Your OCI screening interview is done. What's next?
What to Expect
Callback interviews tend to be longer and you may meet with multiple attorneys in a series of back-to- back 20-30 minute-interviews, usually in the employer’s office. In addition to letting the employer learn more about your skills, experiences and level of interest, callback interviews provide an opportunity to assess how well your personality and demeanor “fit” with the others in the office and with the organizational culture and values. Sometimes these interviews include lunch, coffee, or some other type of social interaction.
Employers tend to make their invitations for call-back interviews quickly, usually within two weeks after the screening interview. Many employers will make invitations sooner, some later. Wait two weeks before panicking and remember that government/district attorneys’ offices frequently take longer than two weeks to contact candidates. The NALP Guidelines instruct students to respond to callback interview invitations “promptly”, meaning no more than one business day, and preferably before the end of the same business day, if possible.
Law firm employers will typically reimburse candidates for reasonable costs of travel. For callback interview outside of the DC area, law firm employers will generally reimburse or pre-arrange your air, taxi, or train fares. Because callback interviews often include a lunch, the law firm will also pay for the lunch as well. If your interview reasonably requires an overnight stay, firms may also pay for hotel. If you have several callback interviews in the same city, firms may arrange to share your expenses. This is normal. It’s okay to disclose that you have other interviews with employers. When in doubt, call our office. We’re here to answer your questions on what is “reasonable” and how to have these conversations.
Waiting for the Call-Back...
Law firms make call-back decisions on varying timelines. If you didn’t receive a rejection letter, be patient. Employers interview many candidates, and it takes time to schedule interviews and contact candidates. You may use the NALP Directory of Legal Employers to get a sense of which employers are NALP members. Employers who are NALP members should comply with the General Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions. Not all employers are NALP members and most government agencies do not follow the NALP guidelines. If an employer doesn’t comply with the NALP Guidelines, contact the Career Center for further guidance.
NALP has published a series of videos to help students prepare for the upcoming recruiting season. Hear from law firm recruiting managers about topics such as offer timing, how to handle multiple offers, offer acceptance, and strategies on releasing offers.
Receiving an Offer
Most employers will make an oral offer by phone, then follow-up with an offer letter, by email or regular mail. The offer letter will include details of the offer, such as pay and timing. It may mention that the offer is for “at-will” employment, which can be terminated by either party. This is normal. Acknowledge your receipt of the offer with a return call or a reply email on the same business day or no more than 24 hours after receipt of the offer.
If the employer requests reaffirmation in the offer letter, you must indicate your interest in the the employer within 14 days of the letter, following their instructions for reaffirmation. The reaffirmation period gives you time to consider the offer carefully, and to release the offer if appropriate. Firms expect you to carefully consider their offer in the reaffirmation period, so immediately reaffirming within 24 hours is generally not the advised protocol. Instead, take time to consider the offer for at least a few days, a week, or even the full reaffirmation period before making the decision to reaffirm or release the offer. If you are interested in the firm, but need more than the reaffirmation period to decide whether to accept, you must reaffirm within the time period and in the manner requested in the letter or the employer may retract the offer.
Multiple offers? The NALP guidelines provide that students may hold up to 5 offers open at any time. You must release offers in excess of 5, but there are limited exceptions for offers in different geographic markets. Contact our office for guidance on evaluating offers and releasing them.
Accepting an Offer
Firms with more than 40 attorneys should allow you 28 days or until December 30 to accept an offer, whichever comes first. Offers made after December 15 should remain open for at least two weeks. Day 1 of the 28-day period begins on the day after the date on the offer letter and you must respond by close of business on Day 28. Any offers made before the start of OCI, should expire at least 28 days after the first day of OCI, which is August 27, 2018. For firms with less than 40 attorneys, contact the Career Center or consult the full guidelines.
Releasing an Offer
Students should release an offer as soon as they are confident they no longer have an interest in the employer and no later than the applicable deadline. It is not professional to simply let the offer expire. Professional conduct demands that students affirmatively contact the employer to release the offer and should decline any offers that are not seriously being considered as soon as possible.
Requesting an Extension
Students may request extensions beyond the 28 day offer period, but employers are not obligated to agree to an extension. Students actively pursuing public sector employment, or awaiting decisions affecting a spouse or family member may request further extensions. Contact the Career Center for more guidance before requesting any extensions.