going to have moments/days full of self-doubt. Furthermore, walking into a room of a few thousand stressed out type-A personalities undergoing the most important test of their lives is a bit intimidating. Therefore, do you best to take the occasional break from studying to look at a cute animal (your friends who went to med school even approve). On the way to the test, listen to family friendly inspirational music, or really anything from friend of the legal community Freddie Gibbs. When things got especially bad I (reflexively) turned to this preview of “Elysium,” because repeatedly seeing Matt Damon murder rich people in space somehow reminded me why I was taking the bar in the first place.

Finally I have to say that the best advice BARBRI gave me during the extent of this test was remembering that taking the bar is a privilege. Plenty of people (not me, though) would trade places with you in a second. In addition, YES, becoming a lawyer (even in this job market) is worth the pain. So seriously, I wish a sincere “best of luck” to all of y’all. This is an experience you will justifiably hate, but the reward is sweet.

MBE Success: X Marks the Spot?

Samuel Farkas, BARBRI Director of Legal Learning and Lecturer

What’s the Magic Number of MBE Practice Questions You Should Answer to Pass the Bar Exam?

Perhaps you’ve heard that you need to work “X” number of practice MBE questions each week to pass the exam. Or, maybe you’ve heard there is some magic number of total questions that you have to answer throughout your preparation to earn a passing score on the MBE. This “drill and kill” formula emphasizes quantity over quality and speed over deliberation, which may not improve your MBE score.

Make no mistake, it’s critically important to work MBE practice questions. After all, it takes practice to improve. The key to success, however, is to use practice questions effectively.

MBE success is not about how many questions you answer each day or throughout your preparation; it’s about how much you learn from each question you answer.

The specific questions you answer and the order in which you answer them impacts your learning. Ideally, you should be assigned questions in a deliberate and methodical manner that systematically unfolds rule nuances and increases question difficulties as you go. Easier questions testing core rules and concepts come first to help you build a strong contextual framework in the subject. More difficult questions testing the finer points—those dreaded exceptions to the exceptions— should be layered in once you have built this foundation. Consistent mixed-subject practice that continuously cycles you through previously reviewed subjects helps maximize your learning.


BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, which is built into your Personal Study Plan (PSP), accelerates your learning by incrementally building your substantive knowledge and your MBE skills. We’ve curated each question set and have strategically assigned the Learning Sets and Mixed Question Sets to ensure that you have a strong understanding of the most frequently tested rules before you encounter the more difficult questions. As soon as you complete your third MBE subject, your PSP will assign short mixed-subject question sets. In the weeks ahead, your PSP deliberately spaces question sets to leverage the benefits of spaced repetition and interleaves practice between subjects— two strategies that are scientifically shown to boost learning and retention.

All said, your PSP will provide more than 2,000 MBE practice questions, as well as an MBE final prep comprised of 100 carefully selected MBE questions recently released by the National Conference of Bar Examiner (NCBE) that best align to areas of the law most likely to be tested on the MBE. If needed, you will have the opportunity to work even more to hone your test-taking skills before the exam.

Note: As a general rule, we don’t recommend spending a lot of time with “real” released MBE questions. Click here to learn why.

Practice questions are excellent learning tools to help you identify knowledge gaps, strengthen your knowledge of the rules and sharpen your MBE test-taking skills.

Working questions is important, but engaging in a careful and thorough review of the explanatory answer for each question that you work is vital to your success. For each question you work, you should determine whether you got the question right or wrong, whether your analysis of the question was on-point, and whether you identified and understood the narrow rule being tested in the question. In addition, identify why the wrong answer choices are incorrect and review the other rules discussed in the explanation. You will get a full explanatory answer for all the MBE questions during the course—including the recently released MBE questions for which the bar examiners have not provided an explanatory answer. There is so much to unpack in a well-written multiple-choice explanatory answer. Don’t rob yourself of a great learning opportunity by glossing over them.

Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We say, “the unexamined multiple-choice question is not worth working.” In MBE Immersion, you learned BARBRI’s Systematic Problem-Solving approach to maximize your MBE study, including how to effectively use explanatory answers to drive learning and improvement. Rest assured—once you ingrain these skills as habits, you will no longer agonize and worry over the magic number of MBE questions you need to work.  Following the BARBRI path will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to pass the exam.  Simply put, you’ll come to know there is no magic “X” to mark your spot for MBE success.

HOW MANY MBE PRACTICE QUESTIONS DO I GET WITH BARBRI? ARE THEY REAL RELEASED QUESTIONS?

MBE PRACTICE QUESTIONS

By Mike Sims, BARBRI President

The short answer is that you’ll have access to over 2,000 MBE practice questions, and an MBE final prep comprised of 100 “real” MBE questions recently released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), during your BARBRI Bar Review course. Working practice questions is very important. Now add a big asterisk because, as with many things, it’s not just the quantity that matters. The methodology and approach is critical to your MBE success.

The specific questions you answer, the order in which you answer them and the way you approach each question is so important that we have another entire blog dedicated to this topic if you’d like to geek out.

When it comes to real released MBE questions, BARBRI has released questions – but, as a general rule, we don’t recommend you focus on released questions.

Since only about 80 questions per subject have been released in the past 10 years, they don’t provide a comprehensive representation of the questions that are most likely to actually appear on a future exam. Also, questions that have been released by the examiners will not appear in any future MBE. That’s why they were released.

That being said, the experts at BARBRI have carefully selected a subset of 100 of the most recent released questions to create an MBE final prep that is included in BARBRI Bar Review and presented through your Personal Study Plan (PSP).

These specific questions best align to areas of the law that are most likely to be tested on the MBE so you continue to focus on the areas that matter most while being exposed to “real” MBE questions. Best of all, every MBE final prep question will include an explanatory answer – which the bar examiners don’t always provide – created by BARBRI experts to help you understand why answer options were correct or incorrect, so that you can continue to progress on BARBRI’s MBE success learning path.

If you ever see offers to work “thousands” of real, released MBE questions, we advise you not to waste your precious time or money. 

Many of those questions are not representative of what is actually tested on a future exam and are likely very old. Focusing too heavily on “real” released MBE questions is one way some bar preppers misuse limited study time.

BARBRI is the only course that has helped students pass the MBE since its inception in 1972, and we’ve learned that, even though a topic CAN be tested, it doesn’t mean that it is likely to actually be tested. Some topics are tested all of the time and others not as often.

BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, which is driven by an engine we call ISAAC, and built into assignments presented in your PSP, accelerates your learning by incrementally building your knowledge and skills and maximizes your study time by focusing questions on areas of the law that you’ll most likely see on the exam. The MBE practice questions that you’ll work in BARBRI Bar Review, including the specially selected “real” released MBE questions, have been curated by BARBRI subject matter experts and have been approved by experts in those subjects.

BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, combined with knowing where you are on the bar exam curve before you sit the actual MBE exam, are core to helping you study smarter, not harder, and are just a couple of the reasons BARBRI continues to be the #1, most successful bar review course.

Spring Break Destinations

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

As we submit our memo drafts, attend OCI interviews and try to stay afloat with our extra classes, it is easy to forget that Spring Break is just around the corner. Look no further than your favorite 1L class for travel inspiration.

Pick your favorite 1L course to discover your spring break destination!

Torts

If you enjoyed torts, travel to Phoenix, Arizona for the Cactus league or Tampa, Florida for the Grapefruit league. Both destinations will keep you warm and let you work on your tan this Spring Break. Just be aware of those warnings from torts class and keep a look out for flying hot dogs and bats! If you are not a baseball fan, consider a trip to your favorite amusement park or take a cross country railroad journey. Just be prepared for falling packages!

