Law School Discussion

1L First Semester Grades

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2015, 09:32:49 AM »
It depends on the particular job. Some places, like big firms, care A LOT about grades, others are more concerned with relevant work experience. A few years out of law school, however, nobody will give a crap that you won Best Brief in Trial Advocacy.

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.

I dunno. Maybe my experience is atypical, but I've never had an employer pay much attention to grades during an interview. I once got asked about class rank, and the guy just sort of nodded and moved along. As long as I wasn't in danger of failing out he didn't seem to care. At other interviews it never even came up.

As far as clients, my experience at a small boutique firm was that most clients did not know the difference between a T4 and Harvard and did not care.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2015, 10:28:13 AM »
Yea my experience is more similar to Maintain's.

Of course having great grades is better, I was in the top of my class, but I still got rejected from plenty of jobs and despite getting the Witkin Award in Con Law 1 - Con Law II - Crim Pro 1 & Crim Pro 2. Not every DA, Public Defender and City Attorney Office was begging me to work for them.

For the most part on interviews employers ask do you have any experience doing X, because they don't want to spend time teaching it. If you know how to do a Pitchess Motion in California they don't have to explain it to you and you could have straight C's for all they care.

In BigLaw and certain jobs grades do matter, but those jobs are few and far between to begin with. Furthermore, of course there are small-mid size firms that care about grades, but there are small mid-size firms that might like that you like Basketball, or football or god knows what.

Every employer is not identical and has entirely different philosophies, culture, etc,. There are firms out there that would prefer to have a Tier 4 middle of the pack grad than the Harvard Valedictorian, because the Valedictorian Harvard working there wouldn't make any sense and you could constantly think they were going to leave.

I would love to have Lebron James on my lawyer league team, but if he quit the Cavs to play for me I would be a little suspicious about how serious he was to sticking with us long-term.

Furthermore, as to clients and grades/schools they don't particularly care. I go to a doctor, dentist, optometrist, CPA, etc and I honestly don't know what schools they attended or what grades they got, and I really don't care.

I don't have time to research it all and for the most part convenience in location, price, professionalism is far more important to me than whether they went to Harvard or Devry. Most clients are in the same boat and looking for representation in their situation with an attorney they like, is reasonably priced, and available.

Harvard Valedictorians can only do so much work in a day and are not likely to take the case of any jackass.

So at the end of the day, it is better to get good grades nobody argues that.  It is better to be 7'1 when your playing basketball, better to have six pack abs when pursuing your modeling career, etc, but not everyone out there is a Shaq Sized dominant NBA player that can related to everyone that also attended Harvard and graduated with an M.D., J.D., MBA, CPA, with years of experience at the top firms and is reasonably priced and available to any joe that needs help.



Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2015, 08:32:25 PM »
Yea my experience is more similar to Maintain's.

Of course having great grades is better, I was in the top of my class, but I still got rejected from plenty of jobs and despite getting the Witkin Award in Con Law 1 - Con Law II - Crim Pro 1 & Crim Pro 2. Not every DA, Public Defender and City Attorney Office was begging me to work for them.

For the most part on interviews employers ask do you have any experience doing X, because they don't want to spend time teaching it. If you know how to do a Pitchess Motion in California they don't have to explain it to you and you could have straight C's for all they care.

In BigLaw and certain jobs grades do matter, but those jobs are few and far between to begin with. Furthermore, of course there are small-mid size firms that care about grades, but there are small mid-size firms that might like that you like Basketball, or football or god knows what.

Every employer is not identical and has entirely different philosophies, culture, etc,. There are firms out there that would prefer to have a Tier 4 middle of the pack grad than the Harvard Valedictorian, because the Valedictorian Harvard working there wouldn't make any sense and you could constantly think they were going to leave.

I would love to have Lebron James on my lawyer league team, but if he quit the Cavs to play for me I would be a little suspicious about how serious he was to sticking with us long-term.

Furthermore, as to clients and grades/schools they don't particularly care. I go to a doctor, dentist, optometrist, CPA, etc and I honestly don't know what schools they attended or what grades they got, and I really don't care.

I don't have time to research it all and for the most part convenience in location, price, professionalism is far more important to me than whether they went to Harvard or Devry. Most clients are in the same boat and looking for representation in their situation with an attorney they like, is reasonably priced, and available.

Harvard Valedictorians can only do so much work in a day and are not likely to take the case of any jackass.

So at the end of the day, it is better to get good grades nobody argues that.  It is better to be 7'1 when your playing basketball, better to have six pack abs when pursuing your modeling career, etc, but not everyone out there is a Shaq Sized dominant NBA player that can related to everyone that also attended Harvard and graduated with an M.D., J.D., MBA, CPA, with years of experience at the top firms and is reasonably priced and available to any joe that needs help.
You hearing all of this low ranked law school grads who were on the bottom of their class?????

