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BlockedQuebecois

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

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2 minutes ago, talos said:

Wow, I am just baffled by the colossal lack of self awareness on display here by BQ in starting this thread.  Baffled doesn’t actually do the feeling justice - I am straight up bamboozled.

Imagine not even participating in this year's recruit, yet feeling the need to start a thread a few hours after students have been rejected by firms, students who have spent months in preparation, who have poured their blood sweat and tears into this recruit, and whose wounds are understandably still fresh - all because you want them to know that their recent failure was AKSHUALLY a failure at “the easiest recruit in the world”.

That is absolutely astonishing… Bless your heart BQ. 

The internet never ceases to amaze me.

He didn't start it, it was spliced after the general question thread went off rails.

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As someone who went to the final stretch last night and ended up without an offer, my biggest worry is that one day someone is going to kill themselves because of this process.

As someone who has (mostly) lurked this forum since my third year of undergrad, I know that every time I see BQ’s name I’m going to be reading the words of someone who is full of insecurity that enjoys putting other people down.

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Sigh. I’m going to go enjoy my day. The moral of my initial post was that blaming the process is inaccurate and unproductive. Some of you may internalize that advice and come out ahead because of it. Some of you will continue to think that lashing out at ideas you don’t like will get you ahead in life, or somehow make you feel better about yourself after a rough week. That’s fine too.

Thanks @FineCanadianFXs in particular for the thoughtful discussion. 

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Okay, let's stop the personal comments. I realize that this is a sensitive issue for many of you but keep the discussion focused on the subject of the thread and not the opinion of others. Thanks.

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Also, if you’re even contemplating suicide because of this process, please seek professional help. Crisis Services Canada can be reached by calling 1-833-456-4566 (24/7), or by texting START to 45645 between 4:00 PM and midnight ET.

The 2L recruit (nor the articling recruit or the various informal recruits) is not the be-all-end-all of the legal profession or your legal career. There are tons of interesting and fulfilling positions to be found in the other recruits, and you’ll honestly never know whether you find them interesting and fulfilling until you’re working. 

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20 minutes ago, wtamow said:

Okay, I did both and I think 2L was a lot harder for the following reasons.

1) Timing. It’s one of the last formal recruits before articling. In 1L, it’s emphasized that only a small % of students get jobs, and that you have far more opportunities in 2L. In 2L, it feels a lot more real because some employers don’t frequently employ past the 2L recruit. So the sense of urgency becomes deeper and you realize “oh man, if [X] doesn’t hire me now, I might never work there.” For a lot of students in the 1L and NY recruit, it’s easy to shrug it off because “there’s always the infamous 2L OCI process after.” But once you’re at the 2L OCI process, you feel like there might not be any luck after and you might not be interested in a lot of the articling recruit firms. The 2L OCIs are the last large recruit for a lot of these firms. In 1L there’s also opportunities to get your grades up and try again next year. In 2L, you’re kind of stuck for most firms.

2) More rejection. The 2L recruit is longer in length and due to the sheer number of firms participating, you’re encountering more rejection or more mixed signals to navigate. Even if you’re a hot commodity, it’s going to suck more than the 1L recruit because you will be pulled in different directions and have to navigate what the right fit is.

3) More students participating. Odds are lower in the 1L recruit but there’s generally less people participating in the first place. During the 2L in-firm week everywhere I went on Bay St was littered with 2L students. I couldn’t enter a coffee shop without hearing 2L chatter. I got my hair done twice and every single time the salon was filled with interviewees and interviewers. It was pretty incredible. But this also adds to the stress in a way, because it makes the recruit feel like a bigger deal.

4) The aftermath. After 1L, only a handful of students have jobs. There isn’t chatter throughout the halls about who got what because most people are unemployed. During 2L, you kind of cannot run away from it. At many schools, 1/3 to 1/2 of the class is employed and talking about it actively. That makes it a lot harder to just get over it and move on as well.

