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Messages - "Legapp" Stands for "Legal Application"

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Yeah, I was SHOCKED when I read that no recruiters would work with this guy because of ONE grade.  That's why I remembered it when I saw this thread. 

To be fair, though, Cs are really bad when your school curves as high as mine does.  Only a few are handed out in curved classes--sometimes as few as one, depending on the prof (profs can give fewer As for balance).  In most seminars, teachers choose not to award them at all.

Dear Beginner:

First and foremost, I am not certain you did yourself any favors by being so loyal. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. And who is to say that your firm ever will recognize the fact you stayed with them for two years too long simply because you were loyal. Loyal to a firm where you have been unhappy for two years? Oh, come on. At some point you have to be loyal to yourself and your own career. A mid- to large-sized firm is not going to thank you for staying on for two miserable years, if they even notice.

So now, here is where you find yourself…a fifth year associate trained in a highly specialized practice area who not only wants to move to another firm but also wants to change practice areas. Perhaps sometime in those last two years when you were so miserable you might have been able to be retooled into a new practice area. Unfortunately, several things have changed since then.

First of all, you are no longer a junior associate; you are well-trained in your practice area and perhaps a bit past the time when firms are willing to move you into a new practice area. If you had wanted to move into a transactional practice two years ago, this might have been a realistic goal for you because firms were desperate for corporate attorneys and happy to retool junior associates. However, the economy has changed and there are not as many openings today for transactional attorneys as there were last year.

Secondly, that C on your transcript really can be a deal breaker, especially when you are asking to change practice areas. I know this may be hard for you to believe but a C - even just one - is a grade that law firms do not like to see when considering lateral associates.

Given these two facts - the desire to change your practice area along with the C on your transcript - I would suspect you will garner the same reaction from other recruiters you might try to use. I suggest you start your search on your own and give up the idea of using a recruiter to find a new job that will allow you to change practice areas.

I don't think this will be an easy task but if you are tenacious and cover every possible lead and networking aspect possible, you may very well find yourself interviewing for a transactional job with a partner willing to train you in that practice area. There are firms out there willing to interview people without seeing their transcript first and many people will be impressed that you have been at your firm for five years. Once you get yourself in front of these interviewers you will have to sell yourself to them on why they should hire you and retool you into this new practice area. The pressure is on you but if you want this enough, you will be up to the challenge.

This is certainly one situation where I believe you are better off without a recruiter. Get out there and pound the pavement on your own. But stop thinking about how unhappy you are and staying at the firm simply out of loyalty. There is no percentage in this kind of activity and the clock is ticking! Best wishes.

Ann M. Israel

Just one C can be deadly.  This is a Q&A with a recruiter posted on

Advice for the Lawlorn
New York Lawyer
February 11, 2008

Dear Ann:

I am a fifth-year associate at a mid- to large-sized firm. I have been unhappy with my work situation for the last 2 years, but have stayed out of loyalty.

One of the main reasons I would like a change is that I am not growing as an attorney, although I have plenty of work to keep me busy. I don't want busy work though.  I am now looking to move, but also want to change my practice area, a highly specialized practice.

How do I branch out and find another job? I have been to two recruiters who cannot assist me (I got one C in Law School), and I cannot move laterally given my desire to change specialties. I don't know if I will get the same reaction from other recruiters.

I am not even sure what I want to do, though I do know I want to work transactionally. Where do I begin?

This is tough to assess because as a 1L, you probably aren't able to accurately predict how well you did on a test.  You're holding yourself up to an objective standard, but tests are curved (and at T10s, the curves are gentle).  Law school exams are designed so as to NOT be finished in a quick three hours.  OTOH, only finishing half your Torts exam sounds pretty bad.

Would you have to pay for the semester again, and is that an issue for you?  How good is your excuse for your poor grades, if you had to give it to a potential employer? 

Given that you don't seem to want to gun for the top of the class, I would tentatively say you should just carry on with your education and work to get better grades next semester.

Current Law Students / Re: Judicial Internship vs. Paid Law Firm
« on: January 23, 2009, 09:52:59 AM »
I am all for shooting for the stars, but your comment that you want US Court of Appeals "at least" suggests you don't understand the competitive nature of the clerkship market.  Even if you were at the top of your class at Rutgers, a CoA clerkship would still be an uphill battle when you're competing against students from HYS for very few slots.  And what's with the "at least?"  Do you seriously see a SCOTUS clerkship in your future?!

I have friends who are magna (at least) at their top 10 schools who are clerking at the district court level, or who, in one case, didn't get a clerkship at all.  I'm not saying this to be hurtful, but I think you may want to readjust your expectations.

Current Law Students / Re: Social aspect to grading?
« on: January 22, 2009, 04:52:38 PM »
I agree with what everyone has said with regard to large lectures, but I would say that in seminars class participation is FAR more important.

Current Law Students / Re: Judicial Internship vs. Paid Law Firm
« on: January 22, 2009, 04:46:00 PM »
It's a personal choice--I turned down a Biglaw callback as a 1L, because I knew I'd prefer to work for a judge.  Things to factor:

1.  How much you need the money (obviously).  My school pays $10/hr. over the summer to help out; not sure if your school does as well.  It's not enough to live on in most cities, and it would be terrible to have to take another job to make ends meet.  Of course, a summer salary can also lessen your student loan burden.

2.  The prestige of your school.  If you go to a Biglaw feeder, like Columbia, and you've done well there, even in this economy you really don't have to worry about getting something in Biglaw next year.  So, you should go to the place you like the best.  Alternatively, if your school is lower T1 or less, it would be nice to get an offer at the midlaw firm as a backup.

3.  The extent to which you want to clerk.  Working for a judge DEFINITELY looks better if you want to clerk, and gives you something to talk about in your clerkship interviews.  You may also get an opportunity to clerk for your summer judge, as I did.

4.  Enjoying your summer.  I loved working for a judge, whereas being a SA was less fun. 

Ultimately, I felt that working for a district court judge would put me on a path towards a clerkship, which is what I hoped to do when I graduated. 

Current Law Students / Re: Federal District v. State Supreme CT 1L Summer
« on: January 12, 2009, 04:45:00 AM »

Michigan, my focus (and possible opportunity) is exclusively in Michigan.. So i'm getting the feeling that it only really matters with regard to state circuit or trial courts, then? For some reason I had the feeling that federal court internships were more competitive and therefore a better look on the resume, is there any truth to this?

The federal court is considered more prestigious, yes.  But honestly I would go with the judge you like the best, should you be so lucky to get an offer with all of the judges.  If you're truly only thinking about 2L hiring, alternatively you should choose the judge with the best law firm connections (look at their resumes).  For example, if the judge was a partner at Firm X, and you want to work there, then that would be a factored I'd consider.


Right now?!  I don't even know who ours are  :-[

Once you make LR.  Volunteer whenever possible, always be eager and interested when they're around, etc etc.  Honestly, three of the people on the editorial board seemed to end up there because they happened to be in the right clique.  That clique was formed within a different student group, but it contained a lot of last year's editorial board... so those people had board members willing to go to bat for them. 

How, exactly, does one gun for a board position?

(I ask more because I'm curious about what it's like socially to be on law review, and less because I think there's any chance I'll end up on a journal  :D )

Kiss up to the current editorial board (sad but true).  To a lesser extent, you should also gun on your edits and make sure everything you turn in is perfect.

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