Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: El Mono on April 17, 2008, 05:58:39 PM

Title: Employment possible?
Post by: El Mono on April 17, 2008, 05:58:39 PM
I am a 1L at a very well regarded top 10 school. I constantly hear (and not just from the career services folks) that employers really love our school, and that firms reach really far into the class. We are constantly told not to worry about grades, because just hitting the median guarantees you a cushy firm job.

Sounds great right? It did to me too.

My grades, unfortunately, put me below the median. I'm not sure how far below, but I am not just bitching about Bs here. I like to think I am a smart person. I did get into a great school. I realize someone has got to be at the bottom, but it sucks when its you.

Employers are certainly going to find my grades unimpressive, if not disdainful.  Luckily, I do interview well. I am friendly and socially extroverted. I have good job experiences, though nothing extraordinary. I come from a good, but not ivy caliber, undergrad.

My question is: am I employable? What really does happen to the bottom 20% at top law schools?

Any advice/input would be great.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: Peaches on April 17, 2008, 06:01:06 PM
Do you have something already for this summer?
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: mutual_biscuit on April 17, 2008, 06:07:15 PM
Sounds like you're headed for a proud career in the field of personal injury & medical malpractice. On the plus side, if you play your cards right you'll be able to have your face plastered on the side of a bus.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: El Mono on April 17, 2008, 06:13:41 PM
For this summer, yes. I have a really cool job, though it is not as a firm SA.

There are worse fates than PI. I would prefer even remotely constructive responses though, thanks.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: NYC2L on April 17, 2008, 06:25:15 PM
At a top 10 school (are there ones that are not well-regarded?), even if you are in the bottom 20%, you will have a good shot at biglaw. You will get an additional boost if your school does not allow firms to pre-screen candidates. My friend had a great strategy to counteract her low GPA. When she walked into the interview she did not immediately hand the interviewer her resume. Instead, she wowed him or her with her personality and only provided the resume on her way out. She got two offers at V10 firms and many others at other firms with grades below the median. If your school does pre-screen, it may be more difficult to get interviews so just apply to a wide range of schools to hedge your bets. And don't listen to mutual_biscuit (assuming he or she is not joking), he or she clearly goes to a TTT. Practically everyone at top 10 schools is able to secure law firm employment if they so desire.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: Peaches on April 17, 2008, 06:42:27 PM
A few tips --
Go to the geographic area you're interested in towards the end of summer and send letters to firms saying you'll be there from August 8-11 and would like an opportunity to interview.  Follow-up and try to finagle the "stealth callback."  I've heard this method suggested for people with no connection to the geographic area and bad grades.  The firm doesn't have to spend money on your flight and hotel, and you aren't directly competing against 15 other kids from your T10 school like at OCI.

If your school doesn't allow prescreening, I'd also still be sure to bid strategically.  Don't use your highest bid rankings on firms that specifically request top 10%.  Try to get as many interviews as possible where you won't be ruled out immediately based on falling way below their GPA cut-off.

Write on to law review.  You just have got to buckle down and try to make that happen.  Are you on mock trial/moot court?  If not, compete in those competitions next year or try to distinguish yourself in other ways.

Practice interviewing with career services and ask them to be ruthless on your cover letter/mock interviews. 

Do a great job this summer and use that employer for networking and recommendations. 
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: Budlaw on April 17, 2008, 06:44:59 PM
At a top 10 school (are there ones that are not well-regarded?), even if you are in the bottom 20%, you will have a good shot at biglaw. You will get an additional boost if your school does not allow firms to pre-screen candidates. My friend had a great strategy to counteract her low GPA. When she walked into the interview she did not immediately hand the interviewer her resume. Instead, she wowed him or her with her personality and only provided the resume on her way out. She got two offers at V10 firms and many others at other firms with grades below the median. If your school does pre-screen, it may be more difficult to get interviews so just apply to a wide range of schools to hedge your bets. And don't listen to mutual_biscuit (assuming he or she is not joking), he or she clearly goes to a TTT. Practically everyone at top 10 schools is able to secure law firm employment if they so desire.

This strategy may work, however, it may offend some employers when you don't give them your resume right away. And I'm sure it also helped that it was a girl doing the "wowing."

