OCI success: Three things to do during the callback

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GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona


Welcome back to school my fellow 2Ls! Depending on where you are in the country you might be already into your second week of school, or just about to start. One thing we all have in common is the OCI process.

Last year I wrote a lot about preparing for the 1L OCI process, with a focus on your cover letter, networking, preparing for the job search, and thriving during 1L OCI . Mackenzie Way, the new 3LLife blogger (and last year’s 2L Life blogger) also wrote an amazing 2L OCI checklist, that I found very useful. Here, I want to focus on the callback, the third stage of OCI.

What is a Call Back?

A call back is exactly what it sounds like, you are being “called back” by the firm for a second interview. This time, instead of the interview taking place on campus, or at a hotel, it will usually be at the firm. This is important because you really need to pay attention to the “vibe” of the firm.

Three important things to do during the call back

Be Observant

Not only are you being evaluated, but this is also your time to see if you fit in with the culture of the firm. Look at how people are dressed, how they interact with each other, and how everyone you meet acts towards you. If the interviewers rave about how supportive everyone is, and works collaboratively but while you are walking from interview to interview, you see everyone with their head down, and no one interacting with each other, this might give you a different impression. We all thrive in different environments.  Some love the vibe of a busy office, while others enjoy a quiet surrounding. Be honest with who you are and what you like. This will help you land in the right firm.

Be “On”

From the moment you walk in the door, the interview has begun. Everyone, including the receptionist, might provide feedback to the hiring committee. Act appropriately, and present yourself in the best light possible. Remember that as you walk with someone between interviews, this is still part of the interview.

Your call back might also involve a meal. This could be lunch, dinner, or a happy hour. No matter how relaxed the atmosphere, remember that this is still a part of the interview. Try to order food that is not messy, and have the best table manners that you can muster. I had lunch with 3 people from the firm to start my call back. I knew not to order something messy, and then when my meal arrived, I realized it was likely the messiest thing I could have ordered (I thought the messy part would be on the side not ON the sandwich). Thankfully, one of the associates also ordered this sandwich, so we had a bit of a laugh.

Be Yourself

It might surprise you that you might not talk at all about the law, your career interests, or law school during your interviews. In many ways, you have already done the hard part by completing the first stage of OCI. Now the firm wants to know if they like you. Can they work with you? Are you a person they want to spend over 400 hours with next summer? Can they introduce you to clients? Can they train you? Essentially, they want to know if you will fit in with the firm. Here, most likely, your grades, classes, and prior degrees will not matter. Who you are, your personality, your ability to communicate and the things you enjoy, will. It is crucial to be you and not who you think they want you to be, otherwise, you might be in for a rough summer if you receive an offer. Remember they are looking for fit, but so are you. If you notice multiple awkward silences, or a strange feeling in your gut, pay attention to that.

Best of luck during OCI!

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