-APPARENTLY YOU HAVE THE SAME ODDS ARE THE TOP 1% OF HARVARD LAW GRADS, SO STOP BEING A LITTLE female dog AND GO GET A JOB YOU f-ing BUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(right?)

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2015, 05:34:33 PM »
Basically, yea if you are a licensed attorney you can find a job, unless you a female dog and moan about it.

If you graduated at the bottom of your class from a non-elite school, you are not getting a big-law associate job out of law school, but you can get a job as a Public Defender, in a small-firm, etc Here is a litany of jobs for attorney's through California. http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=attorney&l=california+

Will the Valedictorian of Harvard have more doors open to them than a student with a 2.8 out of Santa Clara Law? Yes.

If you have a 2.8 GPA from Santa Clara are you doomed to giving handies to bums on Greyhound? No.

There are plenty of jobs out there, but any graduate even the Valedictorian of Harvard has to apply to them and both will get rejected from jobs.

However, if you are a licensed attorney in any state, anywhere, you have had a pretty good life to be perfectly honest and had a lot go your way. If you can't get a job not the most amazing job in the world, but a decent job with a B.A. a J.D. and a license to practice law, look in the mirror it probably has a lot more to do with you than the school you attened.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2015, 10:07:36 PM »
Basically, yea if you are a licensed attorney you can find a job, unless you a female dog and moan about it.

If you graduated at the bottom of your class from a non-elite school, you are not getting a big-law associate job out of law school, but you can get a job as a Public Defender, in a small-firm, etc Here is a litany of jobs for attorney's through California. http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=attorney&l=california+

Will the Valedictorian of Harvard have more doors open to them than a student with a 2.8 out of Santa Clara Law? Yes.

If you have a 2.8 GPA from Santa Clara are you doomed to giving handies to bums on Greyhound? No.

There are plenty of jobs out there, but any graduate even the Valedictorian of Harvard has to apply to them and both will get rejected from jobs.

However, if you are a licensed attorney in any state, anywhere, you have had a pretty good life to be perfectly honest and had a lot go your way. If you can't get a job not the most amazing job in the world, but a decent job with a B.A. a J.D. and a license to practice law, look in the mirror it probably has a lot more to do with you than the school you attened.
Industry wide statistics disagree with you

loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2015, 09:20:23 AM »
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.

Following on on this and other questions.

First, don't worry about the 3.0. Most people who go to law school did very well in undergrad where there was rampant grade inflation. In other words, getting less than a 4.0 is considered "bad." Law school is not like that. As almost every school, there is a curve, and it is rigorously applied. The most helpful thing for your own understanding is not your absolute grade, but how you did on your own school's curve. That should be freely available (this will be your "class rank" moving forward).

Second, *any* legal experience your first summer is a good thing. I didn't see your school posted, but for most people not attending an Ivy League, a 1L summer at Big Law is out of reach (unless they are, say, T1 and finish at the top of their class). At this point, you shouldn't be looking down at clerkships- I clerked for a state court judge my first summer and it was the most amazing experience ever, and I formed connections I still use- it also gave me a leg up for my second year (I summered at BigLaw for 2L). Repeat- any summer position that gives you legal experience will be valuable. But look for real legal experience. And you also don't know, yet, what you don't know.

Third, regarding what you're looking for in the second year. The general rule of thumb, for employers, is as follows:
Law Review > Moot Court > Trial Team > Secondary Journal > (Other Moot Court, Negotiations Team, Etc.) > Clubs.

This can be fluid; for example, law review (or whatever the primary journal at your school is) will always be a huge bonus, but if you want to work as a prosecutor, they will likely be happy that you were on the trial team. Or, maybe you are a great orator, and your school has a great moot court. But for "general applications" that is the order that most employers will view. In fact, many employers will specifically say "Law Review or Moot Court only" for some positions.

Okay, that's about it for now.


loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2015, 09:27:19 AM »
Basically, yea if you are a licensed attorney you can find a job, unless you a female dog and moan about it.


More than 15% of JDs who graduate remain long-term unemployed. That's the most recent statistics.

More than 30% of JDs who graduate and are employed cannot find employment in the legal field (you want burgers with that). That's the most recent statistics.

This is industry-wide. This is includes the best law schools (HYS) making up for, well, some of the not-so-good ones. This also includes the reduced class from 2012.

Short version- almost 50%. That's terrible. Which is a nice way of saying ... do not believe that. Law school is a great option for some people, and is the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet for other people. Please, please, please make sure you make an informed decision, and do not assume that there will be a job for anyone with a JD. That is not true.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2015, 01:54:24 PM »
I'm going to get all wishy washy and agree with both of you. Citylaw and Loki both bring up relevant truths.