If you're the average lawschool nerd, then I don't know how well it will help.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: NYC2L on April 17, 2008, 06:55:15 PM
The OP specifically said that he (or she) is "friendly and socially extroverted" and I will take the OP at his (or her) word. Moreover, the strategy could only offend an employer if the interviewee refused to provide his or her resume upon request (which would clearly be stupid and unprofessional). Not all interviewers immediately ask for a resume (many of mine did not). Consider the converse: "an average law school nerd" in the top 10% of his class at a top 10 school arrives at an interview and immediately presents his resume to the interviewer because the nerd is terrible at interviewing but knows that once the interviewer sees his class rank, a callback will be more likely forthcoming. Is that similarly disingenuous? Both the nerd and someone who uses the strategy are simply playing to their strengths.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: T. Durden on April 17, 2008, 07:00:54 PM
my inclination is that you'll be fine

a friend of mine (who is hardly a social dynamo) finished way at the very bottom of his 1L class at umich. despite this fact, he worked as a SA after both his 1L and 2L years.

granted, he was hardly swimming in offers, and would often express dismay re his friends who were splitting between skadden and cravath, but all the same he was able to obtain a handful of strong offers and is now marking market in nyc.

i think that at one point he said that his "trick" was to leave his gpa off the resume. it seemed to work for him?
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: Budlaw on April 17, 2008, 07:25:37 PM
The OP specifically said that he (or she) is "friendly and socially extroverted" and I will take the OP at his (or her) word. Moreover, the strategy could only offend an employer if the interviewee refused to provide his or her resume upon request (which would clearly be stupid and unprofessional). Not all interviewers immediately ask for a resume (many of mine did not). Consider the converse: "an average law school nerd" in the top 10% of his class at a top 10 school arrives at an interview and immediately presents his resume to the interviewer because the nerd is terrible at interviewing but knows that once the interviewer sees his class rank, a callback will be more likely forthcoming. Is that similarly disingenuous? Both the nerd and someone who uses the strategy are simply playing to their strengths.

Hold on there partner. No need to get your panties in a wad. Some interviewers will take offense to blabber mouths in an interview. You need to remember that its the interviewer that's asking the questions, and they aren't always "up for a chat" about your favorite episode of The Hills. 

In any event, its probably not the best idea to give the interviewer your resume right before you walk out. After a few minutes in the interview? Yes. But at the very end of the interview? No. Its just a tad bit unprofessional, and it looks you look like somewhat of a scatter-brain if at the very end you're like "oh here's my resume..."

But WTF does it matter anyway? The dude (or chick) goes to a a Top 10 law school. As long as they aren't slobbering all over themselves (or acting like they're the person running the interview), someone should hire them. Maybe not Cravath, but most certainly something better than the PD's office.

You can calm down now.  ;)
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: NYC2L on April 17, 2008, 07:36:07 PM
Hmmm. That's the trouble with blogs. It's difficult to express emotion.  8) Ahhh. That's better.
I was not suggesting that anyone run their mouths like an idiot nor discuss The Hills in an interview (or anywhere for that matter). My advice was simply for the OP to play to his (or her) strengths.
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: scarlett on April 17, 2008, 07:45:50 PM
I don't mind throwing myself under the bus.  I was under median during OCI - I don't know where, exactly, because Michigan doesn't rank.  But I feel confident that I was comfortably under.  I had a really bad 1st semester and a so-so second semester. 

OCI was fine for me.  There were some ego blows, sure: several firms with robust practices in my area of expertise* gave me the cold shoulder.  But I got great interview experience, not to mention a bunch of callbacks.  I ended up going with the firm that was my first choice going into OCI.  It's a quirky process, but don't go in thinking that your grades are going to sink you. 

* I don't mean to sound like a dbag when I use the term 'expertise'.  All I mean is that I have a graduate degree and a bunch of years of work experience in a particular field (and several firms that do a ton of work in that field dinged me). 
Title: Re: Employment possible?
Post by: nealric on April 17, 2008, 08:13:42 PM
You only have 1/2 your grades so far (maybe less?), so I don't think it's time to panic just yet.

I would talk to career services about how to maximize your screening interviews. I know here (GULC) they can tell you which firms are the least and most desirable. They counsel you to bid on less desirable firms if you want/need more interviews.

A mass mail might be a good idea (sans GPA) for all the firms where you did not get a screening interview (and by all firms, I mean almost every last one in the NLJ 250 in any major market, or secondary market you have even a tenuous connection to.


Title: New Brunswick (NJ) area?
Post by: scheme on April 17, 2008, 12:51:21 PM
live around new brunswick? going to LS in the fall? preparing (as per PLS)? study group. email me.

scheme@mailinator.com
Title: Re: New Brunswick (NJ) area?
Post by: casper13 on April 17, 2008, 04:18:53 PM
Just wondering, but what LS is in or around New Brunswick NJ?  ???