I could go on forever. I honestly feel very fortunate that I got a job in the process but I wouldn’t want to do it again. The 1L recruit was easier and getting a job informally was easier, in my opinion. 

This is exactly it. After you fail at 1L, you think meh, no one really gets these jobs, and I have a way better shot at landing something through the way larger 2L recruit. And then you don't, and it feels as if the door is shut forever. And yeah, most people who do this process do it for the wrong reasons - they don't actually care about big law, it's just what everyone is doing and so they jump on the bandwagon. Then they get those jobs, and those of us who genuinely wanted to practice in the area fall short and feel slighted, with no realistic prospects of ever making it into this area again. It stings.

What @BlockedQuebecois is saying is not technically wrong. He's right that it's logistically easier in that the firms come to us, we submit all our materials through a nice neat portal, there's no leg work to be done. Which in a lot of other fields is a giant headache and half the battle. I don't think he's purposely trying to kick us while we're down. But I can see how it comes across that way. Because blaming the process, which is a terribly flawed one at that, is not the wrong thing for us to do. When ridiculously qualified candidates get left behind in favour of Alex whose family friend is a partner with a lot of pull at Stikes, or Sam who is simply quite charming and funny with straight Bs and a couple of Cs ends up at Osler, it just feels wrong. In those cases, it can't be anything but the way this process is structured that leads to what feels like an injustice.

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10 minutes ago, RollMaster said:

When ridiculously qualified candidates get left behind in favour of Alex whose family friend is a partner with a lot of pull at Stikes, or Sam who is simply quite charming and funny with straight Bs and a couple of Cs ends up at Osler, it just feels wrong. In those cases, it can't be anything but the way this process is structured that leads to what feels like an injustice.

Well, the only thing that matters in most law firms is money. Rainmaking partners are entitled to run them like little fiefs. They are allowed to be petty, selfish, nepotistic, and superficial. If you don't want to be in an environment where wealth = prerogative, then you shouldn't be participating in the Bay recruit.

Edited by Eeee
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Let’s just all shit on the process and ignore the reason why the process constructs so much anxiety - law students who sincerely believe its their only option and student culture which reaffirms it.

Lets all blame the effect rather than the psychotic law students who cause it, whether rightly or wrongly, and those place every chip on the table for one recruit where most people DONT get a job. Logic.

Edited by FingersCr0ssed
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12 minutes ago, FingersCr0ssed said:

Lets all blame the effect rather than the psychotic law students who cause it, whether rightly or wrongly, and those place every chip on the table for one recruit where most people DONT get a job. Logic.

imagine 

YhQzJod6.png?width=374&height=301

 

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20 minutes ago, Eeee said:

Well, the only thing that matters in most law firms is money. Rainmaking partners are entitled to run them like little fiefs. They are allowed to be petty, selfish, nepotistic, and superficial. If you don't want to be in an environment where wealth = prerogative, then you shouldn't be participating in the Bay recruit.

I didn’t say that. I don’t disagree that money makes the world go round and that it’s the most important thing to a law firm, i.e. a business. I can appreciate that. My point was that certain factors beyond the control of many of us result in us getting the short end of the stick, which goes to the arbitrariness and unfairness of the process

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1 hour ago, FineCanadianFXs said:

The idea you have that it is "not relevant" that other people who struggle with interviews, and that this does not have an effect on how easy one process is versus another is, frankly, humourous. Think. If one finds it difficult and stressful to interview, surely that will have an effect if a particular process emphasizes interviews, and many of them, in a very brief period of time. Are you certain that those with interview-anxiety won't have it easier outside the OCI recruitment process?

Bouncing off of this, I'll say a few things, which hopefully help a little? And I'll note that I'm not really talking about the process that people just went through. I didn't do OCIs. I don't know much about OCIs. I'm not commenting directly on OCIs. I'm talking about an informal articling search. 