Property

If property is your favorite class, you are going to New York. That’s right folks, one of the cases we have all read, Pierson v. Post, took place in the “wasteland” that is modernly known as the Hamptons. Treat yourself and indulge in the lavish lifestyle for the week. Alternatively, if you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, check out properties for rent in Costa Rica or Hawaii!

Constitutional Law

Philadelphia awaits! Sure, it may not be your typical Spring Break destination, but you are not the typical spring breaker. Surround yourself with history with visits to Constitutional Hall and the Liberty Bell. Run up the “Rocky” stairs, and decide if Pat’s or Geno’s wins the war when it comes to Philly cheese steaks.

Criminal Procedure or Criminal Law

Some schools teach criminal procedure as a 1L course; others have criminal law. No matter which subject you have, if this is your favorite class, your spring break destination is San Francisco! Of course, you should visit Alcatraz and experience all of the other fabulous sites this great city has to offer. Plus, you 100% deserve a trip to wine country, too.

Contract Law

Sign on the dotted line and book yourself a cruise to the Bahamas. You’ll be surrounded by contracts, at every turn and activity on a cruise, but you are well prepared for all of that fine print! When I posed this question to my professor, he mentioned the contracts related to space tourism would be fascinating, but I think that trip might have to wait until after graduation.

Civil Procedure

Good ole common law. If you’re looking for an international getaway, Hong Kong, England, New Zealand, and Australia (just to name a few) all follow common law and would be exciting spring break destinations. If you’d like to stay stateside, consider Washington D.C., visit the Supreme Court and more. As a bonus, if your spring break is in late March or early April, you will be able to experience the Cherry Blossom festival.

What other destinations pair up nicely with our 1L classes? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram @The1LLife.

Character and fitness: Not just virtues, requirements

By Mike Sims,
BARBRI President

If you are a graduating 3L student, you can probably relate to these tweets:

You never realize how many addresses you’ve had for the past 10 years until you fill out the bar’s character and fitness. #lawschoolproblems

It’s fun listing employers like Show-Me’s and Tequila Wyld on my bar application #lawschoolproblems

If not, let me welcome you to Character and Fitness season.

In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, third year law students are making preparations for graduation and beginning to think about the bar exam. Finally, after almost three years of law school, the end is in sight … almost. But now these soon-to-be-lawyers must complete the dreaded character and fitness application.

THE QUESTIONS ARE MEANT TO CHALLENGE YOU

Most people outside the legal profession would probably be surprised to learn that lawyers have to pass a character and fitness test (either before or after the bar exam, depending on the state) prior to becoming a licensed attorney. Or they might joke that lawyers have to prove we have bad character. Or we’re out of shape from sitting and reading all the time. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Depending on what state you’re being licensed in, you will be asked some challenging questions. When I applied for the Georgia bar exam, I had to list every credit card I had ever had and the current balance on each of those cards.

Here’s another example: Pennsylvania applicants are asked to provide pages of information that include:

  • Everywhere you have lived, worked or attended school for a period of more than six months since age 16 (not just cities, but exact addresses)
  • Everywhere you have ever held a driver’s license or had a DUI or been a part of a serious traffic violation
  • Financial history – bankruptcy, delinquent on taxes or child support, past due accounts
  • Academic records – any discipline
  • Criminal history – everything except minor offenses
  • Civil proceedings – everything except divorce or minor motor vehicle accidents

A good place to start is by downloading the free BARBRI Bar Exam Digest, which includes all you need to know for every bar exam in every state.

THEY WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU

And they want to know it in the next few weeks. Keep in mind that some states require you to submit this application before you can take the bar exam and other states allow you to submit it afterward. If you have previously submitted a character and fitness application, you may need to submit an update depending on your state’s requirements.

As you begin completing your application, give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want to do is miss the deadline because you could not come up with all of the information by the deadline.

AND REMEMBER THAT CANDOR IS KEY

Nothing upsets a character and fitness committee more than discovering something about you that you failed to disclose in your application. It is far better to disclose and explain something from your past than to try to hide it. If you have a question about whether or not to include something in your character and fitness application, you can contact the bar examiners in your state. Your law school’s Dean of Students can also be an invaluable resource during this process.

