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sman99

Create Your Own New OCI Process

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I tried writing something clever about how I'd change OCIs by requiring students to take some kind of mandatory counseling or orientation course before they were allowed to participate. I couldn't make it sound funny because it's a ridiculous suggestion, but I'm not actually kidding. OCIs are hell because students turn them into that - for themselves, for each other, and I'm sure to some degree for the poor interviewers on the other side of the table. You can't "solve" what's wrong with OCIs without addressing what's wrong with the participants in OCIs. And I know that isn't a fun answer, but it's a genuinely held belief.

The thing to remember about OCIs is this. The process may not be perfect, and there may be tweaks available that could make them better, but the central intention of the process is already what you want it to be. It's a process (believe it or not!) designed to protect students from employers. Apparently back in the "good old days" (well before my time - I've only heard stories) the market for top students was so voracious they were being recruited before they even started 1L. It was a free-for-all, with negative consequences. So employers got together and with the involvement of law schools and the Law Society they put together this process meant to impose some rules and limitations and timelines - again, primarily to protect students. Because there's absolutely nothing that says there needs to be rules at all.

Anyway, I'm not saying this to deny there are real concerns and things that students are rightly worried about. For example, as compared to the "good old days" just noted, there's legitimate reason to fear that a reasonable candidate might have trouble securing entry into the profession at all. Now that gets into other things, but my point is, yes, that fear builds into the OCI process. But it isn't caused by the rules governing OCIs.

Even when I've got a total handle on my tendency to be snide about this, there are certain things about a competitive employment market that are going to suck no matter how you structure the way in which students are trying to enter that market. I do believe it could be tweaked. I don't believe any system is perfect, so there's probably room for legitimate ideas for improvement. But in terms of where there is the most potential for improvement, I genuinely believe it's with the students themselves. Every damn year there's a new crop of students who run at this process like their very lives depend on it. And every year the same team on this site responds to the ensuing crisis, talking about other jobs to come, practice options outside of big law, how to search for positions post-OCI recruiting, etc. And it really makes me wonder - why does it take the idiots hanging around on this site to get this information into the heads of students? Is there really no other organized effort out there to make this information available?

Anyway, sorry for the serious post. But I really think the best possible innovation would be to force OCI participants to listen to some of the same stuff that people like Uriel post on this site every damn year. It won't solve every problem, but at least it might calm people down a bit.

Edited by Diplock
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Move them towards the August month like NY. Why are they in the middle of 2L? 

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Ban firm sponsorship of frosh week and first year events. Get better career offices at the law schools to help students understand the entire landscape of potential articling and career options.

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10 hours ago, Rashabon said:

Wouldn't this get rid of north of anywhere between $24,000 to $50,000 for students during law school?

Only if you assume they're otherwise unemployable.

Why punt the bar to after articles? It's educational and provides a learning opportunity for upcoming articling or LPP students.

To prevent students from having to prepare for final exams, OCIs and the Bar all at the same time.

If this is how they get 80% of their articling students, where does the remaining 20% come from?

The thousands of graduates suffering through the articling crisis, including those that underperform in, or 'misplay' the high-pressure process.

Do firms just go through summers without any student support now?

As much as we'll miss seeing you between the charity barbecue and the team-building canoe trip, we'll find some way to survive.  Sorry, couldn't resist.  Summers are the slow season and students spend half of it in orientation anyway.  We can always start first-year associates earlier.

 

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1 hour ago, Uriel said:

Only if you assume they're otherwise unemployable.

They’re certainly not employable at $1600 a week (or whatever the market settled at after the summer). 

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14 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

A 15 day offer hold period is entirely unworkable in the Canadian market, where many firms are hiring only a couple of students, and even the biggest are hiring tiny classes compared to the large NYC firms. I get why you liked that aspect of the NYC recruit, but it’s not possible to bring it to Canada without severely harming both students and firms. 

Aligning the recruits is an oddly firm-friendly idea you’ve dressed up as a student friendly one. Imagine how stressed students would be having to choose only one market when they’re open to working in two or more.

Also, I’ve never gotten all the hate on the pressure angle. I’ve been pushed multiple times about where an employer ranks. I believe it’s a set policy for ONCA to ask all their candidates where else they’re interviewing. Learning to navigate mildly uncomfortable situations is part of life, and I’m personally of the opinion that students should just suck it up and navigate it like an adult. But that’s probably a hot take these days. 

A lot of firms in other cities reject candidates because they can't demonstrate connection to that city anyway. May as well save the students the anxiety and time consumption.

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22 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

They’re certainly not employable at $1600 a week (or whatever the market settled at after the summer). 

Probably true. But since a summer student at a law firm has no special standing at all anyway (seriously, no ability to do anything a high school drop out can't legally do) then isn't what firms are paying really just a premium to lock up their perceived top candidates? This goes exactly to Uriel's point. Students aren't being paid based on real worth anyway. They are being paid so the employers most interested in their top picks can scoop them up early. And despite putting money in student's pockets, that's part of the problem. 

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36 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

A lot of firms in other cities reject candidates because they can't demonstrate connection to that city anyway. May as well save the students the anxiety and time consumption.

I find the paternalism in this outlook incredibly silly in the context of fully grown adults looking for professional jobs. Are law students really so delicate that we need to protect them from themselves like this? 

 

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29 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Probably true. But since a summer student at a law firm has no special standing at all anyway (seriously, no ability to do anything a high school drop out can't legally do) then isn't what firms are paying really just a premium to lock up their perceived top candidates? This goes exactly to Uriel's point. Students aren't being paid based on real worth anyway. They are being paid so the employers most interested in their top picks can scoop them up early. And despite putting money in student's pockets, that's part of the problem. 

I don’t disagree, if we accept that scooping up top talent early is a problem (I don’t, but it’s also not a hill I need to die on). But it still boils down to taking up to $50,000 out of the pocket of a law student, which I don’t think is beneficial to students. 

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3 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I find the paternalism in this outlook incredibly silly in the context of fully grown adults looking for professional jobs. Are law students really so delicate that we need to protect them from themselves like this? 

 

Unfortunately, yes.

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2 hours ago, Uriel said:

Wouldn't this get rid of north of anywhere between $24,000 to $50,000 for students during law school?

Only if you assume they're otherwise unemployable.

Why punt the bar to after articles? It's educational and provides a learning opportunity for upcoming articling or LPP students.

To prevent students from having to prepare for final exams, OCIs and the Bar all at the same time.

If this is how they get 80% of their articling students, where does the remaining 20% come from?

The thousands of graduates suffering through the articling crisis, including those that underperform in, or 'misplay' the high-pressure process.

Do firms just go through summers without any student support now?

As much as we'll miss seeing you between the charity barbecue and the team-building canoe trip, we'll find some way to survive.  Sorry, couldn't resist.  Summers are the slow season and students spend half of it in orientation anyway.  We can always start first-year associates earlier.

There's no chance they are making Bay Street salary off of Bay Street in this process, and I'm still not sure how your proposal allows for smaller firms to hire students but big firms can't?

Fair point on the second, though that's a problem only introduced by punting OCIs to the end of law school. Otherwise the time between finals and the bar is sufficient for the vast majority of students to study for and pass the bar.

I'm not sure I follow - they complete the process and then they pick up 20% from people who...just failed the process? How do they get hired? You've made it so all articling student hiring happens in the window after law school happens. If you think people are freaked out now, just wait until they have to graduate, fail the process, then try and claw their way back in. Also who is restricted from hiring? Just Bay Street firms? Can small firms hire whenever they want with no rules?

I put my students to work every summer. Summer is slow, but it's not dead. Litigators may be different because courts close and judges go on vacation and you all put everything over anyway so you don't have to work. But the rest of the market is still churning through stuff at various points. You've also now eliminated opportunities for students to figure out what they want to do. I only realized I might have an interest in securities law as a result of my first year summer where I got to try some of that out. I then took some more business courses throughout the rest of law school, alongside some other stuff I would have taken regardless. I would have had no idea about any of that going into articling. There are a lot of benefits students get out of a summer which your proposal would completely remove.

Edited by Rashabon

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2 hours ago, Uriel said:

Why punt the bar to after articles? It's educational and provides a learning opportunity for upcoming articling or LPP students.

