The Office of Career and Professional Development at Mitchell Hamline School of Law is closely monitoring applicable guidance and law that may impact summer and fall recruiting activities. We are participating in ongoing discussions with employers and are working to facilitate a recruiting process that is as safe, equitable, and effective as possible given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. More information will be forthcoming throughout April and May 2020.
Fall 2020 OCI Important Dates
- June 15 at 9 am: Application period (“bidding”) opens for students on Symplicity.
- June 29: Deadline to submit resumes and other application materials to Career Counselors for review to ensure timely feedback before bidding deadline.
- June 29 – July 13 (Tentative): Meet the Employers Events* – stay tuned for more information!
- July 15 at 11:59 pm: Deadline to apply (“bid”) for interviews through OCI.
- July 20 and 21: Mock interviews*
- July 21 at noon: Students begin checking Symplicity to see if you have been invited to interview during OCI and reserve your interview timeslot(s).
- July 27: On-Campus Interviews* begin and continue throughout August.
*TBD Virtual or In-Person, as necessitated by circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and applicable laws, rules, and guidance.
In general, most employers participating in On-Campus Interviews (OCI) in Fall 2020 are seeking students who will graduate in 2022 (typically for law clerk or summer associate positions for Summer 2021). Some employers participating in OCI will be seeking candidates who will graduate in 2021 (typically for post-grad attorney positions). Students are encouraged to read each individual employer’s eligibility criteria carefully, and consult your career counselor regarding any questions about your eligibility to participate or apply.
Students who wish to participate in OCI should work with their career counselors to prepare for OCI in June and July, with applications (“bids”) due on July 15. Interviews will begin on July 27 and will continue through August or even later into the fall. Students should plan their summer travel accordingly.
Many employers are eager to engage with Mitchell Hamline students through the OCI process. In light of COVID-19 and the surrounding circumstances and limitations, some employers may be hiring on timelines that differ from their traditional recruiting schedules. Even prior to COVID-19, the Office of Career and Professional Development has been committed to accommodating employers that wish to connect with Mitchell Hamline students through an OCI process at any time during the school-year, so long as it does not conflict with critical academic periods, such as the exams period. We anticipate that while many employers will be eager to connect with you through OCI this summer, many others will engage in the OCI process later in the school-year. We will communicate additional OCI opportunities broadly as they become available, including through the Docket.
How OCI Works
The first step for students wishing to participate in OCI is to update your profile on Symplicity so that it reflects your accurate class year as of August 2020. This will ensure that you can view the positions for which you are eligible depending on your class year. For example, if you are currently a 1L and wish to apply for jobs for your summer after 2L year through OCI (i.e., summer 2021), then you will need to change your class year on Symplicity to 2L( 3LPT) in order to view the opportunities available to 2Ls for summer 2021 through OCI.
Once you have updated your class year, you should be able to view the opportunities available through OCI for your class year in Symplicity. You can then review the employers’ postings, research those employers that interest you, and draft and upload your resumes and other materials requested by employers. When you are ready, you can “bid” (i.e., apply) to those employers with whom you want to interview by submitting the materials as requested. The deadline for bidding for interviews through OCI is Wednesday, July 15 at 11:59pm.
Next, the employers review the materials from students who have bid for them and select the students they wish to interview. Students can check Symplicity beginning on Tuesday, July 21 at 12pm to see if they have been invited by an employer to interview during OCI (also called “pre-selected”). If they have been invited to interview (i.e., “pre-selected”), the student can select an interview time via Symplicity. The interviews are typically 20-30 minutes long and would traditionally take place at Mitchell Hamline, though alternate arrangements may be made as necessitated by the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
After students interview with employers at Mitchell Hamline, employers will communicate with students directly about next steps, which may include notifying students selected for a much longer “call back” interview. The “call back” interviews traditionally take place at the employer’s office, typically last two to four hours, and often involve a series of interviews and a meal. Employers vary as to the format of these “call back” interviews, and not all employers participating in OCI will utilize this second round of “call back” interviews before making their selections. Of course, in 2020, arrangements for “call back” interviews may involve additional meetings via remote means, as determined by each employer. After employers have concluded their individual interview processes, they will determine which students will receive offers of employment and contact students directly.
