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Author Topic: Headed for a tragic future?  (Read 1399 times)

Morris1979

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Headed for a tragic future?
« on: January 30, 2005, 07:52:17 PM »
How important are grades once you are in the real world? Have fairly decent work experience, but am probably looking at graduating in the lower 20% of my class. I have been told that grades are important when trying to get in the door, but that they hold little weight post-bar exam. Is is possible to bounce back from such a poor performance in such a competitive field?

zippy_zaboo

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2005, 11:25:28 PM »
at what tier school?  bottom 20 from yale is not the same as bottom 20 from Podunk U.

IHEARTLS

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2005, 11:39:59 PM »
We had an Alumni/Student Conference this weekend at my school.  I swear, throughout the day I heard at least 5-6 alumni say, "Five years after graduation, no one cares about grades b/c you change firms so frequently.  Just make sure you make a name for yourself at each firm."

You'll be fine!

ruskiegirl

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2005, 04:31:29 AM »
We had an Alumni/Student Conference this weekend at my school.  I swear, throughout the day I heard at least 5-6 alumni say, "Five years after graduation, no one cares about grades b/c you change firms so frequently.  Just make sure you make a name for yourself at each firm."

You'll be fine!

That no one cares about grades five six or six years after graduation is an absolute fact.  However, in order to be at that firm five years after graduation not caring about your grades, you have to be hired.  And getting hired with bottom 20% grades will be hard from just about any school outside the top 25 or so. 

I posted this on the pre-law board, but feel like it's worth mentioning here.  I was browsing the NALP legal employers directory for summer associate position contacts and, while there, I noticed that under "hiring criteria" just about every firm (not just the Skadden, Cravath and Wachtell's of the legal world) listed top 10, 15, or 25% of the class AND moot court or Law Review.  I presume they would waive those requirements if they had a bottom 20% graduate from Yale or Harvard, but the folks in non-ABA and lower-tiered programs will not be so lucky.  I am not saying that you CANNOT get a job, but it will require a great deal of effort.

Carbolic

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2005, 07:31:39 AM »
This thread is ridiculous.  No matter where you go to school - or if you have medicore grades - if you're a good lawyer, that will show through.  And that's true in ANY profession.  Who cares what a firm thinks, the goal is to have your OWN firm.

If you wander around life wondering what tier or category you fit into, nobody will hire you (plus, you've got some issues you need to figure out on your own).

The great equalizer:  There are just as many lawyers (if not more) getting disbarred or censured from top-tier schools as there are "Podunk U" schools.

Do you think those lawyers being disbarred or censured are telling the board of responsibility how good their grades were or they were on law review?  No. It's what you can do, not how many superlatives you can rack up.

zemog

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2005, 09:17:13 AM »
I think lower grades or lower tiered schools will prevent you from opening specific doors to certain firms and you may get a "slower" start, but after several years experience at a smaller/med firm, that should help erase the stigma. 

ruskiegirl

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2005, 10:55:50 AM »
This thread is ridiculous.  No matter where you go to school - or if you have medicore grades - if you're a good lawyer, that will show through.  And that's true in ANY profession.  Who cares what a firm thinks, the goal is to have your OWN firm.

If you wander around life wondering what tier or category you fit into, nobody will hire you (plus, you've got some issues you need to figure out on your own).

The great equalizer:  There are just as many lawyers (if not more) getting disbarred or censured from top-tier schools as there are "Podunk U" schools.

Do you think those lawyers being disbarred or censured are telling the board of responsibility how good their grades were or they were on law review?  No. It's what you can do, not how many superlatives you can rack up.

Starting your own firm is expensive and requires at least some practical experience in a firm or a clerkship.  Clerkships are very difficult to get without high grades, no matter what school you go to and one should not be so naive to believe that firms will discard their well-established hiring criteria because in the end they believe you could be just as good of an attorney as a Yale grad.

There's a reason why there are more grads from top schools at top firms, and my guess is good looks and nice personalities have very little role in the explanation.

Zemog -- I was looking predominantly at smaller and mid-sized firms and they were the ones with the top-of-the-class hiring criteria.

zemog

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2005, 12:16:01 PM »
My experience has been, when I emailed and talked to several alumni that were at firms making the big $$$, they were the ones that told me to pursue the small/med firms first and after several years, the experience you gain will edge the lower tier/lower class rank stigma. Then you can transfer to a bigger firm or a more famous small/med firm.  I'll be honest though, I have not looked at any job postings so I'm not sure of what hiring criteria there is. Anyways ruskiegirl, you go to a good school so I don't think you will have any problems :)

Just to add/clarify what I said earlier, I agree that most employers, regardless if it is a law firm, would prefer graduates that are higher ranked. As a person that will graduate in my late 30s, I am not naive to overlook the stigma and struggle it will be for people that are lowered ranked like the OP and people that attend lower tiered schools like me, or even as old as me. A lot will have to do with some experience (from these lesser known smaller/med firms), some networking, some 'street' smarts, and some luck. 

Grades are important but they aren't everything, so no, even if you get low grades, you are not going to burn in tragedy.  In my experience, networking and connections are great equilizers. Maybe join some organizations on campus or start volunteering at some firms and work for free.  There are many public interest organizations that will take voluteer interns in a second, and the people you meet and the experience you gain will be a great asset.

Zemog -- I was looking predominantly at smaller and mid-sized firms and they were the ones with the top-of-the-class hiring criteria.




Esq

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2005, 05:53:47 PM »
Tragic future? This thread seems a little melodramatic. I also think this "stigma" talk of attending a "T4" is a little over the top as well.

Here's a stigma story: I have a friend who graduated from a "T4" school. He got a job out of lawschool with the state supreme court working for a justice as a briefing attorney. The other justices also had briefing attorneys and it just so happened that most of the other briefing attorneys graduated from a "T1" school. There were a few "T2" schools represented as well. My friend was the only one from a "T4" school, but he did not let this bother him. However, for about two months all of them were awaiting their bar exam results. When the pass list came out, the Court Clerk brought it into the room where they all were and they had a chance to see it before the list was officially published.  They all rushed the Court Clerk and almost snatched the list out of the clerk's hands. People were crowding in a huddle, tearing through the pages, reading off names, and then shouting out thanks to their various gods when they found their names. All of them passed, except for one. The one that did not pass merely hung his head, cursed, and walked out of the room. The room turned quiet. They all knew what had happened. Slowly, they all filtered out of the room, took the rest of the afternoon off, and went home to their families. My "T4" friend's name had been on the list. He knew that day he had become an attorney, subject to being sworn in. He is proud of his school. He is working for a law firm. He has never been "stigmatized."


onehandedreader

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Re: Headed for a tragic future?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2005, 01:18:15 AM »
i have to agree with esq.  my friend went to T4, got mediocre grades, and within three months was making just under six figures.  regardless of your grades, assuming you're not below the academic disqualification standards, you'll still have a jd when you're done.  besides, i have to believe this.  i just got my grades. 
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