To Whom it May Concern (probably everone):
To quote Woody Allen, OCI is “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.”
Ok, maybe there aren’t any travesties, but the whole process is fairly unambiguously ready for reform. Here are a list of problems.
1. It’s late (and as a result, there are very few spots left for HLS students). Other schools interview in late August or early September. I’ve heard from many interviewers that HLS grads on the hiring committees often have to remind their colleagues not to fill up the last spot, because they’ll still be doing some interviews at Hahvahd. In fact, one partner from a branch office of a prominent firm told me he’d already given all the call-back offers he was allowed and only had a little leeway for a “star” at HLS.
2. It’s tedious. Three weeks is too long to spend wearing a suit and walking to the Charles a few times a day.
3. It’s silly. In my estimation, on campus interviews serve one main function for firms: to get your transcript. OK, so Harvard has a policy against pre-screening for grades, etc. But why? If BIGFIRM is going to reject me for some numerical average, then so be it. I don’t want to work for them anyway. The corollary functions of OCI (personality, enthusiasm, interest) don’t matter if the firm is screening out those transcripts that don’t match their standards.
4. It’s depressing. So, most of the people who got in here probably heard very little rejection from other law schools. And yet, somehow once we’re students here, we’re magically subjected to constant blows to our ego. I got seven rejection letters this week. That’s fine. I wasn’t particularly excited about most of those firms. But, I was personable, verbose, interested, enthusiastic, and best of all well-dressed. And yet, the only thing that mattered in those hiring committee members’ minds was the number of As on my transcript.
I realize I don’t need 20 job offers. It would make deciding between offers about as ridiculous for me as deciding between 550 very qualified students is for law firms. But, there has to be a better way than the current OCI.
How about a voluntary submission of grades along with the resumes and a mass-mailing by market. Here’s how I envision it:
1. Students could voluntarily submit their resume, transcript, and a cover letter for each market/practice area they’re interested in.
2. OCS collects the information about market and practice preferences, and sends a packet of resumes (and if the student so chooses, transcripts and cover letters) to every firm in the market that requests it.
3. OCS instructs the firms to contact the candidates they’re interested in having for call-back interviews.
There. I just saved next year’s class 3 weeks of missing reading assignments, dry-cleaning bills, frazzled nerves, depression-causing rejection, and walking in the rain. I’m a betting man, and I bet the results will be almost exactly the same as this year. (Maybe better, if we could get these packets out in August).