Deciding whether or not to participate? Consider this …
OCI is the only way that certain employers hire. In particular, most large firms will use OCI to recruit and hire 2022 graduates for their formal summer associate programs, from which they usually look to hire their new associates. These firms often set required or preferred grades, class ranks, and other expectations.
Other employers who participate in OCI include smaller or mid-sized firms, public employers (such as County Attorney’s offices), corporations, and more. These employers often do not emphasize grades and other quantitative measures as much as the large firms. Some of these employers are looking to hire 2021 graduates as new associates, while others are looking for 2022 graduates for summer associate programs or law clerk or externship opportunities during the school-year and/or summer. Students are encouraged to read employers’ job descriptions carefully to determine their eligibility and understand the opportunity available.
Historically, about 10 percent of Mitchell Hamline students find employment through fall OCI. Most employers do not use fall OCI to hire, because their hiring patterns do not fit within a fall-only hiring season.
Check the OCI Section in Symplicity often for the list of employers registered for OCI. The list will be updated on Symplicity as additional employers register…so check it frequently! Students are encouraged to research those employers participating and consult their career counselors if they have any questions. You can also view a sample of employers registered for OCI, including employers seeking candidates for offices in Greater Minnesota and in other states.
How to participate in OCI
Step 1: Be prepared and informed!
Watch or Attend CPD Events to Prepare for OCI:
- View the Nuts and Bolts Video Series: On-Campus Interview Process to learn more about the OCI process, including an explanation of the program, discussion of types of employers that participate in OCI, overview of dates, deadlines and important upcoming events, and tips to help you prepare.
- Hear answers to your peers’ FAQs from our Live Q&A Sessions via Zoom:
- Join our next upcoming Live Q&A session on July 8, 12-1pm- bring your questions! Join here: https://mitchellhamline.zoom.us/j/98387980941
- For more information about participating employers and how to prepare, you can view the spring 2018 employer panel. Keep in mind that participating employers change from year to year, and this year, we anticipate many larger employers will be participating in OCI in early 2021, instead of this summer.
- View a recording of the Summer 2019 Student Panel, OCI Strategies for Success, in which student panelists who successfully navigated the OCI process share tips and insights from their experiences. Learn how the OCI process works, from researching employers, drafting application materials, selecting which employers to “bid” for, preparing for interviews, sending thank you notes, and everything in between, as well as strategies for success.
Check Your Email & The Docket
- Throughout the summer, you will receive emails and reminders of important dates.
- Keep an eye on the Docket for reminders throughout the summer and fall. Get Docket posts directly to your email.
Update your profile in Symplicity
To participate in OCI, you must update your class year to 2L or 3L in Symplicity, so that it reflects your class year as of August 2020. To update your class year:
- Log in to Symplicity.
- Click “My Account” (in the red block on the left side of the page).
- Click on “Academic” and change the class year.
You will not be able to see the employers interviewing your class year until this is updated. Symplicity performs best using Firefox or Chrome. Internet Explorer is not an ideal browser for Symplicity.
Also, you must have an approved resume in Symplicity prior to the bidding deadline. Please submit your resume early and plan accordingly.
If you need help with Symplicity or have questions about OCI, please contact Career & Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-290-6326.
Remember to check Symplicity and this website often throughout the OCI process.
Make it a habit to login to Symplicity frequently. Check Symplicity for employers that may be added to OCI before bididng opens, throughout the bidding period, and beyond. Be on the lookout for invitations to interview or messages from employers. Also, check this website and the Docket for important announcements.
Step 2: Refine
Refine the written materials commonly requested by employers: resume, cover letter, writing sample, reference list.
