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Beyond the East Coast

March 22, 2019

Beyond the East Coast

Hello class of 2022!

Congratulations, once again, on your admittance to Penn Law. It’s such a special place, and I am sure you have heard plenty about all the amazing opportunities that our school has to offer. I want to talk to you about some of the opportunities available post-graduation, particularly for those who may not want to end up on the east coast. Having been born, raised and attended undergrad in Colorado, I came to Penn curious about what the east coast had to offer, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me long-term. With my aspirations being to eventually return to the Midwest, Mountain West, or West Coast, I could not be happier with my decision to choose Penn Law. Not only has Penn provided me with an amazingly supportive environment while I spend my time here on the east coast but also a future full of opportunities wherever I decide to establish my legal career.

Attending school on the east coast, it might seem like the natural progression to end up at a big law firm in New York after graduation. However, the education you gain here at Penn Law opens a virtually unlimited number of doors in addition to big New York law firms. Beyond the opportunities in sectors outside of firm life (like public interest, government, etc.) there is also a wealth of geographical opportunities. The world is literally your oyster!

As you may already know, the August before your 2L year starts, the school hosts On Campus Interviews (OCI) where law firms and other legal employers visit the law school to interview students for internships starting the following summer. After completing what’s called the “screener” process on campus, select students are invited to the firm’s office to conduct more extensive interviewing (called “callback interviews”) before the firm makes a hiring decision. Penn hosts an impressive OCI process, which CP&P will guide you through during Spring semester of your 1L year.

In addition to the traditional OCI process, which, again, takes place on the Penn campus, Penn Law organizes Regional OCI’s. This is a great opportunity for students wanting to explore employment in specific geographical markets. During this time, students travel to different cities throughout the country for screener interviews at the employers’ offices. At Penn, Regional OCI takes place in:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Menlo Park/Palo Alto, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Miami, FL
  • Los Angeles (Downtown), CA
  • Los Angeles (Century City), CA

Personally, I participated in a different kind of interview program: the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program. This program functioned much like normal OCI but was geared toward candidates interested in Patent law and was held in Chicago, IL. Law firms and other legal employers from around the country interviewed candidates from many different law schools. While this program is only available for students interested in practicing patent law, it was a great way to meet with prospective employers focusing in my practice area of interest.

As I mentioned earlier, after the initial screener interview, the firm invites some candidates to attend a callback interview at the office location interested in hiring you. This not only provides a great opportunity to observe the firm culture first hand and to network with your potential future colleagues, but can also be a lot of fun!

I attended callbacks for firms in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Boston, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Portland, and Seattle. Needless to say, August 2018 was a whirlwind for me as I visited these cities (sometimes multiple times) all within three weeks. Before attending these interviews, I had never actually been to several of these cities. These interviews allowed me to explore the city and really gave me a feel for how unique the cultures were at different offices, even offices within the same firm. From these interviews, I secured many offers, but ultimately ended up accepting a position at a firm in San Diego. The experience I had with the OCI process demonstrates just how versatile the Penn Law JD is and the nationwide respect for the Penn Law education.