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OCI Dinner Invitations

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37 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. 

It won't look weird. Agree with @wakawaka that no one is likely to notice and if they do notice, they won't care. It's the smart thing to do, rather than drink too much and make a fool of yourself like some students do. 

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1 minute ago, erinl2 said:

It won't look weird. Agree with @wakawaka that no one is likely to notice and if they do notice, they won't care. It's the smart thing to do, rather than drink too much and make a fool of yourself like some students do. 

 

That actually happens?

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How would someone even notice how little you're drinking at a cocktail party?

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On 8/23/2019 at 9:09 PM, lvrgdfinguy said:

I also received a dinner invite for the night before Toronto OCIs. I attend a non-GTA school

The perks of being a law student are really great. If you can somehow avoid the stress and constant worrying then it's a pretty good three year experience.

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On 8/22/2019 at 7:26 PM, 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 are also a definite no, right? Is wine also off the table?

Typically set menu. No need to play it safe, regarding menu items. And wine will be offered -- typically before dinner and then another round when seated. It's easy to drink too much, and every dinner there are a few students who do drink too much. 

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Suddenly came up with a question. Probably I'm overthinking it:

What if during the following weeks there are more firms sending out dinner/reception invitations, and the time conflict with the ones that I already accepted? Will I automatically blow my in firm chances if I turn down the invitation?

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12 minutes ago, Mocha said:

Suddenly came up with a question. Probably I'm overthinking it:

What if during the following weeks there are more firms sending out dinner/reception invitations, and the time conflict with the ones that I already accepted? Will I automatically blow my in firm chances if I turn down the invitation?

I asked someone this and was told that it would be fine to politely decline while mentioning you've already accepted another dinner but are nonetheless still interested in the firm. Personally, I think it looks bad to cancel on the commitment and I wouldn't be surprised if others thought this as well

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1 hour ago, Mocha said:

Suddenly came up with a question. Probably I'm overthinking it:

What if during the following weeks there are more firms sending out dinner/reception invitations, and the time conflict with the ones that I already accepted? Will I automatically blow my in firm chances if I turn down the invitation?

Let them know that you have a prior commitment but would be happy to meet for coffee or lunch.

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12 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Let them know that you have a prior commitment but would be happy to meet for coffee or lunch.

Just wondering whether proposing a coffee or lunch is a thing for OCIs? I saw this advice before only regarding in firm. 

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41 minutes ago, Mocha said:

Just wondering whether proposing a coffee or lunch is a thing for OCIs? I saw this advice before only regarding in firm. 

I can't see any harm in asking. It demonstrates interest in the firm.

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On 8/23/2019 at 1:44 AM, Ryn said:

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

If they don’t get drinks, politely excuse yourself and find a different firm dinner to crash. 

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Posted (edited)

Drinking is a sort of skill. There’s nothing wrong with respecting an ability to hold one’s liquor. Sometimes it feels like Canadians took too much of the Anglo and not enough of the Saxon.

I wouldn’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. That’s not because it’s déclassé but because there are lawyers who suck so hard as people that they would consider it déclassé. Better safe than sorry. But no one thinks you need to order the baked chicken with no sauce - honestly I’m inclined toward the kind of person who orders the sweetbreads and eats the shrimp head. Live a little, it’s a big planet. I want to work with the student who orders fun food.

Either you’re going to have a personality and charm people on it, or have none and hope wallflower is the way to go. Assess which one you’re better at and whether the partners at the table like furniture that can do due diligence or human beings.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju

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4 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

furniture that can do due diligence

I'd pay for that kind of furniture, tbh

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On 8/23/2019 at 1:44 AM, Ryn said:

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. 

I’d just like to say this is the thing I enjoyed least about the Toronto culture. 

Life is for the living. When I talk to a potential candidate, I want to see a whole living, breathing, autonomous human in front of me. If they’re following me, they have nothing to contribute by definition. Taking all of my cues doesn’t tell me a candidate is safe - it tells me they’re scared to be themselves, which means their self is something to hide. 

If I say I don’t want a drink, it doesn’t mean you can’t drink. It means I don’t want one and I still expect you to be a separate human being from me. 

So I don’t know how to advise on that. Maybe enough lawyers are lame that the advice is safe and correct more often than not. But what a world.

And the takeaway is I still think you need to be mindful that even if this advice is right, you should be conscious not to come off as someone who simply follows - be a human.

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40 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I'd pay for that kind of furniture, tbh

Sometimes you need someone with nothing to contribute. But not past first year.

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34 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

And the takeaway is I still think you need to be mindful that even if this advice is right, you should be conscious not to come off as someone who simply follows - be a human.

I don't disagree with you, but I think such a position is easier on the other side, when there isn't so much on the line. Both of us have jobs, so at lunches I have no problem ordering what I want (including a drink, if I feel like it). But that's a luxury compared to people going through OCIs. 

The reality is that people are arbitrary and sometimes savage in how they judge others. The power imbalance between a lawyer taking a student out to an OCI dinner and the student is immense, and that gap only grows larger the more the lawyer's firm is notable and sought-after. Given the choice of many equally competent and enticing candidates, the smallest thing can become the deciding factor. Some people may notice and take offense at an unprompted alcohol order, or a candidate ordering an app may be looked at negatively for being presumptuous, and so on. These concerns may not ever be voiced but will come across in the decisions when it's time to make them.

So my advice is usually to limit your exposure to things that can affect you negatively. Obviously it's impossible to do so completely, but you can make an effort. This is also partly important because these people only have a brief moment to decide whether they like you or not. People tend to become much more forgiving and candid once you get to know them better (and, more importantly, when you have been able to prove your competence and ability to them by actually doing work). But when you just completed first year of law school, have little to no work experience, and only have your university grades and five minutes of personality to back up your desire to be employed by the firm you're courting, you don't have a lot of wiggle room.

This doesn't mean be a robot or to cease being yourself entirely. But you have to remember that people aren't in your head; they don't have access to your thoughts as you're making your choices. It's all about perception, and that's what needs to be cultivated carefully in the little time you have with these people. Once you all get to know each other better, the dynamic changes.

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Posted (edited)

@Ryn I’m not sure I really disagree that it’s the smart advice, though I find it depressing. It just makes me less impressed by someone rather than more, and there may be a few others like me even if we’re in the minority. So find other ways to still seem like an individual with a unique way of being, just to check that box too.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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Posted (edited)

I've honestly found that my interview skills skyrocketed once I stopped being clean shaven, and tried to have fun at those cocktails - as if I was out with some friends.*

*not taking myself back to my early undergrad days. That would probably be frowned upon in a professional setting.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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