Law School Discussion

Am I screwed?

Am I screwed?
« on: June 11, 2008, 09:25:44 PM »
I just got on Law Review and IP Moot Court, but my gpa is around a 3.25 (which is prob top 40%) at a top 20 law school. I had a fairly good first semester, but my second semester dropped a bit (still trying to figure out what the hell happened). I'm working as a summer associate at a law firm this summer.

Anyhoo, I'm doing OCI as well as regional job fairs this fall.

(1) Should I contact law firms ahead of time in preparation for this?

(2) Do I have a good chance for a lot of these firms? Do they even look at the 1st semester grades for 2L year?

(3) Do they have this stuff wrapped up by a certain date (i.e. can I also apply later on in the year/do they monitor your progress)?

(4) If I don't get the 2L firm job I want (and continue where I'm at this summer) but show a marked improvement in the 2L year in terms of my grades, do firms still hire you after school? (E.g. let's say i wanted to work for Fish & Richardson but don't get offered for 2L summer, when they're recruiting at the beginning of 3L year, do people in my position still have a good chance or are hirings drawn solely from previous summer associates?).

Basically, am I screwed from getting a job I want even if I improve? (I'm not necessarily interested in a big law firm job, just location outside of where I go to school).

Thanks in advance.


  • *****
  • 6642
    • View Profile
Re: Am I screwed?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 04:28:20 AM »
1.  IF the firms do OCI, my vote would be no to contacting early; they'll just push you off anyway until OCI.  You would be better served by focusing early efforts on other avenues (e.g. firms that aren't doing your school's OCI).

2.  I don't know about chances, but they absolutely do not look at first semester 2L grades.  Your interviews and call backs will mostly be in EARLY fall, long before you're even thinking about exams.  The 2L OCI hiring process is mostly completed by mid-November, before 1L recruiting (such as it is) starts Dec 1.

3.  Yes, see above for timing.  Don't waste your time re-applying to firms that rejected you during OCI.  By the time the process is over, firms have more than enough applicants they'd like to fill spaces with.  And unless their first, second, third choices all turn the firm down, they won't be considering new applications from 2Ls.

4.  You can try to apply for 3L OCI or send a app in, but it will be an uphill battle.  Unless more 2Ls than expected decide not to accept permanent offers and go elsewhere OR if more than expected decide to clerk after law school before work, a firm probably won't have any open new associate spaces.  At that point, you'd be looking at trying to lateral in after a few years.

As for whether you're screwed, I don't know.  You may get an offer to come back from your job this summer, which may help your recruiting chances a lot via OCI.  But there are plenty of jobs out there that don't come on a silver platter via OCI.  Get Kimm Walton's Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, start networking in the area you want to be in, and research midsized and smaller firms that are located in the area you want to work.  There are a ton of great jobs out there, but you seem to have convinced yourself that OCI = the ONLY jobs available.

Re: Am I screwed?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 08:00:36 AM »
Thanks for the info, Jacy85. On a related note, I am interested in trying to clerk for a federal judge after I graduate. If I end up doing that and finish with a higher GPA by the time I graduate, am I to assume that can help my chances as well when I apply to firms afterwards? (What exactly is the process/timeline for people interested in firm jobs who are doing judicial clerkships after graduation? Do they secure jobs before their clerkship? Do they wait until the following summer?). Also, are LLM programs (if I actually am interested in them) help at all? I know Tax LLMs are quite common (though honestly I don't think I'm that interested) but I figure I should at least know about these things if I end up changing my mind.

Yellowbrickroad, I believe they do have some sort of lottery system (I'm actually meeting with my adviser today to get a better understanding of the whole process). In general, when discussing working for them, is it acceptable for me to say things like "I had a good first semester, but I dropped, I intend on working harder and have law firm experience and got onto law review", that kind of schtick? How do you feel I can convey that I'm worth giving a chance even if my grades dropped a bit last semester? Thanks in advance.

  • **
  • 9
  • Check out for free advice
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Am I screwed?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 07:34:23 AM »
The OCI process if good because it's the easiest (the firms come to you). But, there are no guarantees and most students do not find jobs through OCI.

Definitely try OCI and give it your best shot.  If it doesn't work, you will have to network and try to find the job on your own.  You will be applying for more mid-size or smaller firms, but there are valuable experiences there as well.