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BlockedQuebecois

The OCI process is (fine/the worst) [split]

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13 minutes ago, Shankar said:

Is it too late to switch career paths and go drive a bus or something?  At least bus drivers don't have to put up with this nonsense application process.  I'd say I'd drive an Uber, but I spent all my money on tuition and can't afford a car. 

Honestly, I'm not mad.  Just disappointed because of all the positive signals I got.  

Oh well, back to writing cover letters and probably more pointless trips to Toronto that end up accomplishing nothing more than costing me money and making me fall farther behind in my courses.  Hooray.  

The OCI process is quite literally the easiest job recruit in the world. Somebody else compiles a list of employers. Said employers all take applications through one online portal. Somebody else then schedules your interviews with the employers. The employers come to a common location to interview you. Then, as you move on to the second stage of the process, all the employers agree to call you on the same day so that you can schedule your interviews well. All the employers agree to meet with you during a set date, and make a decision by a set date. They also all agree to let you hold open your job offer while you wait to see if someone you liked more wants to give you a job. 

You’re likely in for a rude awakening entering the informal job recruitment process if you think the OCI process is anything but easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The OCI process is quite literally the easiest job recruit in the world. Somebody else compiles a list of employers. Said employers all take applications through one online portal. Somebody else then schedules your interviews with the employers. The employers come to a common location to interview you. Then, as you move on to the second stage of the process, all the employers agree to call you on the same day so that you can schedule your interviews well. All the employers agree to meet with you during a set date, and make a decision by a set date. They also all agree to let you hold open your job offer while you wait to see if someone you liked more wants to give you a job. 

You’re likely in for a rude awakening entering the informal job recruitment process if you think the OCI process is anything but easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

There's a big difference between something being procedurally easy, like getting a list of employers and having them have a set time to call you, and something being easy to go through.  You're smart enough to know that, and I'm pretty sure you're smart enough to know that no one here is complaining about how difficult applying or answering the phone was.  Or maybe you aren't, who knows. 

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Just now, Shankar said:

There's a big difference between something being procedurally easy, like getting a list of employers and having them have a set time to call you, and something being easy to go through.  You're smart enough to know that, and I'm pretty sure you're smart enough to know that no one here is complaining about how difficult applying or answering the phone was.  Or maybe you aren't, who knows. 

Sorry, what exactly is your complaint when you complain that it’s a “nonsense application process”, then? 

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3 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Sorry, what exactly is your complaint when you complain that it’s a “nonsense application process”, then? 

So your reaction is to argue semantics?  How constructive and helpful of you.  Thanks so much. 

You know what I meant.  

Edited by Shankar
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8 minutes ago, Shankar said:

So your reaction is to argue semantics?  You know what I meant.  

No, I’m asking what you mean. We agree that the OCI process gets rid of essentially all logistical concerns, correct? So all that’s left is the actual interviewing, right?

Unless I’m misinformed, my understanding is that interviews at non-OCI firms tend to be pretty similar to interviews at OCI firms.

So if one process handles all the logistical problems and leaves you to focus on interviewing, and the other process leaves you to handle both the logistical problems and the interviewing, it’s not hard to figure out which one is more difficult. Not to mention, the OCI process has essentially no time pressure – if you strike out, you have a year and a half to find articles. The subsequent processes just get increasingly more time pressured.

Law students continue to be the only group of people who seem to sincerely believe that it’s more stressful to interview when you don’t need to deal with logistics than when you do (despite them simultaneously complaining that the minor logistical problems presented by having to schedule a day of interviews is unbearable).

Like I said, the OCI process is as sensical as you could make it. If you think it’s a nonsense application process, you’re likely going to be very disappointed by the reality of having to look for job postings, let alone all of the other logistical hurdles that follow. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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Anyways, I don’t want to kick you when you’re down. All I’m saying is that blaming the process, as cathartic as that might be for some of you right now, is both inaccurate and unproductive. 

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

No, I’m asking what you mean. We agree that the OCI process gets rid of essentially all logistical concerns, correct? So all that’s left is the actual interviewing, right?

Unless I’m misinformed, my understanding is that interviews at non-OCI firms tend to be pretty similar to interviews at OCI firms.