To prevent students from having to prepare for final exams, OCIs and the Bar all at the same time.

My problem with this is that it's going to delay people getting called. If someone has a bad test day now, they can rewrite during articles and then get called on schedule. There's no missed employment opportunities. And in all likelihood, no one even needs to know that they failed. But if the first write is after articling, a fail means waiting to rewrite, waiting for results, and waiting until the next call ceremony before they can practice. Without knowing when they'll be able to practice, they're stuck in limbo for that time period. That sucks, and it's also inconvenient. It means they're either going to need other employment, or will end up claiming EI (if they're even eligible). 

Edited by realpseudonym
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21 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Unfortunately, yes.

That’s absurd, and I reject it. If law students can’t handle the stress, they should drop out. 

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4 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

That’s absurd, and I reject it. If law students can’t handle the stress, they should drop out. 

ok boomer.

Edited by TdK
I agree with BQ - but couldn't pass on the opportunity
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I know that this isn't on topic, except that it is. If you want to alleviate stress, have the provincial government cap tuition fees. The most stressful part of this profession so far has been debt. If I was a U of T student paying $38,000.00 per year in tuition, that's why I'm stressed about getting one of these jobs -- I actually need the money. Tinkering around with the timing of the hiring process might've made a marginal difference. Reducing the cost of education would've made a big difference to my wellbeing and my life. And I don't care how schools justify the cost of education. Law school is getting too expensive now. 

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1 minute ago, realpseudonym said:

I know that this isn't on topic, except that it is. If you want to alleviate stress, have the provincial government cap tuition fees. The most stressful part of this profession so far has been debt. If I was a U of T student paying $38,000.00 per year in tuition, that's why I'm stressed about getting one of these jobs -- I actually need the money. Tinkering around with the timing of the hiring process might've made a marginal difference. Reducing the cost of education would've made a big difference to my wellbeing and my life. And I don't care how schools justify the cost of education. Law school is getting too expensive now. 

Yes.

I'm feeling the pinch even paying 35000 total for my tuition over 3.5 years (matters because more living costs to cover, and opportunity cost). And I lived frugally. I can't even begin to imagine graduating u of t with close to (i imagine) 160k in debt after tuition and cost of living and not having a job paying over a grand a week for articles.

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

A lot of firms in other cities reject candidates because they can't demonstrate connection to that city anyway. May as well save the students the anxiety and time consumption.

I disagree with this as someone who did another region’s recruit with tenuous ties. It helped me prepare for 2L OCIs very well and I don’t think it hurt in anyway except for maybe time consumption.

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46 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

And I don't care how schools justify the cost of education. Law school is getting too expensive now. 

Supply and demand theory actually suggests law school is overall too cheap across the country. (Exhibit A: articling crisis) 

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About the only thing I can think of that's "unfair" about what's happening now is that "top" candidates are artificially restrained from meeting all the firms that want to meet them. If I'm an A student, I'm probably going to have to turn down some in-firm invites. If I leave without an offer I'm going to feel hard done by because I didn't get to meet all the firms that wanted to meet me, and maybe one of those firms would have hired me.

But is that unfair? What's wrong with a firm benefiting from a student self-selecting out? In the example above, I've decided that I'd accept offers from all the firms I chose to meet with over all the firms I rejected. The firms I rejected get to meet students who've decided they'd accept an offer from those firms. Presumably, those students are excited to meet the firms I rejected. Those students aren't like me, who'd only accept an offer from a firm I rejected once I became desperate after striking out at my preferred firms.

Of course, many students just want an offer; but should firms have to spend time interviewing students who'd accept five or six other offers before theirs just to make students feel better? And what about the non-top candidates who would possibly be pushed out when top candidates "settle" for offers from firms farther down their list? That just makes grades matter even more than they do now.

They can't hire everyone. Someone is always going to feel they didn't get a fair shake, no matter what kind of a system you design. As BQ said elsewhere, logistically it's not that bad. It's also over so fast; end of August to early November feels long, but imagine if it were dragged out even longer? 

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12 minutes ago, sman99 said:

Supply and demand theory actually suggests law school is overall too cheap across the country. (Exhibit A: articling crisis) 

I'm happy to supply you with some of my debt, if that's what you're demanding. 

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