Participating in Fall OCI

Rules for Students

If you will be participating in fall on-campus interviewing, please keep the following rules in mind:

  1. Bring with you, to each interview, both here at the Law School and at any follow-up ("callback") interviews you attend, additional copies of your resume, a copy of your writing sample, a copy of your law school transcript, and any other materials the employer requested.
  2. Show up for every interview for which you've signed up at least ten to fifteen minutes early.  You must give us at least three full business days notice to cancel an interview.  Do not show up to a callback interview more than fifteen minutes early as it can make the employer uncomfortable.  They may feel compelled to change their schedule to make sure you are not waiting.
  3. Wear business attire.  For examples of appropriate interview attire, please visit OCPD's Pinterest Page. You should wear a conservatively-colored suit. Pantsuits for women are perfectly acceptable. If you have any questions about attire, please ask.
  4. If you choose to send a thank-you note, make sure you proofread it! Whether to send a thank-you letter after an interview (both screening interviews and callback interviews) is a personal decision.  In general, the bigger the organization, the less likely they are expecting a note.  At many large firms, those interviewing you send their feedback to recruiting coordinators immediately after meeting with you. If you chose to send a note after a callback, send the letter either to the recruiting coordinator, asking her or him to extend your gratitude to all the lawyers who met with you, or to whoever was most responsible for your visit to the firm.  A thank-you note will only hurt your chances of receiving an offer if it is poorly written or contains typographical, spelling, or grammatical errors.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the "Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities" that have been adopted by all members of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), to which all law schools and many large legal employers belong.  Part III of the NALP Principles and Standards contains rules governing the behavior of law students in the employment search process.  Part V contains the "General Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions."  Part V is, therefore, where you go to find out how long any offers you receive from employers who are NALP members must remain open, and how many offers you may hold (should you be so lucky) at any one time.  If you are a 2L who receives an offer of a summer job from a NALP member for whom you've never worked, the general rule is that you have 28 days from the date of the offer letter to respond, but you must acknowledge the offer within 14 days.  The NALP Principles can be found in the NALP Directory online at:
  6. Remember your manners.  Return phone calls and reply to email messages from employers promptly.  If you are no longer interested in pursuing employment opportunities at a particular law firm, resist the temptation to "duck" their phone calls.  Be straightforward.  Give the employer the courtesy of a prompt and honest response, and thank them for their interest in you.  If you're no longer interested in them, they'll get over it, and they won't take it personally.  They just want to know whether you're still a viable candidate.
  7. Don't be afraid openly to discuss travel expense reimbursement procedures when you call to schedule a callback interview. Each employer has its own guidelines and limits with respect to travel reimbursement, and they may vary depending on whether the interview resulted from an OCI screening interview or a write-in application.  You are responsible for finding out these policies before you travel. 
  8. Be cognizant of your travel expenses, and try to save money when possible.  You don't want to get the reputation of being a future "greedy associate."  If you're offered a call back in Chicago, the firm will probably not be willing to pay for you to fly there.  They will, however, probably offer to reimburse you for mileage, if you drive, or to pay for your bus ticket.  Many employers in a given city or region are willing to share expenses with the other employers you may be visiting in one trip.  A sample NALP reimbursement request form is available here.
  9. If you change your plans about attending a call-back interview, let the recruiting coordinator know as soon as possible.  He or she goes to tremendous trouble organizing call-back interview schedules, and will not appreciate it if you cancel at the last minute.
  10. If you have an offer about to expire, but have not heard from other more desirable employers, contact those employers and talk to them about your situation.  Inquire as to their timeline, tell them about your offer, and reaffirm your interest.  They may have an offer forthcoming and be able to move the process forward or they may be able to tell you they are declining to make an offer.  In any case, you will know where you stand.
  11. Carefully evaluate all offers.  If you are fortunate enough to receive multiple offers, you may find this matrix helpful in making a decision.  If you have carefully evaluated whether to accept an offer and contacted employers with which you have an outstanding application before you accept an offer, you should never be in a position where you feel compelled to rescind an accepted offer.  You should not rescind an accepted offer.  The legal community is small and you would be wise to avoid appearing unprofessional.  Additionally, rescinding an accepted offer can affect your fellow and future Wisconsin classmates, as employers may be less likely to recruit Wisconsin students again.  If you have an extraordinary circumstance (something better came along is not an extraordinary circumstance), which necessitates rescinding an accepted offer, contact OCPD so we can work with you to communicate with the employer as professionally as possible.

Remember that your behavior reflects on your own professional reputation and that of the University of Wisconsin Law School, and really does affect the opportunities available to future UW law students.

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