We are making an important change to our fall semester on-campus interview program (OCIP). We wanted to let you know now so you can plan your summer and fall accordingly. For the fall 2011 semester, nearly all of our on-campus interviews will take place over the course of a single week (August 8-12) prior to the start of classes. If you plan to participate in on-campus recruiting, your work obligations will need to end prior to August 8 and you will need to be physically present in Berkeley during that week.
We made this change partly as a result of recent developments in the legal hiring market, but also in response to student feedback. We also consulted with the Dean, several faculty members, employers, student leaders and committee representatives, as well as senior administrators.
Legal Market Developments
Adopting an early interview week (EIW) schedule will better align the timing of our on-campus interviews with those of students from other schools with whom our students compete for positions. Some schools have recently announced their intention to move their on-campus interviews earlier in the fall of 2011. Moreover, during the last recruiting season, employers appeared to have scheduled callback interviews earlier than in years past. Scheduling an early interview week here at Boalt responds to these trends in a way that we believe will maximize our students’ employment options.
In our recent OCIP Survey (and during less formal meetings and email exchanges), many students expressed increased difficulty in simultaneously balancing the demands of coursework and interviewing during OCIP 2010. They felt — and we agree — that students who participate in OCIP will be better prepared for classes and have a more meaningful educational experience if OCIP takes place prior to the start of the fall semester. OCIP participants can also research employers more thoroughly and better prepare for interviews without the worry of fall semester class obligations.
Private Sector Employers
We expect that the vast majority of EIW participants will be private sector employers. They have always constituted the vast bulk of OCIP participants (because, among other things, they hire larger numbers of students and are able to project their hiring needs further in advance than employers in other sectors).
Public Interest, Government and Small Firm Employers
However, in addition to EIW, we will also be offering employers an option to interview on-campus later in the fall semester (late September/early October). We are hopeful that creating a later fall option will make it more appealing for public interest, public sector and smaller firms to participate in on-campus recruiting. While we have always sought to increase the number of public interest/public sector and small firms participating in OCIP, it has been consistently difficult to entice them. (Annually, we invite several thousand of them to participate free of charge, but only a couple of dozen typically accept). They are reluctant in part because on-campus recruiting is not a good tool for their limited hiring needs, but also because the typical August timing is too early for them. We believe that a separate program that takes place later in the fall will be an effective vehicle for building more robust participation among public interest and government employers as well as smaller firms.
Increased participation will help our committed public interest/public sector students, but we know that they will continue to face the prospect of a longer and more customized job search than many of their private sector classmates. That is why our two full-time public interest career counselors and our full-time public sector counselor stand committed to working one-on-one with students to develop an individualized strategy, only a small part of which is likely to include on-campus recruiting.
For some general background about fall on-campus recruiting, visit last year’s Fall OCIP webpage.