I can’t believe it’s already July! I am a mere three weeks out from the end of my summer here at WilmerHale, and now that a new crop of rising 2Ls is approaching OCI, I want to share my own experience with the process.
As you participate in your callback interviews, I urge you to ask your interviewers the following questions:
- During my summer, will I be able to try different projects, including both litigation and transactional work?
- Are the attorneys willing to give me detailed feedback on my assignments?
I would also urge you to ask yourselves the following questions:
- Do the people interviewing me seem generally happy with their jobs?
- Do the people not interviewing me—such as those I just see around the office during my callback—seem happy?
After I interviewed at WilmerHale, I knew the answer to all of these questions was a resounding yes. That impression has not proved wrong this summer, either. I have not only completed multiple interesting litigation and transactional assignments, which helped solidify for me that litigation is truly my interest, but I have also had some amazing observational experiences. A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to watch a Partner in the New York office moot an oral argument he was about to present in front of the Eastern District of New York. That I, a Summer Associate, was asked by the West Coast representative of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group to voice my feedback was incredibly cool; it further confirmed for me that WilmerHale treats junior attorneys as equals.
Regarding feedback on my work, I just last week had my formal mid-summer review. Although it was daunting, I really appreciated that our summer chairs had solicited evaluations from the attorneys each of us had been working with and relayed the positives and negatives to us in a kind, constructive manner. The best part was: because I had already been getting steady feedback from the attorneys I worked with throughout the summer, nothing in my mid-summer review was entirely new to me. I was also able to tell my reviewer which attorneys and practice areas I wanted to work with more in my second half of the summer, something he took to heart. I have already been assigned a project with an attorney I mentioned to the summer chair in my review.
Another thing that was important to me during OCI was understanding whether a firm’s commitment to pro bono was genuine. When I asked about pro bono during my WilmerHale OCI, all the attorneys I spoke to excitedly told me about the amazing projects they had done. My screening interviewer Khoa Tran (from the Palo Alto office) had won a firm-wide award for his commitment to pro bono service. I recently learned that Laura Goodall (from the San Francisco office) received the same award this year in recognition for her work representing a class of homeless individuals in the East Bay in their lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation for illegally taking their property in unconstitutional “sweeps.” I have no doubt in my mind that pro bono service is at the very core of this firm.
To prepare for OCI, the best thing you can do is run through practice interviews with your law school career counselors, and honestly, even go through common questions like “tell me about yourself” and “describe your hobbies” with your family and close friends who know you best. Think generally about what practice areas you might be leaning toward, but also be frank with your interviewers if you are not entirely sure. Finally, have talking points for everything on your resume.
OCI is a stressful time; believe me, I know. But just as firms are getting to know you, also take the opportunity to get to know the firms you are interviewing with. Understanding whether there’s a fit is a calculation that goes both ways. Ask questions and be forthcoming about what you are looking for, and trust your gut instincts. During my interview at WilmerHale, my gut instinct told me that I could see myself working with these folks long-term.
That’s still the case today.