So if one process handles all the logistical problems and leaves you to focus on interviewing, and the other process leaves you to handle both the logistical problems and the interviewing, it’s not hard to figure out which one is more difficult. Not to mention, the OCI process has essentially no time pressure – if you strike out, you have a year and a half to find articles. The subsequent processes just get increasingly more time pressured.

Law students continue to be the only group of people who seem to sincerely believe that it’s more stressful to interview when you don’t need to deal with logistics than when you do (despite them simultaneously complaining that the minor logistical problems presented by having the schedule a day of interviews is unbearable).

Like I said, the OCI process is as sensical as you could make it. If you think it’s a nonsense application process, you’re likely going to be very disappointed by the reality of having to look for job postings, let alone all of the other logistical hurdles that follow. 

You know what you conveniently left out? All the other stuff that is not the actual in firm interview or the logistics.  Logistics are the least of my concerns.  I can be in Toronto in 2 hours and have no commitments I have to schedule around.  

In non-OCI interviews are there ~40 firms each interviewing dozens of students over the same three day period, while each student also generally has multiple interviews? No. 

In the non-OCI interviews, do students have pressure on them to rank firms that they are simultaneously interviewing with? Generally no, because they aren't interviewing with more than one firm at a time.  

In the non-OCI interviews, do students have multiple interviews in a day, followed by maybe a dinner and reception? Again, nope. 

In the non-OCI interviews, do firms intentionally lead on students for days because they need a number of backups due to the amount of firms hiring at this stage? Maybe, but it's not nearly as bad.  For the record, I accept and understand why firms do lead on students, but it's still not pleasant.   

That's all I'm saying about this.  There's a reason why a mod has to come in and say the discussion has to be set back on track in 90% of the threads you're involved in, and that reason is definitely not because you're providing helpful insights that move the discussion forward.  

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5 minutes ago, Shankar said:

In the non-OCI interviews, do students have pressure on them to rank firms that they are simultaneously interviewing with? Generally no, because they aren't interviewing with more than one firm at a time.

Do you realize how many students come to this board saying “Help, I told a firm I was accepting their offer but now this other firm I love 100X more has offered me a job three days after, can I break my commitment to the first firm”? A lot. If you think ranking firms goes away once you’re out of in firm week, again, you’ll be sorely disappointed. 

6 minutes ago, Shankar said:

In the non-OCI interviews, do students have multiple interviews in a day, followed by maybe a dinner and reception? Again, nope.

No, instead they have exams to study for, family commitments, etc. You’ve known what three days your interviews will be on for a year, and they’re sufficiently removed from most law school time pressures that you don’t need to worry about them. It’s an incredible luxury. 

9 minutes ago, Shankar said:

In the non-OCI interviews, do firms intentionally lead on students for days because they need a number of backups due to the amount of firms hiring at this stage? Maybe, but it's not nearly as bad.  For the record, I accept and understand why firms do lead on students, but it's still not pleasant.   

Yes, they do. And worse, they don’t have a drop dead date! A firm can leave you hanging for weeks, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Hell, you may even get job offers while you’re waiting for the firm to decide, and then you’ll have to navigate that. 

10 minutes ago, Shankar said:

That's all I'm saying about this.  There's a reason why a mod has to come in and say the discussion has to be set back on track in 90% of the threads you're involved in, and that reason is definitely not because you're providing helpful insights that move the discussion forward.  

Best of luck as you pursue the non-organized recruit. Hopefully it’s every bit as easy as you think it will be 😊
 

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41 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

No, I’m asking what you mean. We agree that the OCI process gets rid of essentially all logistical concerns, correct? So all that’s left is the actual interviewing, right?

Unless I’m misinformed, my understanding is that interviews at non-OCI firms tend to be pretty similar to interviews at OCI firms.

So if one process handles all the logistical problems and leaves you to focus on interviewing, and the other process leaves you to handle both the logistical problems and the interviewing, it’s not hard to figure out which one is more difficult. Not to mention, the OCI process has essentially no time pressure – if you strike out, you have a year and a half to find articles. The subsequent processes just get increasingly more time pressured.

Law students continue to be the only group of people who seem to sincerely believe that it’s more stressful to interview when you don’t need to deal with logistics than when you do (despite them simultaneously complaining that the minor logistical problems presented by having to schedule a day of interviews is unbearable).