I suspect that some people are freaked about the process of finding an articling position outside the recruits. And to those people, I'd say relax. It's true that if you're narrowly focused on an area of law that only gets practiced by firms hiring through OCIs (although I question whether that's really ever the case outside of maybe class actions, and even then, you can transfer in later), not getting an offer now is a set-back. But, if, like most people, you end up needing to look for a job on your own, that's really not the end of the world. 

Here's why the world won't end.

  • Looking for a job informally isn't really all consuming. I'd spend a few hours a week writing applications for things posted online. Then I'd spend some time cold calling and meeting with lawyers. If you're devoting every waking second to it, that's probably an anxiety thing, not a necessity thing and there's treatment for that. So to the extent that people are worried that it will ruin the rest of law school, my answer is that's only true if you let it be true. 
  • Not having a job in 2L and 3L isn't that embarrassing. A lot of you will feel shame, because you walked into a competition and didn't emerge victorious. That's normal. You've wrapped yourself up in your professional success and you didn't get a badge marking you as professionally successful. This is the part where I'll risk sounding insensitive (and I'm not saying that it isn't shitty to get rejected from six firms or whatever all at once). But you'd all do well to get over this. I mean, I get it. I've been there. But unless you went into every interview, declined all questions, and read Mein Kampf aloud for an hour, there's nothing to be ashamed of here. You're not a bad person. You're not a bad lawyer. You just didn't get picked. Wallow for the time you need. But success doesn't come from dwelling on your failures indefinitely. So at some point, dust yourself off. And FWIW, I found that once I wasn't embarrassed, other people weren't embarrassed for me and it was fine.
  • I agree with FineCanadiansFXs above, about once the hiring forum changes a little, some of you will probably have a chance to showcase yourself in a way that might work better for you.
  • Also, for me, the job hunt got easier later in law school. That was mainly because lawyers hiring near or after graduation are going to be looking for demonstrated interest and some tangible skills. And by mid to end of 3L, I had those. That meant that cover letters and interviews were focused on my clinical experience etc, and how I thought I could be of service. Fit is still important. But there's a lot less emphasis on relatively artificial social norms, because by then, I had more relevant experience to talk about than any 2L could be expected to have. Which de-emphasizes questions over "first choice," dinner norms, or whatever. There's a practical lesson here too. Specifically, you should start thinking about the kind of work you want to do for the first couple of years (don't think about it as your whole career, because that's not true -- lawyers change practice areas), and then try to get some hands on experience in it.

Anyway, those are some thoughts. 

Edited by realpseudonym
Typos
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I like the idea that roaming the halls of Bay Street firms are reams of unqualified candidates who only got their based on nepotism, and also that grades don't matter generally, but also do matter if you had good ones. Good stuff.

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7 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

I like the idea that roaming the halls of Bay Street firms are reams of unqualified candidates who only got their based on nepotism, and also that grades don't matter generally, but also do matter if you had good ones. Good stuff.

10/10 straw man. I didn’t say everyone who works there got there based on connections and that grades are pointless. But, based on your incorrect use of “there”, I suppose you’ve indirectly proven my point! 

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6 minutes ago, RollMaster said:

10/10 straw man. I didn’t say everyone who works there got there based on connections and that grades are pointless. But, based on your incorrect use of “there”, I suppose you’ve indirectly proven my point! 

That caught me off guard and actually made me lol

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Lol you got me, my typo invalidates my work and prior academic career.

It's not really a straw man, you really did complain about this:

"When ridiculously qualified candidates get left behind in favour of Alex whose family friend is a partner with a lot of pull at Stikes, or Sam who is simply quite charming and funny with straight Bs and a couple of Cs ends up at Osler, it just feels wrong"

Guess what, every candidate who walks through the doors of the Bay Street firms is ridiculously qualified. I've never seen a single candidate with as shitty grades as your Sam at my firm or in the interview process, and while I've seen some folks here and there who have a connection to Bay Street, they all had the same grades and profile as every other "ridiculously qualified" candidate. It's well and good to whine that the deck is stacked against you from the start, but that's just the actual reality on Bay Street.

