Tuesday, September 13, 2005


OCI (on-campus interviews, for those unfamiliar with this lovely piece of law school lingo) is in full swing now here at school. Everyone is roaming around in suits, ties, heels, and hose (though not necessarily all those items together in one ensemble). I personally joined in the festivities yesterday with four interviews.

Third-year students who already went through this process last year have often mentioned how tiring it is to be "on" all the time over the course of three weeks (two weeks for me). You have to show up to these interviews energetic, animated, and engaging. You have to smile, act interested, and be interesting yourself, in increments of 20 minutes. Beyond the interviews, most of the firms have some kind of reception or dinner in the evenings where you do the same thing (show up energetic, animated, engaging, etc.). Your smile muscles get a workout.

I've also heard third-year students talk about being "on" during summer clerkships, since ostensibly every aspect of the clerkship, from the work you do to the social events you attend, is also a kind of long-term interview. Now, I'll have to admit: since I did a clerkship for Big Firm myself, and didn't have too much trouble with it--in fact, I actually enjoyed working there--I was pretty blase about being "on" for OCI. People told me that the 18 interviews that I signed up for was a lot. But, I managed to schedule a lot of them around class, so I didn't think it would be a huge problem to do all of them.

After the first day of interviews, though, I've realized that the "on" of the summer clerkship is not the same as the "on" of OCI. OCI "on" is a whole order of magnitude greater than clerkship "on." You get jittery just waiting for your turn with the interviewers; you tool up to be animated, energetic, etc., and ready for any question that might come your way; you field questions with what you hope is grace and wit; and then it takes you a long time to tool down afterwards to return to your normal level of energy and adrenalin. And then you do it all over again for the next interview.

I don't think there's a way to empathize with this sort of up and down unless you do it yourself. I certainly had no idea what it was like. After four interviews, a reception, and a dinner with some especially frenetic attorneys from a high-power litigation firm, I'm exhausted. And unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to build up any stamina to handle this process except by doing more interviews and exhausting yourself even more.

Fortunately, I only have one interview today and then a break for two days to recover. But next week I'll have 10 interviews and a whole week of being "on." We'll see what shape I'm in after that.

In knitting news, I finished one retro-rib sock and am now busily working on the second one. Unfortunately, I have no GPG, no GPG camera, and hence no pictures. But perhaps I'll see GPG this weekend and have a chance to show you my progress.


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