Know When to Knock


Bid schedules have come out!  You log in and check the screen.  What?  You didn’t get an interview slot for your top firm.  Your grades meet the cut-off, so that can’t be it.  What’s going on?  What are you going to do?

Fear not.  You still have an opportunity to show what you’ve got.  You just need to know when to knock!

Do you try to knock right after someone leaves the interview room? You may have seen some of your other classmates do this. You knock on the door, walk in and hand over your resume, transcript and writing sample. Then you scurry away.

Is this an exercise in futility?  If you do the drop and scurry, yes. The drive-by drop of documents doesn’t do much to enhance your chances.

Pick the right time! First, find out what the interview schedule is for the day.  Look for a natural break in the interview schedule of at least 10-20 minutes and make note.  Interview schedules usually contain a morning and afternoon break, along with a break during lunchtime and of course at the end of the day.  Target one of these times to invite yourself into an interview.

Take advantage of the time!  Second, rather than just dropping off documents, use the extra time that you have to introduce yourself to the interviewer.  This is where your prior research about the firm and interviewer will help as an ice breaker.  You’ll need to be able to give your 30-second elevator speech to quickly pitch yourself.  At this point, the interviewer will either thank you and end the time or invite you to sit and spend a few more minutes.  If the latter happens, bingo!  You’ve just scored your interview.  Make the most of it!

Putting yourself out there and taking the risk shows initiative, which is one of the attributes that law firms are looking for.  Dropping off your credentials and walking out is not enough.  You have to seize the opportunity and show the interviewers why they should choose you even if you didn’t get the interview slot.

I have called back door knockers and know of many other lawyers who have done the same.  But you have limited time to make an impression.  So be prepared to take advantage of that time!

Ascend Legal offers consulting services to prepare you for the OCI process.  For more information, visit

To Text or Not to Text


You’ve just walked out the door after your interview with THE firm you want to work for.  As the door closes behind you, you realize that you forgot to tell your interviewers something vital!

Another interview is underway, so you can’t go back inside. A thank you note will take way too long to arrive.  What should you do?!

Standing the hallway, you look down at your interviewers’ business cards in your hands.  You see that their cell phone numbers are listed.  You grab your phone and start a text message . . . 


But what if the interviewer texted you earlier that they were running 10 minutes late on the interview schedule? 

No, really.  STOP!!

But what if they’ve already broken the ice with you, and you really need to tell them this ONE thing!

Don’t do it!  STOP!!!

While you, your classmates and even your professors may communicate by text messaging, but sending your interviewers text messages is a no-no, unless it is to respond to a specific question or issue they’ve raised.

Remember, law firms are still formal places, where strict rules of conduct are expected and observed. Lawyers primarily communicate through phone calls and emails. At certain firms, texting business information is not permitted! In other words, unless your interviewer says you can communicate by text, don’t do it.

If there is something that you forgot to discuss during your interview, then send a thank- you email with a sentence or two addressing the issue you wanted to raise. A phone call would also be inappropriate here.

If your interviewer does say that texting is fine, remember not to send texts outside of business hours, and keep in mind any time zone differences. Also, avoid sending a series of texts. These things can appear intrusive, and cause an interviewer to question your judgment..

If you’re concerned about the OCI process and what type of impression you’re making on your interviewers, go to for more helpful tips and take a look at our comprehensive OCI Survival Guide.

On-Campus Interviewers are Looking for SIX Critical Attributes in Law Students

How many boxes do you check?

Training an associate takes enormous resources of time and money, and Big Law firms use the OCI process to figure out who they want to invest in. You’ve only got 20 minutes to convince them you’re the one they want. So focus on showcasing these 6 Critical Attributes in your interview:

1.  Serious Intellectual Capacity
2.  Understanding Your Role in the Firm
3.  Interest in the Firm
4.  Team Player
5.  Hard Working
6.  Maturity

Big Law interviewers are trained to evaluate candidates on these competencies. Post-interview, your interviewers will fill out an evaluation form ranking you on how well you demonstrated these characteristics. To help you prepare, we’ve collected a set of sample questions from actual Big Law interviews that are meant to draw you out on a particular attribute.

1.  Serious Intellectual Capacity

• How did you choose your undergraduate major?
• What do you think contributes most to your success as a student?
• What has been the biggest surprise to you about law school?

2.  Dedication/Engagement

• What would you say is the most creative aspect of practicing law?
• Which among your outside activities has been the most positive or best learning experience?
• Why did you attend law school?
• What areas of law do you want to practice and why?
• When did you first think about attending law school?

3.  Your Genuine Interest in the Firm

* What drew you to interview with us?
• Describe the ideal work environment in which you get the most work done and can be the most productive.

4.  Team Player

• When you are working with a group of people, what role would you say you typically play in the group? Is it always the same or does it depend on the type of group?
• Describe a perfectly functioning team. What are the key attributes and actions of its members?
• Why do you think you were selected as the leader in the past?

5.  Hard Worker

• How would your law school professor or best friend describe your approach to school and work?
• What are your strategies for balancing school, work, and outside activities?
• How do you know when you’ve done your best work?

6. Maturity

• Tell me about a time when you faced a big change in your life. How did you approach it?
• How will you make a decision about which employer is the right one for you?

All of these questions are getting at one basic question: "Do you understand what your role is in the law firm?"  Are you the associate who will be able to endure the all-night closing with focus, attention to detail and a good attitude?  Law firms are more focused on finding students possessing certain attributes and not certain experiences.  Who you are is more important than what you've done.

Knowing these questions ahead of time will help you better prepare for your interviews, but knowing good techniques for answering these questions is even more helpful.  

Check out more information at, including the Basic OCI Survival Kit now on sale.