Law School Discussion

1L First Semester Grades

1L First Semester Grades
« on: January 06, 2015, 12:07:11 PM »
I'm sure this isn't a new topic, but I was hoping for advice and thoughts on how bad is it to have a 3.0 for 1L Fall Semester Grades at an ABA school? B-, B, B, and B+ combo.

Thanks all

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 12:19:12 PM »
To some extent it depends on the curve at your school, but generally that's not bad at all. In fact, it's good.

I think most people come into law school with high grades from college and expect that it will simply be repeated in law school. As you've already discovered, law school is much more difficult than undergrad and grades are generally lower. At my school the curve was brutal, and a GPA above 3.0 probably would have placed you in the top 15%. 

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2015, 02:11:18 PM »
I think my law school's curve is a B? I know I read somewhere that the allocation of As (includes A-) is 15% at max and then there's an allocation of Cs at 20%?

And yes, I've discovered that law school is much harder than undergrad. Do you think that a 3.0 will damage my chances at a 1L summer job and job down the road given how much emphasis is placed on the 1L grades? I wish my LWR grade had been a B+ as opposed to a B.

Also while I have you here, I can't afford to do an unpaid full time internship, so if I don't get a paid internship or a part-time unpaid internship, would it be devastating for me to just work for a company I worked for in undergrad?

I'm personally just glad I didn't get a 3.0 that comprised of an A and a C because I think Cs look way worse than the benefit an A brings, but that may be just my personal beliefs.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 03:28:02 PM »
Do you think that a 3.0 will damage my chances at a 1L summer job and job down the road given how much emphasis is placed on the 1L grades?

Well, that question is subject to a number of variables. To a large extent it depends on what your goals are. If you have a 3.0 from Harvard, then no worries. If you have a 3.0 from Whittier, however, and are trying to get a prestigious and highly competitive federal internship, then it may be more difficult. Without knowing what your goals are it's hard to say.

As far as post-law school employment, again it depends. Big firms with 500+ lawyers and some federal agencies are going to be far more competitive than the local public defender's office (although those are probably more competitive than you think!). If the goal is a small firm doing family law and DUIs, it will be less of an issue.

Also while I have you here, I can't afford to do an unpaid full time internship, so if I don't get a paid internship or a part-time unpaid internship, would it be devastating for me to just work for a company I worked for in undergrad?

I don't know what the market is like where you live, but I can tell you that here in California paid internships are very competitive. The majority of students get unpaid internships. Sadly, firms and government agencies have figured out that there is a huge pool of talent willing to work for free.

I worked at a government office when I was in law school and we only budgeted for a small number of our internships to be paid. Obviously, the competition for those positions was especially high.

If you have to work at a non-legal job during the summer, so be it. However, it is imperative that you get some solid, marketable legal experience before you start looking for a job as a lawyer. The job market is very tight, and employers will be flooded with applicants who have experience. Those without experience will be at a serious disadvantage. Again, the caveat might be if you are graduating from a school with a huge reputation and you can simply rely on pedigree (Harvard, Yale, etc).

Otherwise you better have something else that the employer wants, namely experience.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 06:03:05 PM »
Congrats on your first semester grades! The release of those is a very stressful time and it getting a 3.0 is not bad at all. As Maintain States most 1L's assume they will get a 4.0 and 100% of them are certain they will be in the top 10% of the class and there is no way they wouldn't in the top 25% and it would absolutely impossible for them to be in the bottom half of the class. However, you don't need to be a math major to see how that math works out.

Any ABA Law Schools is compromised of very smart, motivated and hard working people and many students are shocked when 1L grades come out and they see C's for the first time. At the end of the day your grades mean very little and whether you pass the bar or not is what counts, but nobody has ever been hurt by having a solid law school GPA.

To sum it up a 3.0 is a great start and you are likely in the top 35% of your class with that so congrats and keep pushing through law school. If you have additional questions about the process this site has several insightful posters that offer excellent advice.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 06:05:53 PM »
I'm from California too! How about a 3.0 from schools like Davis, Hastings, or SCU? (I'm asking for my friends too who have similar (although not idential) 1L GPAs)?

I would love a big law summer position but I'm just as interested in medium and small firms and in-house positions. I'm neutral about clerkships personally.

I have considerable work experience prior to law school despite coming straight from undergrad, do you think that will help?

I've been volunteering at a clinic in the limited capacity a 1L can and my school also has a Negotiations Team, Moot Court, and Trial Team. Do you think any of these would help experience wise and if any are better than the other?

Thanks in advance for all the advice. I really appreciate it.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 06:10:32 PM »
Congrats on your first semester grades!

Thanks Citylaw! If you have any advice for me, I would love to take it in! It was a wonderful feeling to get these grades back. I did admittedly get a feeling of disappointment considering I'm used to having a GPA of 3.85-4.0 for undergrad semesters. But I'm slowly adjusting to understanding what a 3.0 means in law school. Like you said, I've heard grades don't matter after your first job, but I was wondering if you or Maintain have any suggestions on finding summer jobs and jobs for medium or small sized firms or in-house opportunities? I know my grades currently (or perhaps even long run) are not strong enough for Big Law, but big law was always a reach in my mind.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 06:23:11 AM »
Congrats on your first semester grades!
But I'm slowly adjusting to understanding what a 3.0 means in law school. If you need the 3 Week Diet to lose weight then you can get it here pretty cheap. Like you said, I've heard grades don't matter after your first job.

This is quite true although most employers still look at grades but we're more interested in experience and how you perform in a real work environment. 3.0 isn't that bad anyway.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 01:57:10 PM »
Yea of course the grades mean something and you would rather have a 4.0 than a 2.8, just like if your trying out for a basketball team you would rather be 6'10 than 6'5, but there are plenty of great 6'5 basketball players and plenty of great lawyers with a 2.8 GPA.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 03:43:43 PM »
Yea of course the grades mean something and you would rather have a 4.0 than a 2.8, just like if your trying out for a basketball team you would rather be 6'10 than 6'5, but there are plenty of great 6'5 basketball players and plenty of great lawyers with a 2.8 GPA.
I don't know if that is a spot on analogy, but I agree that employers care about grades AND what school you went to, class standing, what you did in undergrad, what you did in high school, your credit score, any juvenile convictions, how bad you smell, ALL OF THAT.

People pretend it doesn't matter at low ranked schools since they all plan to "go solo" and know that the average GED American client doesn't check. Truth be told, even then, any client who can pay up front still cares.