Like I said, the OCI process is as sensical as you could make it. If you think it’s a nonsense application process, you’re likely going to be very disappointed by the reality of having to look for job postings, let alone all of the other logistical hurdles that follow. 

Wow, you seem extremely ignorant about the real world.

I got a job after getting a BA undergrad. Yes, I logistically had to find, schedule and attend the interviews. But I  was never competing against hundreds and hundreds of applicants like everyone else was these past few days. So sure,it was "hard logistically" but it was no where near as high pressure, high stakes or as intense as this. So please, check yourself before you get on your high horse.

Edited by Windsorxoxo
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3 minutes ago, Windsorxoxo said:

Wow, you seem extremely ignorant about the real world.

I got a job after getting a BA undergrad. Yes, I logistically had to find, schedule and attend the interviews. But I  was never competing against hundreds and hundreds of applicants like everyone else was these past few days. So sure,it was "hard logistically" but it was no where near as high pressure, high stakes or as intense as this. And I had no line of credit to fall back on like I do now. So please, check yourself before you get on your high horse.

Ugh, if you’re going to call someone ignorant, at least think for a second. Recruiters at the biggest law firms will usually tell you they get a few hundred applications for OCIs, and they’re generally hiring classes of 10-30 students. 

The average number of applications per job opening in the “real world” is somewhere between 30 and 50, depending on the job market (see https://web.jobvite.com/rs/703-ISJ-362/images/2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report.pdf).

That means that a big firm operating in the “real world” should expect to get between 300 and 1500 applications. Now, considering the approximate class size of all Ontario law schools (1496) and the firm-reported number of applicants to big firms, it looks like the OCI process runs right in line with the lower end average number of job applicants in the “real world”.

Of course, since law firms operate in the “real world” this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that lent even a moments thought to the issue. Now, let me just find my horse. 

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I split this off from the 2L Recruit Questions thread.

I have some comments about this. Now, before I start, full disclosure: I participated in the recruit, got a job, articled, and now I am an associate at the same firm. So for all intents and purposes, I was successful. That said, I was not one of the students with 20 OCIs lined up, a dozen in-firms, and five offers to choose from. I was a straight B student, so it's not like I should have expected a full field (and I certainly didn't have one). In other words, I was fortunate.

Now, having been through the process, including having applied at dozens of firms in the first place, networked in the lead-up to interviews, went through my cover letter and resume more times than I could count, went to cocktail parties and lunches, and did interviews over multiple days, I can't say that the process was overall that difficult.

I'll acknowledge it can be stressful. I'm fortunate that I'm a good interviewee, but I know that many others are not. Here's the thing though: this is true whether or not you're interviewing at OCIs. Is the compressed nature of the process shitty? Sure. Multiple interviews per day is not fun. But while you may be able to spread out your interviews a bit more in the unorganized recruit, the time constraints the employers are under will still require some element of expediency. Most of these firms who don't hire during OCIs still want to hire as quickly as possible. You're still competing against very qualified people. Do you have a bit more time? Probably, but not much more. Are you still going to have to play politics ("first choice" and all that nonsense)? Yeah, probably. And it will be worse, because their timing may not correspond to the timing of the other places you've applied (as BQ has pointed out), and there's no mandate that their offer be valid for any particular length of time. You'll still feel pressure to accept (and they'll pressure you because if you say no they need to make an offer ASAP to someone else, lest that other person accept another offer in the interim), but now instead of knowing you may or may not get an offer within a few minutes, it may be days or weeks. Maybe you hadn't even interviewed yet at the other firm. You can't hold your offer for that long.

Is there a better way to conduct the organized recruit? Probably. I hear stories from the way it used to be, before Toronto got New York fever and tried to time everything so that they could keep the top candidates from heading to NY firms, that it was more relaxed. But to say it's horrible or the worst thing that a law student could experience? No, I just can't see that.

Rejection sucks. Failure sucks. No doubt some people's opinions of the process are coloured by that. But others who were successful are also quick to also denounce the process. And I have to admit, I just don't see it.

 

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Just to clarify, the summer articling recruitment process which takes place right before you enter 3L is similar to the OCI in-firm process. In-firms are usually held in mid-August over a three day period (Monday-Wednesday) and just like OCIs, Call Day is Wednesday at 5pm. You will be balancing multiple interviews, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, etc. a day. MAG has a big reception for all interviewees.

