OCI Mistakes

Madeline Lisus (2L)

RE: October 2018 Student Article in Ultra Vires

Dear [Editor Name]:

Please accept this compilation, with the enclosed commentary and screenshots, as my article for the October 2018 edition of Ultra Vires.

I was initially drawn to Ultra Vires by its reputation for excellence in reporting and creative approach to student stress and job anxiety. Speaking with [U of T upper year I found on your website] highlighted the paper’s [supportive/collegial/unique] approach to practice and commitment to [teamwork/diversity/hands-on experience].  

Before law school, I developed a sense of humour not dependent on references to Lord Denning or mocking Supreme Court Justices. In my first year of law school, I volunteered at the Self-Deprecation Clinic, where I honed my skill at laughing about how far behind I was in my readings. This year, I’ve particularly enjoyed the opportunity provided by the 2018 Summer Recruit to make mistakes and laugh at myself.

I would appreciate the opportunity to apply these skills to the high-level articles Ultra Vires brings to the school.  

Please do hesitate to contact me, as I would not welcome further discussion of the application process before in-firms.

Sincerely,

Candidate #516


When you want to test their knowledge of gender diversity and existential identity politics:

“Dear Mx. [Recruiter Last Name],”


It worked for the upper-year who used this line two years ago:

“Please accept this letter, and enclosed résumé and transcript, as an application for a 2016 summer associate position.”


Staying hydrated is important:

“I accidentally poured water all over myself during an in-firm. Like fully tried to pour water into a glass and missed the glass and just poured water onto my shirt. I didn’t acknowledge it and neither did they. Did not get the job.”


Interviewer was shocked at the candidate’s knowledge of confidential merger negotiations:

“I’m very impressed with Gowlings Jones’ commitment to mentorship.”


I mean, the firm gets half the blame in this one:

“I submitted my Cassels Brock LLP application to Blake’s (Blake, Cassels, and Graydon LLP).”


OCIs are temporally disorienting:

“I was having a good interview until I cheerily told my 9:30 a.m. interviewers to “Have a good night!” as I left. I forcefully closed the curtains and ran away as fast as I could. I could only see the silhouettes of my interviewers as they turned to look at each other. But who’s to say it wasn’t night? Time is a construct. As are OCI’s.

I haven’t heard back from them. I think time-awareness may be important to the firm.”


When you *whisper* your interest in litigation so the full-service firm doesn’t think you’re totally uninterested in corporate transactions:


U of T students tend to make their mistakes “with great confidence”:

“I printed out my firm research to study in the lounge area, but forgot that I hadn’t listed them in the order I would be interviewing. So, for my first time slot I walked with great confidence into the booth of my second firm and found another student already there. Confused, and not immediately realizing what had happened, I rushed over to the correct booth (arriving late) and started asking them the questions I had prepared for Firm #2. I’m pretty sure they figured out what was going on before I didprobably around when I started asking my well-researched questions about their competitor’s practice.

So I managed to get bad starts to two interviews in two minutes. Otherwise, I’d say OCI’s went pretty well.”


Don’t worry, they definitely didn’t laugh about you in the elevator:

“I ran into some lawyers from a firm I’d interviewed with in a lobby shared by a second firm whose dinner I was heading to. With that firm’s dinner in mind, I said, “See you guys up there!” to the lawyers from the first firm. They responded really confusedly, as they were clearly on their way home. Instead of clarifying my mistake, I turned all red and completely clammed up. Mercifully, one of them said, “This never happened,” and they walked away.”


Subtly signaling an interest in animal law so that you convey the interest, but don’t get asked whether you would feel unethical representing the firm’s animal agriculture clients. FYI, if this hypothetical in fact happens to you, the firm does not appreciate a comparison to criminal defence work:

“Beast regards, Stephanie.”


Call me maybe?:

“For the New York recruit, I had the wrong phone number on my cover letter and résumé. One number off, so I couldn’t even claim to have changed my phone number. I had four NY OCIs. At the end of each of them, I had to explain the mistake and pull out a fresh copy of my résumé. Really awkward end to otherwise solid OCI’s.

In the end, I’m not sure the mistake mattered. Two firms called me back and one hired me. Dumb mistake, and 1Ls should take this as a lesson to go over their entire applications with a magnifying glass, but also remember that mistakes happen and they’re rarely fatal.”


In defence of proofreading:

“I once misspelled a firm’s name. Got an interview. Turns out they wanted to point it out to me in person.”


“My cat stepped on my keyboard, sending an email well before it was ready”: