You are about to start your second year in law school. You have submitted your bidding list for on-campus interviews (“OCIs”). Maybe a week or two later, you get an interview schedule from the placement office, showing all the OCIs you were granted. You don’t know what to expect exactly, but you start to get comfortable after a couple of OCIs. You typically interview with only one attorney from each firm at OCIs, though occasionally two attorneys might tag team you.
A few OCIs later, you feel good about how some of them went, and get queasy when thinking about the others. But OCIs are all done at last!
A few weeks later, hopefully you will receive a letter or email inviting you to come to the firm for a callback interview. You are ecstatic and cannot believe that such a prestigious firm wants you to come in for a second look.
But wait, what is involved in a callback interview? First, typically, you will start your day with a quick meet-and-greet with the firm’s recruiting coordinator (or more likely, an underling assistant). You will be given a schedule showing all the attorneys that you will be seeing that day. Then someone will take you to the first interview.
As a general proposition, you should expect to see a few to several attorneys that day, some of whom are on the firm’s recruiting committee while others may not be. It depends on the firm, but in most cases, they will take you out to lunch. At a very nice restaurant that starving law students can only dream of eating at. Quite often, you will have interviews starting mid- to late morning, followed by lunch, and a few more interviews after lunch. Alas, you should refrain from drinking red wine with your 16 oz. ribeye steak during lunch.
Usually, younger associates will take you out to lunch in a relatively casual and friendly atmosphere. It’s so easy to let your guard down in that environment. But you should always be on your toes, as they are asked to fill out the same evaluation form that the interviewers use!
These interviews can be exhausting and possibly excruciating. Each interview may last 15-20 minutes or more, and is usually in the interviewer’s office at the firm. Some interviews will run overtime. Some interviewers will run late, which will push your schedule behind. Some other interviewers are so tied up that they have to switch spots with another interviewer who has a later slot. Some interviewers cannot be found at the scheduled time, and they practically have to send a search party . . . or page him/her overhead. All of this adds to the chaos and delay . . . and your stress.
Usually, there is little or no “travel” time between interview locations built into the schedule, so don’t expect to catch a breath in between interviews. Large firms have several floors in the building, so you might be riding elevators a lot! Each interviewer will typically walk you over to the next interviewer — during this time, it’s mostly small talk as you are led around the firm. Don’t let your guard down. Of course, lawyers who are too good for that would make his or her assistant walk you over. Between the overtime interviews and delayed starts, you will practically be running (okay, maybe just power walking) between interviews!.
Upon the completion of your last interview, they will take you to the recruiting coordinator or the assistant. S/he will give you a firm brochure and other information. You shake hands and you walk out of the door exhausted. You come home and fall sleep on the bed without brushing your teeth. Lucky you, you get to do it all over again at another firm tomorrow! Just don’t say, “Excuse me, which firm is this again? I’ve gotten sooo many callbacks that it’s confusing.”