Clearly, the legal job market is bad. There are too many law grads for too few jobs. No question about it.

BUT...

I meet people literally every single day who graduated from schools that you've never heard of, and are successful PDs, DAs, small firm lawyers and solo practitioners. In that sense, Citylaw is right. A highly motivated graduate of a T4 who knows how to hustle and is willing to take some risks will probably do better than a T1 grad who says "But I went to a good school. Give me a job befitting my prestigious education."

The problem I often see is that 25 year olds who have no meaningful real world experience simply cannot navigate the job market effectively, let alone possess the skills to strike out on their own.

This is purely anecdotal (so take it for what it is), but the somewhat older part time students at my non-prestigious law school had better employment stats than the younger full time students. They already knew how to navigate the job market, and were perhaps more realistic about their options.

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2015, 03:33:26 PM »
I'm going to get all wishy washy and agree with both of you. Citylaw and Loki both bring up relevant truths.

Clearly, the legal job market is bad. There are too many law grads for too few jobs. No question about it.

BUT...

I meet people literally every single day who graduated from schools that you've never heard of, and are successful PDs, DAs, small firm lawyers and solo practitioners. In that sense, Citylaw is right. A highly motivated graduate of a T4 who knows how to hustle and is willing to take some risks will probably do better than a T1 grad who says "But I went to a good school. Give me a job befitting my prestigious education."

The problem I often see is that 25 year olds who have no meaningful real world experience simply cannot navigate the job market effectively, let alone possess the skills to strike out on their own.

This is purely anecdotal (so take it for what it is), but the somewhat older part time students at my non-prestigious law school had better employment stats than the younger full time students. They already knew how to navigate the job market, and were perhaps more realistic about their options.

Hey, I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom! I just take real exception to the claim that there are jobs for anyone with a bit o' spit and polish. There aren't.

Up until this year (I moved) I worked closely with my school's alum office. And the market out there was ... rough. Are there a lot of variables? Sure. How you did in school. Your prior experience. Your connections. Your "gumption." Where in the country you are located. Your willingness to move to find a legal job.

But it's not true that you can just find a job- even a PD job. Even a job working for the State in family law proceedings. And working as a solo practitioner, straight out of law school, is incredibly hard. There are some people that are able to do it, who are able to build those connections quickly, who have the work ethic, who quickly understand the difference between law school and the practice of law. But there are more failures than successes (and I would always recommend someone get some experience, of some kind, before hanging their shingle).

And that's what I will always push back against. The reality is that for just about half of the people that go to law school right now - there won't be a legal job at the other end. Another significant percentage will be in legal jobs that, to be honest, don't pay well and aren't well-respected (which means that law school, from a strictly numbers standpoint, is a three-year long bad investment). On the other hand, if a person takes the time to understand what the legal profession really entails (not TV shows), and dedicates themselves to law school and then their career, it is an immensely rewarding profession.

Although I still haven't gotten to write, "Suck it" in a brief. Someday. It's good to have a dream.

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2015, 04:08:44 PM »
Glad to see you are back Loki.

Excellent post above regarding GPA and the subsequent what employers look at Law Review, Moot Court, etc.

As for the job issue, of course getting a job anywhere is hard and you will be rejected.

Becoming a Public Defender is doable, but many people have to volunteer for a few months doing that before a fullt-me job is offered, so on and so on.

However, as far as I know nobody is handing out jobs to anyone. Furthermore, I don't think to many J.D.'s are working at McDonald's you can have a non-legal job that is not McDonald's in fact I met many people in law school that had no desire to be lawyers and ended up with decent jobs. (Although they did not need a J.D. to get them), which goes to your point of be sure law school is for you.

I don't think the job market is any different for teachers, nurses, businessmen/woman, etc, cops, fireman, etc ask any professional out there how they started and it will not be some easy road. They started doing some entry-level job and worked their way up. To do this they were rejected countless times and the law is no different.

If anyone thinks that if you get a J.D. firms will have private jets waiting outside of your graduation hall to wine & dine you in hopes that you will choose to work for their firm for $250,000 starting. Well that is not going to happen.

If there is a job like that out there, I would love to know about it, but I don't think it exists.

So as Loki points out law school is not for everyone and there is no guarantee you will succeed just because a law school accepts you. Your going to have to fight, claw and deal with rejection with a J.D. just as you will in any other profession.

Again, unless there is some easy to get, high paying job, that is challenging when you want it to be, but whenever you want a little time off you can have it, and people are impressed by it at cocktail parties and so on. I would LOVE to know about it.

If I am being missing that gig for 32 years then shame on me, but please for the love of god if it exists let me know.