If you have not uploaded a resume in Symplicity yet, upload it by June 27, 2020, to guarantee review by a Career Counselor. If you have uploaded your resume previously and want another review of your resume or any of your other application materials reviewed, please contact your Career Counselor directly or email Career & Professional Development at email@example.com. We strongly recommend you meet with your counselor prior to submitting your application documents!
REMINDER: To participate in OCI, you must have a resume uploaded and approved in Symplicity prior to the bidding deadline. Plan ahead.
Step 3: Research
Use Symplicity to view the OCI employers looking for students in your class year and to see their hiring criteria and requirements. If your class year (1L/2L/3L) is incorrect on your Symplicity profile, you will not be able to view the correct employers or make bids. Please be sure your student profile is updated (see Step 1 for instructions).
Search firm websites, the NALP Directory of Legal Employers, and Martindale for general information about firms, including their firm size, office locations/sizes, practice areas of interest, demographics of attorneys, and more. Review local newspaper sites for information about firms in the news. Check LinkedIn to see who in your network may work at firms of interest to you, or who could introduce you to learn more (we do not recommend connecting with attorneys via LinkedIn unless you actually know them).
Topics to consider researching: number of attorneys employed, clients, practice groups, diversity, attorney bios (who do they attract?), male/female ratio, work-life balance, impression the website gives, billable hours, and professional development for attorneys.
The OCI Section in Symplicity will continually be updated as new employers register—you are responsible for checking this regularly.
Step 4: Apply
The bidding deadline for Fall OCI 2020 is July 15, 2020 at 11:59pm. All applications for OCI must be submitted by this time.
Apply via Symplicity to the firms of interest to you. You can bid for a maximum of twenty employers. Keep in mind that if you are invited to twenty on-campus interviews (very unlikely!), you will be expected to participate in all of them.
To “bid” in this context simply means to apply via Symplicity. First, upload in Symplicity your resume and other materials requested by the employers. Then select the employers you are bidding for and submit your documents as instructed via Symplicity. By submitting a bid, you agree to abide by the Student Participation Agreement.
You can change your bids and upload different resumes and materials until July 15, 2020, at 11:59pm. After this deadline, Symplicity will prevent further changes or bids.
Step 5: Attend “Meet the Employers” Events June 29 – July 13 (Tentative)
Through a series of events, we hope students have the opportunity to:
- Learn more about the OCI employers by talking with their attorneys. Prepare in advance by researching employers and formulating thoughtful questions.
- Show your enthusiasm and interest in specific employers.
- Make a lasting and positive impression. Employers often take notes on candidates they meet that impress them.
Stay tuned for more information!
Step 6: Prepare for interviews
Beginning on Tuesday, July 21 (12pm), keep an eye on Symplicity to see if you have been invited to interview.
In the meantime, and throughout the interview period, make use of the resources available to you:
- Meet with your Career Counselor to help you prepare. Schedule time to discuss your resume or cover letter, chat about the OCI process or interview strategy, or do a mock interview. Contact your Career Counselor directly or email Career & Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that the weeks leading up to OCI are a busy season for the Office of Career & Professional Development. Plan accordingly.
- Mock Interviews with attorneys will be available July 20-21. Stay tuned for more information!
- Consult Career & Professional Development resources for students, including tip sheets on resumes, cover letters, and interviewing.
- Check in with Career & Professional Development prior to your interview.
- Show up for your interviews prepared. Do your research, and always arrive early!
- Following your interview, send thank you notes to the interviewers.
- Consult your Career Counselor with any questions or concerns. You can also reach the Office of Career & Professional Development at email@example.com or 651-290-6326.
Step 7: Stay informed
Throughout OCI, continue to check Symplicity often to see if you have been offered an interview by an employer. Also, be sure to carefully monitor your email and voicemail in case an employer contacts you to offer a call-back interview or a job offer! Respond timely, but feel free to consult the Office of Career & Professional Development before responding if guidance would be helpful.
If you receive or accept an offer for employment, please report it to the Career & Professional Development Office or directly to your Career Counselor. If you do not receive any offers through the OCI process, do not be discouraged! There are many other opportunities available. Your Counselor is available to provide advice and guidance.