8 Tips for OCI Success 

Tips From Our Recruiters
A webcam mounted on a computer monitor in front of a bright background.

Interviewing for a summer associate position is an exciting opportunity. If you’re nervous, know that you’re not alone—thousands of applicants across the country are in the same boat. 

We want you to be at your best because it helps us select the right applicants, and it helps you land in the right place. Pulling from our years of experience on the other side of the table, we’ve assembled our top tips for OCI success.

1.) First of all, relax.

Easy for us to say, right? 

The more relaxed you are, the better you’ll communicate your strengths and personality. Remember that your interview is as much about you deciding if the firm is right for you as it is about us selecting our candidates. 

Ask your questions. Weigh your options. Be clear-eyed about tradeoffs. Most of all, relax and find confidence in the fact that you’ve made it this far through law school and that you have great qualities to offer. We are eager to get to know you.

2.) Tell us about your interests.

Most of our U.S. offices hire summer associates. What we want to know from you is why this office and why this practice? Show us that you’ve thought about your career path, that you have specific goals and interests, and that you have a plan. 

If you’re not sure yet—that’s fine! Talk to us about what options you’re weighing and the factors you’re considering. Be honest about where you are in the process, and we can help you figure out if Wilson is the right fit for you.

View Points
Myra A. Sutanto Shen
Palo Alto

“When I was interviewing, a lot of firms were really pushing me into areas of law that would have drawn on my scientific background. But I felt like a lot of firms weren’t hearing my interest in tax law and weren’t making that opportunity available for me. Wilson Sonsini was one of the firms that did.”

3.) Do your research. 

Plan on being asked “Why Wilson Sonsini?,” and give us a thoughtful response. Use this question to show us you’ve done some digging and help us understand the specific reasons you want to work here.

4.) Know something about our clients.

Wilson Sonsini is known as a law firm for tech companies. Very few, if any, other firms can claim this to the degree we can. What you may not know: for most of our practices, a tech background isn’t required. 

But an interest in our clients is. 

What clients are you most excited to work with? What about our client base in particular interests you? Especially if it’s not obvious from your resume—help us understand why you are someone we would send to a client meeting and what it is about our unique client base that speaks to you. 

5.) Highlight your skills.

A work background in technology or law is a bonus, but not required. But we do want to understand the skills and the specific experience you bring to the table. 

Your interviewers will probably ask about your past work experience. Whatever that may be, use it as an opportunity to highlight how your past work set you up with the skills it’ll take to be a successful attorney, or how it relates to the practice group you’d like to join. Tell us how your science degree sparked your interest in life sciences law, how your internship on the Hill prepared you for regulatory work, or how your life experiences gave you the drive to succeed and give your all to your clients.

There’s no one way to excel at lawyering—so show us how you would get there, and what you hope to get out of your career.

6.) Be authentic. 

Your resume gives us details about your education and work history, but your interview allows us to get to know you as a person. 

Tell us your story. Why do you want to be an attorney? What areas of interest get you excited about your career? What is unique about you?

At the same time, be true to yourself. Don’t try to fake it. If you want to find a place where you can develop long-term success or career satisfaction, you need to be authentic about what you want right from the start.

Dale R. Bish

“If I could go back and talk to myself in law school, I would tell myself to be more open minded. I certainly did not come into the OCI or interviewing process thinking that I wanted to be at a large law firm for 20 years. 

Almost immediately after starting as an associate, I realized this is the platform for me. I could accomplish my goals—whether it’s working on important litigation, representing clients that are truly changing the world, or having a life. 

Having a good life personally and professionally … It never occurred to me that it would be possible to have all those things. And it really is.”

7.) Show us how you’ve overcome challenges. 

We use behavioral questions throughout the interview process. (These are “Tell me about a time when…” questions.) These questions allow you to demonstrate characteristics like grit, perseverance, tenacity, and resourcefulness through real-life stories. 

You will be asked at least one behavioral question during your interviews, so come prepared with stories that highlight how you’ve overcome challenges, what you learned from those experiences, and how those experiences gave you valuable skills and perspective. 

8.) Bring us your questions.

We want our interviews to be a conversation. Ask us some questions! 

In fact, asking the same question of every person on your schedule is absolutely okay. Hearing different perspectives on the same topic could help you understand the firm that much better.