Review: Swag Acquired During 2L OCI

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Your correspondent was recruited by the Record staff (who are all either idealistic 2Ls not doing OCI or 3Ls) to discuss 2L interviewing and the acquisition from various firms of an eclectic collection of Starbucks gift cards, card decks, pens, highlighters, pen-highlighter combinations, a pen with a built-in sticky note dispenser, and, of course, pink putty (thanks Linklaters). Unfortunately, some of the items are overlapping in functionality, and a few have even failed to live up to expectations. It is hoped that this review will offer some praise and constructive criticism so that future interview loot will make OCI more fruitful to both firms and students.

USB Flash Drives – Orrick (now Dewey Orrick) gave a 256 MB flash drive to interviewing students, however it is inadequate in several respects. The keychain attachment portion is not very rugged and detaches after extended use. The cap is also difficult to take off and is easily lost (see also the LeBoeuf Lamb flash drive and the Harvard Law School flash drive). The Latham & Watkins flash drive, on the other hand, has a rotating “cap” that does not separate from the main body, and its keychain ring is securely part of the same metal framework as the cap (see picture attached). The Latham & Watkins drive is commended for its good workmanship and high memory capacity (512 MB). Just like no respectable firm should pay less than $145,000 base to their beginning associates, no respectable firm in 2006 should give out flash drives with capacities below 512 MB to Harvard students.

Speakers – Paul Hastings mailed to its callbacks a set of very nice iPod-esque speakers, which were also given by Goodwin Procter and some other firms. Your correspondent is at a total loss on how to actually use the speakers. The speakers can be charged via USB so it can be plugged in to a laptop, but the audio cord is too short to let the speakers be placed anywhere useful except up real close to the laptop keyboard. It is also a bit of a mystery on how to use the speakers easily with an iPod. But the speakers do blow away the puny laptop speakers like the Puerto Rico basketball team playing the United States basketball team.

Chocolate – Morrison & Foerster’s milk chocolate “business cards” are more memorable in design than those “Patent Bar” chocolates of last year from a firm whose name escapes your correspondent at the moment. The Mofo chocolates are thankfully certified kosher as indicated by the OU-D from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. Just to be on the safe side, Mofo maybe should try to get hechsher from a few more mashgiach, like from the Star-K Kosher Certification, the Kof-K Kosher Supervision, the Organized Kashrus Laboratories, or the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of British Columbia.

8-Ball – The Fried Frank 8-ball is depressingly untampered. Will I get an offer? Don’t Count on It. How are my grades this semester? Outlook Not So Good. Will Addison Montgomery and Derek Shepherd get back together? You May Rely on It.

Fluid containers – The students already receive plenty of water bottles (LexisNexis), thermos (LexisNexis), and Nalgene bottles (Harvard Black Law Student Association 23rd Annual Spring Conference), but there is always a shortage of beer glasses and shot glasses among the student population. Quinn Emmanuel should start working on this serious deficiency.

Calculator – There is actually nothing wrong with this Pillsbury Winthrop calculator. Your correspondent saw this item in a box on a table at the Charles Hotel hospitality suite and naturally took it, but later realized that there were no other calculators on the table. If the firm feels that petty theft has been committed, please let the Record office know.

Enterprising law firms, in lieu of providing office supplies and mints at OCI, should try to distinguish themselves and build goodwill by bringing the following things to their OCI interviews:

1. CD-Rs and DVD-Rs with the firm’s logo on them, so that they can be used for homework backup purposes.

2. Penguins – Stroock & Stroock LLP should bring back the penguin plush toys.

3. Watches with time marked off in 6-minute increments – The paradigm shift of 6-minute billable hour segments should be instilled early in young associates. Thebillablehour.com sells these very useful watches at discount bulk rates.

4. iPods, for something to do with the iPod covers from Patterson Belknap.

5. Thoughtful interview questions to show some interest in the applicant’s resume, instead of starting right away with “So do you have any questions for me or about the firm?”

6. Simple charts that show how many associates leave the firm every year, how many partners are in reality “non-equity partners” (aka glorified 8th to 15th-year senior associates), and how many equity partners actually came from within the firm’s own ranks.

Overall, the firms have done a good job on providing swag to its interviewees. Some simple considerations regarding quality and variety would go a long way in making each firm stand out. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next issue’s review on which firms provide the highest concentration of foie gras and caviar at the callback lunches.

This Correspondent has chosen to remain anonymous, all the better to receive more free swag at a future date.

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