You want to complain about nepotism, wait until the informal recruits, because that's where connections actually make a difference. I helped get my friend his articling job through my connection to a small firm. That would never work in the OCI recruit.

Likewise, if you're a wet blanket with an A average, why wouldn't the firm prefer someone that isn't a pain to be around, especially when the conventional wisdom around here is that grades are somewhat arbitrary? I'm fine to argue the contrary, I graduated U of T with honours so I have no incentive to argue that grades have nothing to do with me just being good at this as opposed to largely arbitrary, but you can't have it both ways, that grades are arbitrary and therefore we should look holistically at candidates, while also arguing that you got screwed because someone with slightly worse grades got hired.

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Every year, someone brings up the idea that they didn’t get a job because someone less well suited for the position had the inside track.

Every year, it’s rebuked by actual lawyers. (Aside, imagine being petty  and foolish enough to call out a grammatical error on an internet post by a senior associate at one of the firms you want to work at – @Rashabon and I go at it all the time, but I don’t think we’ve ever been that petty with each other)

Every year, it’s an unhelpful narrative spun by disappointed candidates to make themselves feel better. Even if it was true, it would still be an unhelpful observation designed to make disappointed candidates feel better. 

Tough love time: even if someone less qualified did get in above you, people more qualified did too. And you can’t control whether or not people less qualified get in above you. All you can control is whether or not you’re the most qualified candidate for a job. If you do that, you’ll land somewhere. You’ll probably land somewhere good. But if instead you focus on how life is unfair, how these imagined or real assholes snuck into the position that was rightfully yours, etc etc etc, you’re going to end up worse off. 

I get the desire to throw a tantrum, blame the world, or rationalize away your failures. But it’s not healthy. The healthy way to cope with failure is to take a few days to be sad, reflect on the experience, and then set about becoming a better person. 

If you do that, and you do that consistently after all types of failures (job hunts, exams, relationships), you’ll find you live a much better, more fulfilling life. 

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13 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

Lol you got me, my typo invalidates my work and prior academic career.

It's not really a straw man, you really did complain about this:

"When ridiculously qualified candidates get left behind in favour of Alex whose family friend is a partner with a lot of pull at Stikes, or Sam who is simply quite charming and funny with straight Bs and a couple of Cs ends up at Osler, it just feels wrong"

Guess what, every candidate who walks through the doors of the Bay Street firms is ridiculously qualified. I've never seen a single candidate with as shitty grades as your Sam at my firm or in the interview process, and while I've seen some folks here and there who have a connection to Bay Street, they all had the same grades and profile as every other "ridiculously qualified" candidate. It's well and good to whine that the deck is stacked against you from the start, but that's just the actual reality on Bay Street.

You want to complain about nepotism, wait until the informal recruits, because that's where connections actually make a difference. I helped get my friend his articling job through my connection to a small firm. That would never work in the OCI recruit.

Likewise, if you're a wet blanket with an A average, why wouldn't the firm prefer someone that isn't a pain to be around, especially when the conventional wisdom around here is that grades are somewhat arbitrary? I'm fine to argue the contrary, I graduated U of T with honours so I have no incentive to argue that grades have nothing to do with me just being good at this as opposed to largely arbitrary, but you can't have it both ways, that grades are arbitrary and therefore we should look holistically at candidates, while also arguing that you got screwed because someone with slightly worse grades got hired.

Honestly, not disagreeing with you. I just don't recall ever saying that grades are arbitrary. If that's what the consensus is, then sure, I'll defer to the lawyers on here who say that. But I personally always thought grades were quite important, which is why I slaved away all year last year to get the marks that I did. And as for the wet blanket remark, I get that too. You'd think the people who are really strong on paper that are getting passed on just must not have been socialized properly and they sit in the corner at social events and don't talk to anyone. Of course the firms aren't gonna hire that type of person. But that's not me. At least I don't think so. 

