Law School Discussion


Assuming the same overall GPA, what looks better on a law school transcript?

a. Consistently above-average grades (mix of B+'s and A-'s on B/B+ curve)
12 (44.4%)
b. Some average grades and some good grades  (mix of B's and A's on B/B+ curve)
5 (18.5%)
c. It doesn't matter.  All that matters is overall GPA.
10 (37%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Assuming the same overall GPA, what looks better on a law school transcript?

What looks better?  Assume that there is no general trend toward doing well in classes that seem easier.  Is it better to be consistently above average or average sometimes and good other times?  Does it matter for different employers?



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It doesn't matter, but it probably helps to have higher grades in classes that you intend to work in.  DAs might care more about crim grades whereas firms would care more about commercial grades.

Miss P

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I've thought about this too. I've got a strange transcript and I'm not sure how employers are going to perceive it.

First semester: below the class median: 3.0 on a 3.25 curve.
Second semester: way above the class median: 3.7 on a 3.25
Third semester: right at the class median.

Overall, I'm slightly above the 50th percentile. But what will employers think when they see I've been in the bottom quarter for one semester followed by the top 5% the next?



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I've always thought it's better to have high grades and a fluke rather than consistently mediocre grades.

Grades of B/B/B usually mean you are basically competent, but nothing special.
Grades of A/A/C usually mean you are probably very above average but got sick on test day or there was some other extenuating circumstance around the C.

Miss P

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I am personally interested in nealric's question though.

What about someone with, say, A, A, A-, A-, B-?  And a similar rundown each semester?


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I've always thought it's better to have high grades and a fluke rather than consistently mediocre grades.

well yes, but that's a slightly different question.  the question is about consistently above-average grades?

how about B+/B+/A-/A- v. B/B/A/A?

I think the second one is better. But I don't really have any basis for that.

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?

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

Holy God is that stupid.