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OCI Dinner Invitations

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I just wanted to get a feel for how much weight is placed on OCI dinner invitations. I recognize they help you get to know the firm better and vice versa which is important; however, if you cannot attend due to a conflict, will that dramatically impact your chances of getting an in-firm interview? I realize that the answer to my question is likely yes; but I am hoping to hear from some members who have had to decline dinner invitations and still got in-firm interviews. 

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Firm dinners are offered along with in-firm interviews. You don't get firm dinners unless you were also invited to an in-firm interview. As for the importance of firm dinners, you have essentially no chance to get an offer of a job from a firm that you turn down a dinner invite. Dinner invites are specifically designed to monopolize your time and gauge your priorities. The firm knows where they stand as your top choices if you accept a firm dinner, since students only have the time slot for 2 firm dinners. If a student turns down a firm dinner due to scheduling conflicts with other firm dinners, then the firm knows they're not in your top 2, and will in all likelihood not hire you.

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@angel133 I can certainly appreciate this for firm dinners that are scheduled along with in-firm interviews, but I am specifically wondering about dinners offered with OCI interviews.

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Just now, Adapt said:

@angel133 I can certainly appreciate this for firm dinners that are scheduled along with in-firm interviews, but I am specifically wondering about dinners offered with OCI interviews.

Wow, it must have been a long time since I did OCI interviews and that I'm completely out of the loop. I didn't know they now offered dinners for OCI interviews.

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6 minutes ago, angel133 said:

Wow, it must have been a long time since I did OCI interviews and that I'm completely out of the loop. I didn't know they now offered dinners for OCI interviews.

I didn't know that either. I don't recall there being anything like that in my cycle (2016) but that doesn't mean it didn't happen (just that I didn't know anyone who attended one) or hasn't changed since.

14 minutes ago, angel133 said:

you have essentially no chance to get an offer of a job from a firm that you turn down a dinner invite.

I'll just add that this isn't necessarily true, but it certainly hurts your prospects quite a bit unless you do something to make it up. For example, if you must turn down a dinner invite, ask if it's possible to go for a quick coffee at X time or a quick lunch. It shows interest and, realistically, firms know that they're competing with others; they're not going to brazenly drop you as a candidate if they try to book a dinner slot with you that's already been filled by another firm. I know plenty of people who asked for alternatives and, as far as I am aware, each received an offer from said firm. So it does work.

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Is this true and can you clarify if you are talking about Toronto OCIs? I imagine that attending a dinner outside of the in-firm stage would be impossible for students that are from a law school outside of the city. 

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26 minutes ago, starbuckslova said:

Is this true and can you clarify if you are talking about Toronto OCIs? I imagine that attending a dinner outside of the in-firm stage would be impossible for students that are from a law school outside of the city. 

I've never heard of dinner invites being extended alongside OCI invites and I just did the Toronto recruit.

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Dinner invites are being offered by Calgary firms to out-of-province OCI candidates, I believe.  Maybe that is what OP means.

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Yes this is regarding the Calgary OCIs. I wasn't aware beforehand that OCI dinners were a thing, so it is good to know that I can ask for an alternative as Ryn suggested. 

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Yes, some of the Calgary firms do dinners when they are travelling to schools for OCIs. The firms that offer these dinners know that the students are getting multiple invitations and if you've already committed to another firm's dinner no one will hold it against you, as they all know that smart students will take the first dinner invite they get. If these firms like you in your OCI you will still be able to get an in-firm interview with firms that you didn't do an OCI dinner with. Note that not all Calgary firms do in-firm interviews - some just do coffees, lunches, dinners etc. with candidates during the Thanksgiving break. If you're looking for a 2L job in Calgary, you should plan to come back to Calgary during the October break. 

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18 minutes ago, iheartbooks said:

Yes, some of the Calgary firms do dinners when they are travelling to schools for OCIs. The firms that offer these dinners know that the students are getting multiple invitations and if you've already committed to another firm's dinner no one will hold it against you, as they all know that smart students will take the first dinner invite they get. If these firms like you in your OCI you will still be able to get an in-firm interview with firms that you didn't do an OCI dinner with. Note that not all Calgary firms do in-firm interviews - some just do coffees, lunches, dinners etc. with candidates during the Thanksgiving break. If you're looking for a 2L job in Calgary, you should plan to come back to Calgary during the October break. 

Thanks for the post. How soon after OCIs are students usually alerted about in-firm interviews? Is there an official call day for them? I couldn't find anything in my schools resources.

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There's no official call day and all the firms will have different procedures/timing for when they let students know about in firm interviews. If you have time at the end of your OCI and are running low on questions you can ask the interviewers how they usually follow up with candidates, or you can ask in your thank-you email that you send after OCIs. 

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Posted (edited)

I have a question about the actual mechanics of the dinner. Will there be a set menu? If not, should one play it safe and order the cheapest items of the menu. Appys and desert are also a definite no, right? Is wine also off the table?

Edited by harveyspecter993

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13 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

I have a question about the actual mechanics of the dinner. Will there be a set menu? If not, should one play it safe and order the cheapest items of the menu. Appys and desert Dessert's are also a definite no, right? Is wine also off the table?

Generally I wouldn’t worry about the price of something unless it’s extremely ridiculous. But I doubt candidates are taken to ridiculously expensive places in the first place. The lawyers usually order apps for everyone. For dessert, I’d just wait to see what the lawyers do and just go along with it unless they turn to you for your opinion; in that case I think it’s okay to say yes if you want dessert. 

Same deal for drinks. See what the lawyers get. If they get wine, you can, too. 

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Posted (edited)

I was invited to dinner the night before OCI's at my school. The firm is attending OCI's and interviews have yet to be determined. This means they will offer me an OCI, right? Any thoughts on this?

Edited by reggie12

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Got an invitation to a cocktail reception today from a Van firm. Confirmed an OCI in the same email.

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33 minutes ago, Mocha said:

Got an invitation to a cocktail reception today from a Van firm. Confirmed an OCI in the same email.

I find cocktail receptions slightly tricky. I'd prefer to spend the entire evening slowly sipping one drink in order to stay completely sober but I'm worried that would look weird. 

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3 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

I find cocktail receptions slightly tricky. I'd prefer to spend the entire evening slowly sipping one drink in order to stay completely sober but I'm worried that would look weird. 

No one will notice or care.

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3 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

I find cocktail receptions slightly tricky. I'd prefer to spend the entire evening slowly sipping one drink in order to stay completely sober but I'm worried that would look weird. 

Things seem less tricky if you slam 4 old fashions in 40 minutes. Just a tip from a total pro.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, TdK said:

Things seem less tricky if you slam 4 old fashions in 40 minutes. Just a tip from a total pro.

It'd certainly be less trickier for the firm to make up their mind about you lol. Jkz.

Edited by harveyspecter993

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