These are the only two formal recruitment processes available. Many students do not land a job through either of these processes and end up finding a job on their own (e.g. through networking or applying to job postings they see on indeed, articling registry, school career portal, etc.), or doing the Ryerson/Ottawa Law Practice Program. 

While it is stressful to be competing with other law students for jobs, it should be remembered that if you were on your own applying to jobs in the real world, you are still competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of unknown faces for any one position. Many jobs do not ask for your transcripts either and go strictly off your relevant experiences and skills, which if we are being honest, many, if not most, law students - particularly K-JDs - do not have. It's easy to lose perspective when you are only enclosed in the law bubble, but jobs are harder to get in the real world where people are fighting for entry level positions that pay even 40-50k and have a ceiling of 60-80k. 

As a law student entering a professional field, you already have it made in comparison to most other Canadians. The articling rate for Canadian law students is well above 90%. You are highly unlikely to be unemployed, and you are highly unlikely to be making just a middle-class income as lawyer.

Also, if you are Toronto or bust, good luck because the market is saturated in most other fields as well. I know U of T and Waterloo engineering graduates struggling to find jobs in Toronto. I know medical school graduates struggling to secure residencies in Toronto hospitals. Please have some perspective as to the entire market and that Biglaw firms essentially account for only 20% of this market size. There is still the other 80% waiting to be cracked. It is just not being handed to you on a silver platter. 

Edited by Deadpool
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This discussion got unnecessarily negative quickly. Probably a result of "wrong message at the wrong time." But the basic original point is important, and at some future time will be useful to students. The OCI process IS a highly mediated, greatly simplified way of applying for work. Absolutely it's competitive. No one is pretending at all that logistical support eases the competitive aspect of these applications. But surely no one imagined that extremely well-paid legal jobs at top employers are anything other than competitive?

It's a fair warning. From this point forward, you're on your own. And if you find THIS difficult to handle, it doesn't get easier. Not saying it's a nice thing to hear (or good timing for that message) just that it's true. If it softens the blow a bit, that's not because the world hates law graduates. Almost no other profession has this kind of mediated interview process at all. Everyone else starts right away where we eventually end up also - just finding and applying for whatever jobs happen to be available, when they come available, and hoping for the best.

Anyway, sorry to anyone who didn't get what they were looking for, and good luck in the future. Now that the annual cycle of OCI questions are done, the annual cycle of what-comes-after-OCIs questions can start. 

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My partner was basically helping me out during OCIs and in-firms. I think OCIs themselves were fine but they said that in-firms basically took five years off of their life. There is no reason to force students to make important life decisions in only three days. It makes it unbelievably stressful. In the US, the top firms do it much differently in terms of time scale for in-firms and I think that makes the process easier emotionally.

Also for context, I did the non-organized recruit after 1L last year. It was time intensive (checking job sites, going to many more random interviews) but definitely not as difficult as the in-firm process.

Edited by wtamow
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BQ either made this topic to be purposely combative and kick the people who didn’t get OCI jobs when they’re down, or he genuinely thinks and ponders about this stuff (wtf man). Either way the act of even putting it on this forum is socially unacceptable get a life dude. 

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2 minutes ago, Disputes said:

BQ either made this topic to be purposely combative and kick the people who didn’t get OCI jobs when they’re down, or he genuinely thinks and ponders about this stuff (wtf man). Either way the act of even putting it on this forum is socially unacceptable get a life dude. 

Further to this, the notion that applicants' strong, negative reactions to this OCI process are about the logistics of the process itself and not the overwhelming feeling of rejection in a fishbowl environment where everyone's then sitting next to their 'competitors' for the next ~6 months ... is an impressive logical contortion. 

And beyond this even, while the process is logistically simplified, the compressed timeline (for both firms and applicants) and psychological pressure makes it such that it's impossible for firms or applicants to truly get it 'right' in finding a good fit. Students that say 'first choice' because it's clear that a firm wants them to say it and pressures them to do so, leaving that student to not say it elsewhere, only to find that pressuring firm was stringing them along -- that type of interview pressure is unique to the Toronto law recruit. That firms may wind up hiring ~20% more people than they wanted because of the absurd structure to the system is also demonstrative of this deeply flawed system.

