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To help students deal with and understand on-campus interviewing (OCI) anxiety, this article will attempt to answer that age-old question: What should you do when your OCI interviewer asks you, “Have you ever listened to K. Billy’s Super Sounds of the ’70s?” OCI is a very exciting time in a Cardozo student’s life, until the point when it isn’t. If you are on law review, that point never comes under normal circumstances, and perhaps it never even comes under abnormal circumstances, say for example showing up in shorts and Iron Maiden tee-shirt, making sarcastic remarks, or disclosing your long-standing (fictitious or not) relationship with the interviewer’s significant other. Some of you proud law review geniuses should really find out how far back the envelope bends. For the rest of us, the slide down the class rank scale is the slide down the OCI ladder of success. No longer do Admissions’ representations of White & Case and Cravath, Swaine & Moore coming on campus have any significance. You will not be the beneficiary of those superficial US News-related promises. Sorry. However, now is a moment of clarity, an opportunity for epiphany, as James Earl Jones would put it. This is when you realize that in the wake of your dwindled OCI dreams lies your true professional calling, something you perhaps knew before the foggy haze of OCI and simply forgot. In our first year of OCI last fall, the OCI process was like a contagious fever, a flu or the bubonic plague, if you will. Once one person began to discuss his OCI aspirations, others caught the bug. Suddenly everyone was talking and stressing about their future at an OCI firm, especially people who did not go to law school for that purpose in the first place. Ah, this takes us back to “Wall Street.” Greed, ladies and gentlemen, is good. Greed is what drives law students into those illustrious pits of despair, called the big firms. Well, folks, here’s a bit of news, if you think you’ll be making incredible money as an attorney, you are for the most part gravely misinformed. If you really want to be greedy and make money, then go into business. Like one OCI interviewer and managing partner told us at a call-back last year, “If you’re thinking about making money here (a prominent Connecticut firm), then you’re in the wrong business. You should have gone into business rather than law.” Meanwhile, his 18K gold cuffs sparkled brilliantly in the light beating through his corner-office windows. We occasionally find ourselves surrounded by people who forget what a large firm lifestyle has in store. They forget that they went into law school to do public interest work or run their own business, not lose themselves in monotonous daily research projects at Kaye, Scholer’s high-powered litigation department. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with participating in OCI, but participants should consider the time, resources and efforts that must go into the process. You have to take it seriously. You have to prepare your resume, your wardrobe, your best phony smile and handshake (even if the interviewer’s hand is on the sweaty side), and your best sack of material, if you know what we mean. You have to research the firms’ background information with short notice. However, you don’t have to consider whether the firm picked you for the interview or whether your lottery ticket was a winner. This one, of course, is a general misperception. OCI firms ask Cardozo for a specific percentile of the class that they wish to interview by rank, and then they declare the total number of students that they wish to see during their full- or half-day visits. They do not even look at your resume until you are seated uncomfortably in front of them, smiling like a moron, as they read your resume right in front of you for the first time. However, it can get much, much worse. For example, just as you walk in, the interviewer says that he’s running a little behind, and that your slot will be randomly selected to be the one used for catching up. Yet you still maintain your moronic smile, and say: “It’s okay. Can you just tell me where I should address my thank-you letter, in which I will thoroughly thank you for your five minutes of attention and my hour of waiting time, which you could have billed at $400 an hour, of which 30 dollars would go into your pocket, and the rest into your supervising partner’s?” Or how about that small New Jersey firm partner, who, in addition to demanding large New York firm respect, decides to arrive 40 minutes late from lunch with a Cardozo administrator. While your moronic smile does its best to hide your disgust, you say: “It’s okay. I’m only missing two classes now instead of one. So, who am I going to bill for this hour of my life?” Or even better. The interviewer first asks you what area you’d like to practice in. Like a dope, you bite for the concrete, and without your sack of material say something like: “Litigation.” (Because it is exactly what you want to do.) The interviewer then responds by stating that there are no openings in litigation at their firm this year — certainly something that would be difficult to find out on your own. Now this interviewer has a simple reason to reject you without even having to look at your resume. So after he tells you that the firm has openings in corporate only, you return to your moronic smile and say: “It’s okay. I wasn’t quite settled on litigation. It’s just what I prefer, but I would pretty much do anything that the firm requires me to do.” Meanwhile, in your mind you place your hands on the wall, stick out your “hind knee” and repeat after Brad Pitt in “Seven”: “This is us! This is us!” Then there’s the time slot dilemma. The worst time to interview is right before lunch or toward the end of the day. This is not disputable, even though administrators may deny it. Toward lunch or the end of the day, the interviewers are cranky, hungry, thirsty, bathroom-seeking and trying to make up the minutes by which the previous interviewees overstayed their respective welcomes. Second or third in the morning or first or second after lunch are the best spots. The interviewers are usually happy and comfortable during those time slots. Of course, for most of us, all of this is meaningless. Obviously you’re going to use your most moronic smile and your sack of material as much as you can during an OCI interview, which according to the OCI manual, you’re supposed to do, under penalty of expulsion from OCI and maybe even from the law school. OCI is also a necessary evil for Cardozo, because Admissions can make representations regarding on-campus firms, and NALP and US News rankings are important aspects of Cardozo’s overall reputation. However, now that OCI did not pan out, DON’T PANIC. You may want to take this time to consider why it was that you went to law school in the first place. Do you want to work in the law? Did you want to work steady 9-5 hours at a smaller firm or elsewhere? Did you want to work in-house at a corporation? Did you want to start your own practice or business? Did you want to work in public interest? Did you want to work for your parents? Are you undecided and hoping that the hand of fate, now the one without the OCI tattoo, leads the way? Were you simply looking for a sugar daddy or mommy to latch onto? All of these and more are the reasons why we took this venture into law school. You have now graduated out of the high-density cloud of OCI and stepped back into your comfort zone, or the lack thereof. There are many other career options to explore outside of OCI. (Of course, these options are by no means as well publicized as OCI.) Your professional degree is not so far away. You can do anything you want with it. You just need to decide for yourself what it is that you would like to do and then plan your way there. Your success is not measured in money or that big firm job. It is measured by your own satisfaction with yourself and your career. This is the sense of peace and balance future professionals earn and pay for. Now if this did not bring you to a state of nirvana in the midst of OCI, just ask yourself: “If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?”

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