There are definitely #lawschoolproblems out there. With a little time and a lot of thought, your character and fitness application does not have to be one of them.

3 Steps to Success From An Attorney Who Passed 3 State Bar Exams

GUEST BLOG BY Gregory Rutchik,
Attorney at Law

Years ago, about this exact time, I was studying for my first bar exam, the New York Bar.

I remember feeling anxious and thinking “how on earth am I going to study twenty-two subjects (yes, that is what the syllabus said at the time) for the New York Bar”?!  My BARBRI course hadn’t even started and I was already having trouble sleeping. My mind was racing with anxiety. I could not afford to fail the exam because I was off to a Fellowship as soon as the bar ended. Even though I did well on law school exams, I knew that “the bar” was a different animal. At least that was my feeling at the time.

This feeling is familiar to many and some find it embarrassing to admit. I wish someone who had been there before would have taken my hand and walked me through the process. You know, like the runners who partner with newbies running their first marathon.

First and foremost, I trusted the BARBRI program. BARBRI does an incredible job. There is no need to waste time and energy asking them why. They have tested it. You signed up presumably on the referral of someone who used them to pass. If that is not the case, you are hearing it from me now. They know their stuff. If you follow the BARBRI course, you will be prepared.

Once I accepted that I could trust the BARBRI Bar Review course, I stopped asking why. I stopped asking about things that a classmate or I found in the practice answers that I thought were wrong or irrelevant. I stopped asking questions about whether I should do more than the assigned MBE questions each night. No need unless I wanted to for the heck of it. I stopped asking whether I should take another course on top of BARBRI. The answer is, if you do what they assign, it is NOT necessary.  Do you hear me? I trusted the program and so should you. It works. I am living proof as I passed three bars by trusting BARBRI and I am just a normal person.

What I did additionally, and repeated throughout my entire bar preparation, made all the difference in the world for me and I’d like to share that with you. I repeated these techniques again four years later when I studied and passed the California Bar.

I call these techniques my three steps to success and my key to passing the New York, Connecticut and California Bar Exams without a problem.

Postcards

 1.) I made my bar prep period all about me

I knew by that point that I felt best every day when I exercised to sweat. If that is not the case for you, then identify what does make you feel good every day. Schedule it in.

Back then, I was a treadmill runner. I could picture myself running on the treadmill in the morning after my first cup of coffee before every single BARBRI lecture just to get my blood flowing. I would run again at night – with flash cards and notes once I got into the studying. By coming up with an organized schedule of non-negotiables – things I had to do for me – I knew I could have some control over the craziness of the eight-week study marathon.

My personal non-negotiables included exercise, making and eating healthy dinners and break times. I scheduled my study time around these items and included rewards such as break time with friends or “TV zone out time” so I could look forward to those rewards once I hit my study goal. It is a long race so build stamina and restore.

2.) I developed the right mind set

I remember meeting panicky classmates in law school and I am a high-energy person myself. This bar prep period of time is different. I had to form and protect a winning mindset for myself during this study phase. I was in this for me and my loved ones and I had to protect my mindset with positive, good energy activities and people. No one’s advice about how to keep your mind set positive is as meaningful as your own. Listen to your inner self. Be responsible for your own positive thoughts and calm.

One way that I achieved the right mind-set was through visualization techniques. I worked every day on seeing myself successfully finishing the bar. I know it sounds silly but it works. Watch an Olympian before an important race. Swimmers are a great example as they will stand with their eyes closed and move their bodies as if they are swimming the race. Winners of races visualize for weeks prior to a race – they visualize each important part and the end. It has worked for me for decades and it worked with the bar.

3.) I chose joy

As a little boy, my father let me carry his trial briefcase. In my other hand, I used to pull a luggage cart with his trial binders. I became a lawyer because I witnessed my dad helping people achieve their goals and overcome obstacles in life. The look on my dad’s face and the look of his client after a successful trial is the look of exhaustion and pure joy. I went into law to have a joyful professional life.

