Law School Discussion

Cuz I'm Curious

Cuz I'm Curious
« on: August 18, 2009, 09:51:31 PM »
Alrighty...

So, a couple questions I never thought I'd ask:

Say you're at a T10 and your grades suck really bad after first year. Then you start pulling decent grades in years two and three, putting you at about middle of the pack. What kind of 2L summer gig can you land, assuming you interview well and everything about you is up to par except, again, your middling grades? And as a natural follow up, if you for some reason didn't want to hang on to that 2L job for the long haul, what kind of permanent employment can you expect post-grad? Same deal? Assume no law review, maybe a secondary journal. Maybe.

Now assume T10 and bottom barrel grades, all three years. Same questions.

And, because I haven't had a chance to suck quite that much yet, who ends up at the very bottom of the class anyway? I've never met anyone who's admitted it. I know people who got mediocre or semi-low grades 1L and then struck an upward trend in the latter years, but never anyone that just tanks everything. Do these people just give up, or are there people who grind it out for three years and are just hopeless?  I mean, obviously people have to populate that bottom half, I'm just curious about how they get there. And stay there.

And, FWIW, I do not even have law school grades. I'm just a prepare for the worst kind of guy.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 10:55:03 PM »
Bad grades from anywhere aren't fun, but I'd rather be in the bottom of the barrel at the T10 than summa cum laude at some law schools.  Top law schools give you institutional recruitment programs and connections, such as but not limited to on-campus recruiting, that really can't be beat.

And, if an employer likes you, you will just be Joe T10, Esq. with a JD without honors.  No one will ever know...

Fair?  No. See also Life (same).

Bottom line: go to the best school you can get into and, once there, do the best that you can.

Ninja1

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Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 10:56:14 PM »
I think if you're at a T10, you're pretty gangsta (employment prospects wise) no matter your grades.

Ninja1

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Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 10:56:56 PM »
Bad grades from anywhere aren't fun, but I'd rather be in the bottom of the barrel at the T10 than summa cum laude at some law schools.

...

This is right.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 11:16:37 PM »
Hm. Yea, I guess that's the traditional wisdom. If I find myself in this unfortunate position I hope it turns out to be true. Maybe my school has stats on this.

But I've just sorta had a nagging suspicion that you can only ride the reputation so far. I mean doesn't it seem intuitive that once you hit a certain point of suckiness, no matter where you go, employers will just assume you're lazy, stupid, or both? I mean, if I'm hiring, a lazy, stupid T10 grad is nothing to me over a top grad from a lower school.

But again, hoping you guys are right (in the event).


M_Cool

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Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 11:26:46 PM »
You aren't getting big law with bad grades even if you do go to a T10.  Unless firms are waiting longer to do callbacks than normal OCI is brutal this year.  Maybe the economy will pickup for you guys next year though.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 09:03:25 AM »
Law school is graded on a curve. Anyone can wind up at the bottom of the class regardless of how much they study or their academic background. Some people just aren't that good at law school exams or are not suited to learning from the law school teaching style.

If you wind up with bottom of the class grades from a T10, big law is not in your future. For 2L summer, you are probably looking at an unpaid gig somewhere in state or federal government or at a legal non-profit. Some people will land hourly law clerk positions at small firms that pay around $15/hr. For post-grad, you're looking at something similar to what you did 2L summer if you're lucky. If not, you'll probably end up doing doc review as a contract/temp to pay down student loans.

Note that what I just said might not apply if you're from a well-off, very well connected family.

Best thing to do if you do wind up below median ITE, or bottom of the class is to try to improve your grades and get as much practical experience as you can through internships, clinics, etc. At least then you will employable by someone, even if it isn't biglaw.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 04:29:14 PM »
If you wind up with bottom 75% of the class grades from a T10, big law is not in your future.

Fixed to account for the current economy.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 04:36:40 PM »
M_Cool, what is your indiation that OCI is so brutal this year?  It seems like firms are hiring less, but there are still jobs out there.  A couple years ago, my friend was a transfer from a tier 4 to a top 10 and he had 20 job offers.  Literally, 20.  Hell, if prospects even decline 75%, that's still 5 job offers.

Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 04:43:58 PM »
M_Cool, what is your indiation that OCI is so brutal this year?  It seems like firms are hiring less, but there are still jobs out there.  A couple years ago, my friend was a transfer from a tier 4 to a top 10 and he had 20 job offers.  Literally, 20.  Hell, if prospects even decline 75%, that's still 5 job offers.

The fact that practically no one from schools like Michigan, Duke, etc. are getting any callbacks is one indication that OCI isn't going so hot.

If you're 25th percentile at (just as an example) Cornell, you're probably not getting a V100 firm under any circumstances. Even 75th percentile is a stretch, at least this year.