Cutoff for big law

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RobertGolddust
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Cutoff for big law

Postby RobertGolddust » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:28 pm

I feel silly asking this but what is the cutoff point for going big law right out of law school, T14 t20, T1?

senorhosh
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby senorhosh » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:45 pm

RobertGolddust wrote:I feel silly asking this but what is the cutoff point for going big law right out of law school, T14 t20, T1?


No "official" cutoff. It's rare but possible for a student at a TTT LS to get biglaw. The only difference is maybe 1-2 (or less) out of 300+ students are able to get it and they might have had to go through nontraditional methods (networking, connections, etc).
A strong regional (that ranks low on USNR) places a few top students into biglaw.

The main difference is the placement power of each school. T14 will have a good shot, lower T14 and T20 will have a decent shot, T1 is possible but difficult, etc. Obv. this is a simplification so you should look up individual school reports on LST.

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sublime
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby sublime » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:04 am

..

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Lincoln
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Lincoln » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:15 am

sublime wrote:Yea, from what I have read it is just how high in the class you have to be. For example (And these numbers are made up):

Top 66% at CCN can get it

Top half at lower T14

Top 30-40% at T20

Top 20% at T30

Top 5-10% at T1

Top 3-5 % at T2

Top 5 in class at anything lower.

Again, those are made up but you get the idea.


This is a misconception of how hiring in Big Law works, especially for top schools. Naturally, the better your grades the better chance you have of getting Big Law, but there's not necessarily a hard cut-off. For example, for the class of 2012 at my school (Cornell) Big Law + Fed Clerkship = 64.2%, but this does not mean that if you are bottom 40% you don't get Big Law. I know people in my class (of 2013) who were top 30% who are unemployed, and I know people in the bottom 30% who have NYC Big Law.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:06 am

Averages of what appear to be the percentage of students who want Biglaw that can get it:

YHS: Essentially 100%
CCN: 75-80%
Lower T14: 50-70%
Strong regionals (UT/UCLA/USC/Vandy): 35%
Other T1: 10-25%
T2: 3-10%
T3 and T4: 0-3%

I'm sure people could argue with those. They're rough, and there isn't much good reason to put serious stock in them.

After the strong regionals, the correlation between USNWR and job placement becomes much weaker, and the correlation between being located in a major legal market and job placement becomes much stronger. Schools in major markets routinely outplace schools that are dozens of spots higher in the rankings, but located in the middle of nowhere.

Note the above are not "cutoffs" but rather rough guidelines for how many spots can be filled from a particular school. If your school placed 50% into Biglaw, for example, being top 25% doesn't necessarily guarantee you a spot, and being in the bottom 25% doesn't necessarily eliminate you. Being a good interviewee is very important as well and makes your grades less of a disqualifier. Note that around the median of a school, candidates become harder to distinguish because of the bell curve. The difference between 75th percentile and 95th percentile is probably a decent gap, in terms of GPA, but there's probably nowhere near as much difference between the 40th percentile and 60th percentile. This makes candidates around median more "hit or miss" at the lower T14.

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Lasers
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Lasers » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:31 am

a lot of you might be surprised how much the interview matters. they can make up for lower grades, and they can mess up your chances despite great grades.

it's very much a sliding scale between gpa/interview.

bimmer11
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby bimmer11 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:16 am

Lasers wrote:a lot of you might be surprised how much the interview matters. they can make up for lower grades, and they can mess up your chances despite great grades.

it's very much a sliding scale between gpa/interview.


+1. I used to work for a senior associate (now partner) that was on the hiring committee for SAs at a larger firm. He interviewed people (various class ranks) from HYS down to TTT every year. If their personalities didn't mesh or if they just didn't conduct themselves properly, their resumes went into the trash.

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twenty
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby twenty » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:52 am

While I agree with everything you guys are saying, the interview part is kind of a wild card. So if the elements that effect your ability to get a biglaw job are school's "ranking" (correlative), your grades, and your interview skills, the only thing you have a clear objective choice over is your school attendance. Obviously one shouldn't attend law school assuming that they'll be great interviewers because of their outstanding personalities, just as one shouldn't attend law school assuming they'll be in the top third of their class.

That said, a bit over 70% of the individuals from UChicago this last year went to either biglaw or a federal clerkship, while only 6.3% did from University of Denver. It seems unlikely that University of Denver just has a load of miserable interviewers and that UChicago is just chock-full of charming young men and women.

School placement power >>>>>>>>>>>> Class rank/LR/whatever >>>>>>>>>>> Interviewing skills >>>>> your favorite color.

Noteworthy; perhaps enough to give a 1L who graduated with good grades another thing to worry about, sure. But nowhere close to as important as the school's ability to place students.

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Cobretti
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Cobretti » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:03 am

twentypercentmore wrote:While I agree with everything you guys are saying, the interview part is kind of a wild card. So if the elements that effect your ability to get a biglaw job are school's "ranking" (correlative), your grades, and your interview skills, the only thing you have a clear objective choice over is your school attendance. Obviously one shouldn't attend law school assuming that they'll be great interviewers because of their outstanding personalities, just as one shouldn't attend law school assuming they'll be in the top third of their class.

That said, a bit over 70% of the individuals from UChicago this last year went to either biglaw or a federal clerkship, while only 6.3% did from University of Denver. It seems unlikely that University of Denver just has a load of miserable interviewers and that UChicago is just chock-full of charming young men and women.

School placement power >>>>>>>>>>>> Class rank/LR/whatever >>>>>>>>>>> Interviewing skills >>>>> your favorite color.

Noteworthy; perhaps enough to give a 1L who graduated with good grades another thing to worry about, sure. But nowhere close to as important as the school's ability to place students.