What about you? Channel why you are going to be a lawyer. Taking the bar was just another opportunity to explore the exhausting challenge of the profession and I was committed to doing the eight weeks in as joyful a way as possible. There are those that slug through any challenge and they finish well. And, that might be you. But there are those who study hard, eat well, play hard and kick the bar’s you know what and do it with a smile. That was me. And it can be you too!

ABOUT GREGORY RUTCHIK

Gregory passed the New York, Connecticut and California Bar Exams – each the first time. He also waived into DC on his MBE results. Gregory is a proud BARBRI Alum. He is a 1992-1993 Fulbright Fellow at the University of Tokyo, a 1992 graduate of Temple University School of Law and 2005 LL.M. graduate in Tax Law from Golden Gate University.

Gregory’s practice started in Silicon Valley at Cooley LLP and is now a mix of business development and lawyering for established family owned or closely held businesses. Gregory identifies and qualifies business partners for his clients and forms and designs their business structures, entities and agreements so his technology, real estate acquisition and even chocolate manufacturer clients can make, sell, distribute and protect their products. Gregory has also litigated dozens of IP infringement cases in Federal Court. When not lawyering, he is a martial artist, a yogi, a writer of children’s books and helps high achievers whose anxiety and panic interrupts their performance.

Avoid Comparisons

comparisons

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Let me be honest.

I have a long list of things I loathe about law school. The number one thing I hate about law school is the intense tendency to compare ourselves. With things like GPA rankings and Cali-ing, the nature of the law school beast is to compare your “intellectual capacity” or “abilities” to someone else. I hate it… never liked it and I don’t predict that I ever will.

So caught up in the idea of being the top, I spent my whole life at the top and I quickly realized that those positions are fleeting (as the saying goes, what goes up must come down). When I started hearing of individuals committing suicide because they weren’t getting the grade or position they wanted, I immediately realized that comparison can lead to something much more serious than I could ever imagine. That’s when I knew… the comparison has to stop.

As a 3L, my advice for law school success is to avoid the comparisons. While we can’t change the nature of law school, we can, most definitely, for the lack of a better phrase, “protect our peace.” We can make sure that we aren’t getting too caught up in this race to finish “first.”

comparisons

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to try your best at everything you do. Whether that is the work you do, the cases you prep, and/or the presentations you make. Put your best foot forward, but don’t get overwhelmed striving for perfection.

What do you think about this blog? Let me know on Instagram or Twitter: @The3Llife

Law Student Discounts Revealed

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Law school is expensive, so why not save money when you can? For most of us, these are our last three years as students … meaning it’s also the last three years that we’ll be eligible for law student discounts. With that said, here are some of the (objectively speaking) best law student discounts!

law student discounts

Shopping

  1. Banana Republic: 15% off for students with valid ID’s when shopping in-store
  2. J.Crew: 15% off for students with valid student ID’s
  3. Topshop: 10% student discount
  4. Ann Taylor: 15% off full-priced merchandise online and in-store
  5. Club Monaco: 20% full-priced and sale items with student ID
  6. Amazon Prime: Get your first six months free and then 50% off per year on your prime membership.

Tech Stores

  1. Apple: Generally students get 5% off but check with your local store and campus technology store since Apple constantly has student/school specific sales!
  2. Adobe: 60% off Creative Cloud (to make sure your selfie game is on point)

Social Outings

  1. Cinemark: Discounts vary per local theater but most offer discounted movie tickets on select days
  2. Professional Sports: Many professional sports games offer student pricing and group student pricing on local tickets.

