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Where to go from failing to get any OCIs.


goodisgood
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goodisgood
  • Law Student

I worked pretty hard last year. From an undergrad GPA of less than 3.00 (from a decade ago) to getting a B+ average in law school, I thought I'd at least have the opportunity to score a few OCIs. I was part of multiple exec teams in 1L (and did useful work for any exec team I was part of), participated in 1L Mooting and achieved moderate success, successfully obtained a student position with my law school in law & tech, have years of work experience helping my company bring in business (and developed a successful plan to enter a whole new sector), and obssessively went to my Career Centre to work on my resume and cover letter. 

I tried to network as best I could during COVID, attending firm events, speaking with associates, having Zoom coffee chats, and attended workshops with the big firms to further improve my resume and interviewing skills. 

Part of me knows that I have to suck it up and move on but this disappointment and feeling that I tried my hardest, listened to everyone's advice, and still ended up being a big failure is eating me up on the inside. I feel like I've disappointed my family, my partner, and my mentors that have always tried to help me. 

But in the interests of not giving up, where do I go from here? I've read OCIs aren't the be all end all but they certainly feel like it right now. I'm going to have to find a way to get my grades up higher. Advice about that or anything else would be great.  

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Lilbb19
  • Articling Student

Dont worry too much. I diddnt network once in law school, diddnt go to any social event, diddnt enter the career office once,  no clubs, no clinics, and still got some decent articling interviews  when the time came. 

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LMP
  • Law Student
2 hours ago, goodisgood said:

I worked pretty hard last year. From an undergrad GPA of less than 3.00 (from a decade ago) to getting a B+ average in law school, I thought I'd at least have the opportunity to score a few OCIs. I was part of multiple exec teams in 1L (and did useful work for any exec team I was part of), participated in 1L Mooting and achieved moderate success, successfully obtained a student position with my law school in law & tech, have years of work experience helping my company bring in business (and developed a successful plan to enter a whole new sector), and obssessively went to my Career Centre to work on my resume and cover letter. 

I tried to network as best I could during COVID, attending firm events, speaking with associates, having Zoom coffee chats, and attended workshops with the big firms to further improve my resume and interviewing skills. 

Part of me knows that I have to suck it up and move on but this disappointment and feeling that I tried my hardest, listened to everyone's advice, and still ended up being a big failure is eating me up on the inside. I feel like I've disappointed my family, my partner, and my mentors that have always tried to help me. 

But in the interests of not giving up, where do I go from here? I've read OCIs aren't the be all end all but they certainly feel like it right now. I'm going to have to find a way to get my grades up higher. Advice about that or anything else would be great.  

If your goal is mid sized Toronto firms then there are many that don't even start recruiting until November. Admittedly, they are mostly insurance shops but they're still bay street firms with fairly diverse practice areas and good pay. 

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MagnaCarter
  • Lawyer

In 5 years when you are practicing, you won't even remember you did not get an interview during the OCI process.

Try not to fall into the law school trap that the OCIs are the object of law school. In reality, it is just a large Toronto-centric recruit tailored towards working at some, but not all, of the law firms located in a certain proximity of the downtown core. It's not even the only recruit or means of finding a 2L summer job in Toronto. A bunch of firms start looking for summer associates in November, and then there is a pretty big articling recruit during the summer. A lot of really, really great firms participate in the articling recruit. Many are boutiques or civil litigation focused, but many are mid-sized full service firms. Most of my friends ended up at very good law firms that are leaders in their areas through the articling recruit; many other friends no longer work at the firm that hired them during the OCIs.

So brush yourself off. You sound like a really good candidate with a lot of practical experience that some firm that practices in the area you will find to enjoy will absolutely eat up. There are other recruits coming. Keep your application/resume current. Continue to take classes and participate in those extra-curriculars you enjoy. Absolutely do not think of yourself as a failure. Wait another 20 years before reaching that type of conclusion...

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QMT20
  • Lawyer
4 hours ago, goodisgood said:

I worked pretty hard last year. From an undergrad GPA of less than 3.00 (from a decade ago) to getting a B+ average in law school, I thought I'd at least have the opportunity to score a few OCIs. I was part of multiple exec teams in 1L (and did useful work for any exec team I was part of), participated in 1L Mooting and achieved moderate success, successfully obtained a student position with my law school in law & tech, have years of work experience helping my company bring in business (and developed a successful plan to enter a whole new sector), and obssessively went to my Career Centre to work on my resume and cover letter. 