The refrain that the real world is somehow tougher than this is not analogous and unhelpful. And, by the way, this is coming from someone who went through the OCI process and enjoyed it (for all its chaos, it was a good time -- unique, certainly). That doesn't prevent me from recognizing that the system is deeply flawed and empathizing with those who fell through the cracks because of those flaws. 

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I will say that the NY process removed the first choice element and the information asymmetry that comes along with it.

Sure, first choice still matters. But offers have to be held open for (a month, I think?). And you interview over an entire month, sometimes longer. You're able to digest information better, and aren't rushed into it.

Comparing recruit to recruit, the US (not just NY) seems to have their shit together more than Toronto. Pressuring a candidate to say first choice when the firm knows that candidate is a backup is really gross and shows poorly on that firm and what they think of themselves.

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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2 hours ago, Diplock said:

But surely no one imagined that extremely well-paid legal jobs at top employers are anything other than competitive?

These jobs put you in the top 5-10% of income earners in Canada. But they probably put you in the top 0.1% of income earners in their first year out of school. So any process to access them is going to be extremely competitive, but also probably seem somewhat random in its results since everyone is competing with people with very similar qualifications and experience. It can be hard to understand why someone is hired and another person is not, and that's because there is virtually no difference between the two in terms of their potential as a lawyer.

That said, the process is anxiety-inducing, it is intense, it happens quickly, and you are with all of your past and future peers at every step of the way. That alone makes it uniquely stressful. I'm pretty sure I woke up and vomited immediately all three days of the process, even though I had a full slate of interviews and was feeling fairly confident about my prospects. I have a stark memory of sitting in an interview with Davies litigators, and being unable to focus on my answers because I was plotting out how I could graciously get to the bathroom if I had to do it again. And I wasn't even reading these forums, which would have increased my anxiety by a hundred times! I didn't know anything about the "first choice" game and didn't tell anyone they were my first choice.

I'm removed from it (from either side) by a few years now, but I still feel ill thinking about it. I feel for all y'all.

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1 hour ago, jwms said:

The refrain that the real world is somehow tougher than this is not analogous and unhelpful. And, by the way, this is coming from someone who went through the OCI process and enjoyed it (for all its chaos, it was a good time -- unique, certainly). That doesn't prevent me from recognizing that the system is deeply flawed and empathizing with those who fell through the cracks because of those flaws. 

Not only that, but in many ways the real world is actually not tougher. 

Yes, the OCI process is streamlined. That does not make it "literally the easiest job recruit in the world", for many of the reasons voiced above. I went through it. Yes, it was nice that I did not have to email 50 individual job applications. I still had to prepare them. I still had to try to draft individual cover letters and cater my resumés to each distinct employer as though it wasn't streamlined. I still clicked a "submit" button 50 times. Even the streamlined nature of the process did not make it "easier", because I was operating under the constraint of deadlines.

This same difficulty attaches to OCI and in-firm interviews. I still had to prepare for every single interview the same way I would have for non-OCI job interviews, albeit I had to do it in a very short period of time. Besides getting into a flow, I'm not sure why that's easier. More people to meet, more names to remember, more details about each firm to keep in mind, and always the stressful thinking that "I have to pick the firm I like the most but I also really want to come out of this with a job". The whole thing requires you to be tactical while performing a balancing act.

Consider too the possibility that rejection hits hardest when its received from a bunch of sources all at once, as opposed to in short bursts. I'm not sure if thats true, but my experience was certainly that it did. I crapped out during OCIs, and it was tough to swallow then; it was also the best thing that could have happened to me.

Sure, the "real world", whatever that is, seems scary and infinite. Once you get over that, reaching out to and networking with firms and organizations that you have geniune interest in, and answering job applications on your own time and at your leisure, is pretty frigging easy. Scheduling coffees and interviews when convenient and being able to put all your focus into them, is far easier than it was during OCIs. 

I can understand why those who succeeded at OCIs call it easy, particular those who never had to acquire (or create) a job by other means. I'm not sure I would listen to those people though since they lack comparative experience.

Edited by FineCanadianFXs
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1 hour ago, Disputes said:

BQ either made this topic to be purposely combative and kick the people who didn’t get OCI jobs when they’re down, or he genuinely thinks and ponders about this stuff (wtf man). Either way the act of even putting it on this forum is socially unacceptable get a life dude. 

If this discussion offends you enough for you to call it unacceptable, I think you’ve gotta grow a thicker skin. 

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