Weekend Trips

  1. Choice Hotels: Sign up for the Student Advantage Card and get 15% off select hotels
  2. Greyhound: Sign up for the Student Advantage Discount Card and save 20% on your tickets.
  3. Amtrak: Again, get that Student Advantage Discount Card and save 10% on your tickets
  4. Hertz: Become a Gold Rewards Member (for free) and have your young renters fee charged
  5. Budget: Save up to 20% on bookings by showing a valid student ID

  1. The New York Times: Register with a student e-mail and get free unlimited access
  2. The Wall Street Journal: Students are eligible for $1/week subscriptions
  3. Apple Music: Students pay just $4.99/month, a 50% savings
  4. Spotify Premium: Students get access to Spotify, Hulu and Showtime for $4.99/month instead of the regular $9.99/month

5 Tips to Thrive During 1L OCI

1L OCI

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

1L OCI season is upon us. This may be the first time you are going to a professional interview. Even if you are a seasoned interview pro, the OCI interview process is different. While other job interviews might ask you to discuss your job history, qualifications, and your strengths and weaknesses, this may not happen at 1L OCI. In fact, you might spend your precious 20 minutes discussing your motivation for coming to law school and exciting things from your hobbies list.

Remember this is not your only interview, just a screening interview. Your job is to be memorable, likable and to demonstrate genuine interest for the firm or organization. Here are five tips to help you thrive during OCI.

#1 Review Your Resume.

I know you wrote it, but how long ago? Try to look at it with fresh eyes. What stands out? Your resume is fair game for interview questions. At my school, we had mock interviews last week. I had answers ready and was prepared to talk about one interest that most people ask about. However, my interviewer asked about a usually overlooked activity. I knew it was on my resume and could speak about it, yet, no one had EVER asked about it! So it felt like that question had come out of nowhere.

#2 Research the firm or organization

First, make sure you can pronounce the firm name correctly.  I recently read an OCI horror story about that! Next, be sure that you can discuss aspects of the particular firm office or organization. For example, be sure to know the type of specialties that specific office has. Not all offices have the same specialties. At a recent firm presentation, the attorney shared that one of the worst things that can happen is when a law student says they know they want to practice X law, but the office they are interviewing at does not handle it.

1L OCI

#3 Prepare Questions to Ask

Remember your goal in the screener interview is to get a callback. If you can ask meaningful questions about the firm or organization, it shows that you have a real interest in working there. Consider asking about the firm culture, probono work, and how attorneys collaborate. The key here is to show that you’ve done your homework (see #2) and have a genuine interest in the firm or organization. Come up with more question than you can ask, as running out of questions is as bad as not having any.

  • Pro Tip: If you know who will be interviewing you, be sure to have looked up their CV/Resume. You can ask about their recently published works or cases and perhaps find some common interests.

#4 Dress Appropriately

For your initial interview, a suit is best in almost all cases. Check with your law school career office, but as you are likely familiar, most seem to recommend conservative, dark color suits. I would suggest that you make sure you wear it a few days before the interview to make sure you are comfortable. Nothing is worse than not to be comfortable in what you are wearing while trying to impress others, so make sure you can sit, stand and walk with confidence.

  • Pro Tip and Fashion PSA: Look at your suit jacket, pants, and skirt. Do you an odd X (usually over a flap)? Yes? CUT IT OFF! That X is a tacking stitch, and it is meant to prevent inappropriate creasing during shipping and when things are hanging on a rack. Still not sure what I am talking about? Check out this article: https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomvellner/suit-jacket-tacking-stitch

#5 Be Yourself!

Yes, interviewing is intense! Yes, you are trying to show your best traits and qualities in 20 minutes! Yes, there is another student outside waiting to do the same thing!

BUT… BE YOURSELF. 

Don’t try to be the person you think they want you to be as you will likely come across in a way that just makes things worse. The screener interview is all about “fit.” Do you fit in with the culture of the firm? Are you a person they would want to work with every day? Are you a person they can trust? These are all questions the firm or organization is trying to determine. If you are not authentic, you might find yourself in a miserable situation for the entire summer. Remember you are awesome… Be yourself!

Do you have more tips to share? Personal OCI stories? Did these tips help you? Let me know over at the @The1LLife on Twitter and Instagram.