The announcement by the Office of Career Services that HLS will be implementing an Early Interview Program should come as both a relief and a burden for rising 2Ls. As any current 2L could tell you, having OCI at the end of September was a major disadvantage this year. Just as interviews were heating up, so was the financial crisis, and many highly qualified HLS students were forced to reevaluate their job hunt strategy on the fly. In some cases, there were few or no call back interviews, and an offer in hand became a goal rather than a given. An early OCI season will put HLS back in the milieu of top schools and prevent a disruption during the interview season from disproportionately affecting our students simply because of timing.
Nonetheless, it is unfortunate that, just like the presidential primaries, all incentives are aligned to push on campus interviewing earlier and earlier. Will there ultimately be a “Michigan” that cannot help but schedule their OCI for second summer jobs before 1L summer? The early interviewing of 1Ls simply enhances the truth to the statement that law schools have become mere professional training programs.
Now that OCS has officially moved up the interviewing schedule, the gloves should come off in its advice to 1L’s. Career services advisors should make sure every 1L knows that in order to secure a position at a top law firm they should seriously consider their career plans from the beginning of their first semester. Once law firms begin their recruiting efforts on December 1st, many students will be getting their first and only chance to meet practicing attorneys and learn about the differences between firms. 1Ls should not be allowed to recklessly delay the consideration of their career options when they are facing such a tight schedule of preparation for what could be the most important interview of their life.