SCU Alumni: Thoughts on OCIs and Beyond - Ravi Mohan
May 09, 2012 at 3:59 PM
LCS had the honor of interviewing exceptional SCU Law recent graduates who shared valuable advice on how to approach the OCI process, how to interview, and their tips on how to best strategize your law school career!
Other interviews are available here:
Ravi Mohan, Associate, Morrison & Foerster
B.S. Electrical Engineering from University of the Pacific
What are some things a 1L can do this summer to look marketable to a large firm?
Don’t take the summer off. Even if you don’t get a firm gig the first year (most people don’t), try not to be discouraged. Try to work in the general area of law. For instance, if you dream of being a patent litigator, try to find any work you can do in civil litigation. Projects you do during your first year summer (such as document review, research) all translate well for a future career in litigation.
Other options include researching or writing a paper in an area of law, or starting a blog. It’s never too early to become an expert in your selected area of law!
What was the OCI process like for you? Do you have advice for how to research employers?
I participated in the the OCI process in 2009, which was a tough year for the economy. I had a strong work background, technical degree, and good grades, but the job interviews never materialized into concrete offers.
I recommend being cognizant of your time and starting the recruiting process early. Try to be strategic with your time when applying to jobs and scheduling classes. During my 2nd year, I didn’t have many connections with attorneys in the Bay Area, so I took the time to aggressively promote myself. I attended conventions, fairs, presentations, and even visited secondary recruiting markets.
After applying for a summer internship in the Atlanta office of Alston Bird, firm management found my resume and offered me a position in their Menlo Park office.
I scheduled lighter classes for the semester to leave myself time to research, recruit, and interview. Attack every angle you can. I knew I wanted to work in the IP sector, so I paid attention to the tech blogs in order to pinpoint industry-leading cases and applied to the firms representing the clients involved. The same rule applies for corporate folks. Don’t just simply ask things that are easy to find out on the firm’s website. Ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest. Find out who the firm represents ahead of time and find out to what extent you would be able to help on those matters.
Did you do mock interviews? If so, did you find them helpful?
I consider myself a strong interviewer but I wanted to gauge what questions to anticipate in a legal capacity. The mock interviews were a great networking opportunity and gave me practical feedback about how to field questions for a legal position compared to say, a job in engineering.
What’s the number one thing you’d recommend doing before or during an interview?
Research the firm and the interviewers. Establish connections and build rapport during the interview. Know who the firm represents. I wouldn’t recommend asking questions that are “easily Googled” – prepare meaningful questions that demonstrate that you want to work for the firm.
What advice would you give 2Ls regarding their upcoming summer associate positions?
Even if you don’t get a job in the field you are looking to work in, keep in mind that skills from any legal position may apply in other legal fields. During my first summer, I did not work at an IP firm even though I knew that was my passion. Working at a small firm with non-IP work enabled me to develop skills in other areas. I turned a potential negative into a positive by demonstrating to IP employers how the skills I acquired were transferable to the IP sector.
The position was also an accurate gauge for how real work will be like – you have to work hard and make a good impression. Attend all firm-scheduled events and be professional!
Why did you decide to take a big firm job?
I wanted to take a big firm job to move further in my career and for the learning experience. Before law school, I worked for two years as an engineer. Now, I’m blessed to be surrounded by very smart and more importantly nice people all the time. The work is rewarding but also intellectually challenging. It all works to make me a better person.
How do you balance work and personal life as a first year associate?
Balancing work and your personal life is difficult at first, but it is crucial to your success as an associate. My personality compels me to want to bill until I can’t stay awake any longer, but I’ve learned to live a more balanced life. I was able to adjust my schedule to fit in time to go to the gym – it takes planning, but you have to remember that there’s life outside of work.