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We understand that the route from application to in-firm interview to cocktail party can be long, hectic, and nerve-racking. How do you go through it without coming out the other end as a frazzled, nervous, and thinly-stretched applicant? Get prepared by reading our tips and advice section learn about what type of attire is appropriate at an in-firm interview, how to address your cover letter and how to get some great on-campus interview tips. It will let you know what it takes, and how to get it done.

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The OCI

The people with the real insight on how to handle a Cassels Brock OCI are the people who did it the best: our students. We asked our 2014 summer students to share their insights with you. Here are some tips from our students on how to handle the OCIs.
 

Tips & Insights

Spend much of your preparation time familiarizing yourself with your own resume. Though this may seem like an obvious exercise, you will not always be prepared to speak on an experience in as much detail as required during an OCI interview. Jot down some of the tasks you performed and learning lessons you took away, so that you are able to speak to each item when asked.

Also, remember to eat! In some cases, you will have to be ‘on’ for 12 hours or more - so fuel is extra important over these three days.

Robyn Blumberg (Osgoode)

 

Above all, keep smiling, exude positivity and try to enjoy the experience as much as possible. You will make a great impression on every firm if you seem like you are genuinely happy to be there. Although the interview process can be nerve-wracking, focus on the fact that you’re meeting with bright, personable and interesting people who are excited to get to know you better!

Jenna Clark (Dalhousie)

Prepare diligently for your interviews, but try not to sound too rehearsed. When you come to the firm for an interview, always be courteous and genuine with everyone that you meet. Do your best to keep your energy levels up, maintain eye contact and smile. Everyone knows that this can be a stressful time, so don’t worry if you are nervous, just try to stay composed and confident throughout the process!

Michael Garbuz (Toronto)

The interviews fly by, so do your best to quickly turn it into a friendly, yet professional conversation. Do this by asking genuine questions about your interviewer’s experience at the firm. Smile, project confidence and have fun.

Benjamin Goodis (Windsor)

Don’t over think it or dwell on every conversation you had.  Be confident, charismatic and show that you are competent.  Take a real interest in the people that you meet. The rest will work itself out.

Lauren Grossman (Toronto)

For the ladies: keep an extra pair of nylons in your purse. It will save you the hassle (and the unnecessary stress) of trying to find a new pair when they inevitably rip during the interview week.

Amanda Metallo (Osgoode)


Be enthusiastic (authentically, of course) about the firm you are interviewing with, and express any interest you have in the lawyers and their practice areas. Ask questions during the interviews that show you are actively listening. Also, take advantage of the time with your articling student guide – it is invaluable in many ways.

Chad Podolsky (Toronto)

   

Even though the process can be tiring, make an effort to ask a lot of questions and really find a place where you fit with the people. Your future self will thank you.

Andrew Chan (Toronto)

Spend your time discovering which firms you want to work for, rather than casting a wide net.  It’s a near perfect experience to be in an interview with authentic enthusiasm for a firm and a practice area. It’s tiring and slightly depressing to be in an interview with a firm to which you are ambivalent.

And remember - OCIs are one of the few times in life you can unabashedly tell the world how awesome you really are. Enjoy the opportunity!

Arend Hoekstra (UBC)

Try and put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes – they’ve been at this all day as well, and have likely made even more small talk than you. Make a positive impression by bringing tons of energy and enthusiasm to your interviews.

Also, I wrote down key conversation points on the backs of business cards as soon as possible, which was key for sending late night thank-you emails. Lastly, Listerine strips were a lifesaver – no bad breath and a bonus sugar rush!

Alexandra Murphy (Queen’s)

An important component of the in-firm interview process is the dinner. While candidates should be conscious of projecting an interesting and professional image through discussions with the lawyers, it is equally important to be engaged, collegial and appropriate in conversations with other students. Positive behaviour, such as introducing a lawyer to a classmate of yours that they may not have met or engaging a seemingly uncomfortable student in conversation, will get you noticed as a team player and a leader.

David Kelman (Osgoode)


Make use of your breaks! Get away from all your friends and classmates to refocus and ensure that you’re ready to present the best version of yourself.

Also, be sure to listen closely to the guidance provided by your firm buddy. Stay calm and be yourself!
 

Kwaku Tabi (Osgoode)