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20 minutes ago, RollMaster said:

Honestly, not disagreeing with you. I just don't recall ever saying that grades are arbitrary. If that's what the consensus is, then sure, I'll defer to the lawyers on here who say that. But I personally always thought grades were quite important, which is why I slaved away all year last year to get the marks that I did. And as for the wet blanket remark, I get that too. You'd think the people who are really strong on paper that are getting passed on just must not have been socialized properly and they sit in the corner at social events and don't talk to anyone. Of course the firms aren't gonna hire that type of person. But that's not me. At least I don't think so. 

It's in every thread about grades on this forum. I'm fine for you to complain, I'm sure it sucks not to get a job out of this process, I wouldn't know what that's like. But every year the same complaints arise and every year candidates go stomping around complaining about nepotism or the mysterious shitty students who are just so charming. As if the latter isn't a skill in its own right, leaving aside that they don't really exist in any meaningful sense at the top firms.

The OCI process is arbitrary in many ways. You're only exposed to so many personalities, and have limited time to win them over. But don't get it twisted - every single person that walked the halls of those top firms alongside you during recruit were well-credentialed in their own right. The B/C student that's charming isn't going to charm the firms on paper. They get weeded out before OCIs. You tell me if that's fair, especially if skill as a lawyer isn't directly correlated to grades. I don't have any skin in the game, but that's how the process works, and that's a separate argument entirely. But the point is that the gregarious, charming candidate that you think won them over purely on personality? Their grades were perfectly fine, as was the rest of their paper credentials.

The reality is, this is a difficult process, there's no science to it, the firms often end up just as confused as the candidates, and good candidates get left out all the time. But not because they get replaced by shitty nepotism hires or the guy or girl everyone thinks is a real charmer but is somehow a mediocre law student.

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At the risk of being repetitive:

I find it a bit funny that the ones that did get jobs through the recruit feel the need to respond to what is pretty justifiable, though irrational, grief. To those of us with no horse in this race of this thread, it just comes off as really insecure and defensive for someone who has been as successful as BQ (at doing what he wants, and sincerely, god bless) to mansplain how the recruit is fine. It comes across as punching down and it's not helpful. Regardless of the merits of your argument, which I would characterize as containing some truth (for one, people certainly exaggerate nepotism - though I think it's worth distinguishing soft and hard nepotism - and underrate social intelligence and random chance), do you really feel the need to do this right now? I'm more worried about you than them frankly.

Maybe leave the "stop complaining, it gets better" to those of us who had reason to complain, and got better. These folks don't need people who got jobs out of the 1L recruit to tell them how to feel; it's like when pre-law lurkers explain how to make summaries based off their friends' of friends experience, or when boomers complain that if millennials can't afford houses, they should stop buying lattes. The disconnect between lived experience is jarring, and the missing empathy can muddle even the soundest advice (not saying either of my examples are sound advice lol).

People have sour grapes after something like this. It's a lot of hype crammed into a very short period of time. And not succeeding can make you feel empty and worthless. Honestly that might be the real problem with this process, which has been alluded to previously in this thread - it's an island two years separated from actual articling (nevermind the fact that articling itself isn't a magic spell for staying with an OCI employer long-term). It has an air of finality that you don't get in a less structured, more drawn out process. It's "go go go go go" then by 6 pm on Wednesday... it's done, with all those little bits of hopes and dreams you've built up throughout the process dashed. And so you're left with either relief or going through the five stages of grief. I for one have never found the logistics of any job application to be the hard part (except maybe those online forms where you have to type out your resume because you can't copy and paste into the text boxes, then 5 screens later they make you upload the damn thing as a PDF anyway), but I can say the 2L recruit feels different because it can basically become your life for months if you're not careful; and then 'poof', it's over.

I know it's not what any of you that have just finished will believe, but it's not even started for you yet, let alone over. Process, reflect, and then move on. Don't dwell or let it make you bitter. It's life, and it will always have its ups and downs. Learn from it. Perhaps most importantly for some of you, try and see if you can take a lesson from it to prioritize your life goals, not just career goals, and maybe be a little less obsessive.

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