I tried to network as best I could during COVID, attending firm events, speaking with associates, having Zoom coffee chats, and attended workshops with the big firms to further improve my resume and interviewing skills. 

Part of me knows that I have to suck it up and move on but this disappointment and feeling that I tried my hardest, listened to everyone's advice, and still ended up being a big failure is eating me up on the inside. I feel like I've disappointed my family, my partner, and my mentors that have always tried to help me. 

But in the interests of not giving up, where do I go from here? I've read OCIs aren't the be all end all but they certainly feel like it right now. I'm going to have to find a way to get my grades up higher. Advice about that or anything else would be great.  

I think you accomplished a lot in 1L and I'm sorry to hear it didn't translate into the interviews you wanted. 

As some users have mentioned, a couple of firms (Weirfoulds, Blaney McMurtry, Loopstra Nixon) traditionally start recruiting after the end of OCIs. You can take this time to speak with your career office about which firms are recruiting later and how you can start doing research to prepare for them. 

Additionally, you might consider applying to the Ottawa recruit. Those applications are due around December with interviews starting in January, I believe. Since you're at uOttawa, you might find that the grades requirements to land in Ottawa are less stringent than Toronto from your school. If your long term goal is to land in the GTA, you can always lateral a few years down the road. 

If you're at all interested in litigation, you might also consider applying for clerkships in January. There are firms in Toronto that directly recruit clerks like McCarthy's and Lenczner so it could give you another kick at the can in a few years. A B+ average from Ottawa will make you competitive for the Federal Court and Superior Court of Ontario. A close friend of mine was bummed about not landing in the formal recruit a few years back. She had grades similar to yours and ended up clerking at the Federal Court then landed at a boutique on Bay. 

OCIs aren't the be all end all because there are paths other from big law that you can take. However, even if the opportunities you really want are the ones that were available in OCIs, there's other ways to get them later on. The path will just be a bit less straightforward. 

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goodisgood
  • Law Student

Hello everyone, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of your feedback. Definitely needed to hear about the other options. I'm still bummed, but I've scheduled multiple appointments with my career centre to go over my resume & cover letter, the job hunt process post OCIs, and to just go over other potential failure points. 

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easttowest
  • Lawyer

Blaney and WeirFoulds used to do their recruits after the big one. They may still. 

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Turtles
  • Law Student
7 minutes ago, easttowest said:

Blaney and WeirFoulds used to do their recruits after the big one. They may still. 

WeirFoulds have been doing the 2L recruit for a few years now

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QueensDenning
  • Law Student

Robins Appleby, Blaney, Minden Gross, Devry Smith Frank all did recruiting after OCI's. Lots of people get jobs during 3L recruit as well. 

 

It feels like your career is over when you strike out on OCI's, but it's not. Everything works out in the end if you put the effort in and keep building your resume over the next few months. Do your best to get any 2L position, and do the articling recruit if you want to move after. 

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TommyBratton
  • Law Student

Bit of encouragement I want to share. Last year I had 12 OCIs but converted zero to in-firms. And honestly, I felt like I interviewed fairly well and during feedback, I didn't get any tangible insights into what mistakes I made. Not going to lie, I was gutted for a few months and thought my career was over. But I ended up falling into a government position I really clicked with and am going back there to article. I'm happy with how things turned out now but I can definitely empathize how hard it is in the moment. Feel free to message me if you want to chat. 

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Kimura
  • Articling Student

You're not a big failure, at all.

If I recall correctly, about 30% of Oz's students land jobs through the OCI recruit.

The career center and student clubs spend so much time and effort into OCI prep, networking, resume work shops, etc., but they leave out the most significant part, that being the odds of landing a job through the recruit are actually quite low. I only realized this after an associate put together a presentation on OCIs, which included this statistic. Lo and behold, students are shocked to find out the number of students who get jobs through OCIs are in the minority. 

Anyways, let yourself feel the way you need to feel to get over it, and then move on. Everyone I know who didn't land a job through OCIs ended up with pretty good articling positions. Everyone ended up with a job. 

 

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  • 1 month later...
goodisgood
  • Law Student
On 9/30/2022 at 5:27 PM, luckycharm said:

Sometimes misfortune is a blessing in disguise.

In case anyone finds this topic when they're feeling like crap for recruits in subsequent years, luckycharm and everyone else in this thread was right: it wasn't the end. I'm reading what I wrote in September and realizing while my feelings were real, what was important was to keep trucking on and trying to address any shortcomings I had in my application package. It ended up producing positive results beyond my expectations. 

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