Monday, August 24, 2009

Dodging the bullet (by opting for hard time)

Since this blog is supposed to be about Harvard Law, and right now so many of my classmates’ time and energy is devoted to one particular HLS institution, it seems time to clue y’all in. I’m talking about the Early Interview Program, or EIP.

EIP is how the majority of students—those wanting to work for private law firms or a few public interest employers like the IRS—are hired for the summer after their 2L year. Harvard invites firms from all over the country to interview here in Cambridge for their “summer associate” programs, on which students “bid” ahead of time by submitting résumés and transcripts online. Then they all spend several days at the Charles Hotel for a gauntlet of back-to-back interviews.

This process occurs right now, in late summer, although it used to be much later in the year as part of On-Campus Interviewing, or OCI (which now exists only for 1Ls, who can’t exactly interview for the summer before they’ve even started classes—right?) In this economy, I think Career Services wants to slim the chances we’ll be beaten to the best positions by other schools—although EIP also jives better with the university-wide academic calendar the law school has decided to follow from this year onward.

So, later in the semester, we upper-level students have a short break called Fly-Out Week that allows firms a school-sanctioned time to call back their favorite applicants for interviews on site. It’s a lot of logistics, apparently justified by the fact that the 2L summer is a crucial time in firm culture: if successful, it can end in permanent job offers, sewing up students’ career plans before they even begin 3L year.

Right now, you’re probably thinking this is all incredibly dry and doesn’t make for the greatest blog post. I know! Which, in a way, is why I’m not participating: the mechanical nature of the firm system, its structure and hierarchy, the way it can make my school feel like a machine churning out generic legal careers, is part of what makes it unappealing to me. That and, y’know, my tree-hugging yellow-bellied pinko bleeding heart.

So while many of my peers are suiting up for a long week at the Charles, I’m experiencing the calm before the storm. I meet Anush for long lunches and outings to my favorite Boston-area highlights, enjoying her presence even more than expected. I see movies with Russell, line up doctors’ appointments I won’t want to juggle with school later, come home for lots of bonding time with Omar.

Of course, dodging the EIP bullet doesn’t mean I’m actually spared. Without it, the job hunt is stretched throughout the school year, basically guaranteed to conflict with classes and weather in the worst possible ways. The public sector’s lack of a set timeline can also cause awkward timing problems (like how I was forced to decline a prized interview with the state Attorney General’s office last spring because I just couldn’t wait any longer to answer two offers I already had.)

So don’t count me too lucky, readers—there’s a long way still to go. And after Fly-Out Week, when these EIP participants have summer job offers and I’m still fighting for that perfect interview, they can all blog about how lucky they feel.

1 comment:

mimi said...

I love my pinko bleeding heart baby-girl!! I'm also thrilled you will spend part of fly-out week in Austin! Yay!