I think lasers was saying interviewing well and grades/school prestige are both necessary but not sufficient for getting hired. Don't think anyone was saying you can pull yourself out of a TTT medianpwn to biglaw from an interview.

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guano
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby guano » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:11 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Averages of what appear to be the percentage of students who want Biglaw that can get it:

YHS: Essentially 100%
CCN: 75-80%
Lower T14: 50-70%
Strong regionals (UT/UCLA/USC/Vandy): 35%
Second fiddle in major market (BU/BC/GW/Fordham): 25%
Other T1&T2: 3-20%
T3 and T4: 0-3%

Added a category and made a minor adjustment. For these purposes the T1/T2 distinction is dangerous as, eg Rutgers-N places much more in biglaw than Alabama.
I'm hesitant to put schools like Emory and ND together with BU/BC/GW/Fordham for a number of reasons. Note that while the outcome is unlikely, a number of firms still dip down to around median at those schools (the elusive midlaw, which contrary to TLS groupthink does exist and does attend OCI)

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twenty
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby twenty » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:43 am

Cobretti wrote:I think lasers was saying interviewing well and grades/school prestige are both necessary but not sufficient for getting hired. Don't think anyone was saying you can pull yourself out of a TTT medianpwn to biglaw from an interview.


Yeah, wasn't trying to be an asshat about it, but I thought the phrasing was nebulous enough to make the distinction.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:38 am

guano wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Averages of what appear to be the percentage of students who want Biglaw that can get it:

YHS: Essentially 100%
CCN: 75-80%
Lower T14: 50-70%
Strong regionals (UT/UCLA/USC/Vandy): 35%
Second fiddle in major market (BU/BC/GW/Fordham): 25%
Other T1&T2: 3-20%
T3 and T4: 0-3%

Added a category and made a minor adjustment. For these purposes the T1/T2 distinction is dangerous as, eg Rutgers-N places much more in biglaw than Alabama.
I'm hesitant to put schools like Emory and ND together with BU/BC/GW/Fordham for a number of reasons. Note that while the outcome is unlikely, a number of firms still dip down to around median at those schools (the elusive midlaw, which contrary to TLS groupthink does exist and does attend OCI)


Sounds reasonable. Definitely outside of the top 18, it becomes size and location-dependent. Washington and Lee is a tiny school located in essentially the middle of nowhere. If you're a Biglaw firm, it doesn't make sense for you to make a trip that's a three-hour drive, minimum, if you'd only be interviewing maybe five people. Fordham, on the other hand, is bigger and located a cab ride away from most NYC firms, and maybe you have fifteen interviews there instead. More firms coming to OCI means more chances to impress someone, which winds up becoming more jobs. You would be absolutely crazy to go to W&L over Fordham, even though they cost about the same and W&L ranks 26 compared to Fordham's 38.

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Robespierre
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Robespierre » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:23 pm

There is no "cutoff."

Whether you get biglaw depends on a variety of factors including the placement power of your school, your grades, your interview skills, your appearance, the quality of your bidding/mass mailing strategy, your work experience, your other soft factors, and luck.

I'm not disagreeing with any of the advice in this thread; it's all good. Just emphasizing that the OP is misguided with talk of "cutoffs." You can be last in the class and still get biglaw if you're strong enough on all other factors.

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guano
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby guano » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:29 pm

Robespierre wrote:There is no "cutoff."

Whether you get biglaw depends on a variety of factors including the placement power of your school, your grades, your interview skills, your appearance, the quality of your bidding/mass mailing strategy, your work experience, your other soft factors, and luck.

I'm not disagreeing with any of the advice in this thread; it's all good. Just emphasizing that the OP is misguided with talk of "cutoffs." You can be last in the class and still get biglaw if you're strong enough on all other factors.

Plenty of firms have cutoffs. They may be willing to dip a little lower for the exceptional candidate, but no way Skaden or Cravath will accept someone who's last in their class, regardless of school (unless daddy is a Fortune 500 CEO, but that's a different matter)

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Lincoln
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Lincoln » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:52 pm

guano wrote:
Robespierre wrote:There is no "cutoff."

Whether you get biglaw depends on a variety of factors including the placement power of your school, your grades, your interview skills, your appearance, the quality of your bidding/mass mailing strategy, your work experience, your other soft factors, and luck.

I'm not disagreeing with any of the advice in this thread; it's all good. Just emphasizing that the OP is misguided with talk of "cutoffs." You can be last in the class and still get biglaw if you're strong enough on all other factors.

Plenty of firms have cutoffs. They may be willing to dip a little lower for the exceptional candidate, but no way Skaden or Cravath will accept someone who's last in their class, regardless of school (unless daddy is a Fortune 500 CEO, but that's a different matter)


The OP asked a question that assumed that there are cutoffs at schools below which students can't get Big Law. Sure, there are cutoffs below which certain firms won't hire, but the assumption that there are cutoffs below which all firms will refuse to hire is incorrect.

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Robespierre
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Robespierre » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:20 pm

Lincoln wrote:
guano wrote:
Robespierre wrote:There is no "cutoff."

Whether you get biglaw depends on a variety of factors including the placement power of your school, your grades, your interview skills, your appearance, the quality of your bidding/mass mailing strategy, your work experience, your other soft factors, and luck.

I'm not disagreeing with any of the advice in this thread; it's all good. Just emphasizing that the OP is misguided with talk of "cutoffs." You can be last in the class and still get biglaw if you're strong enough on all other factors.

Plenty of firms have cutoffs. They may be willing to dip a little lower for the exceptional candidate, but no way Skaden or Cravath will accept someone who's last in their class, regardless of school (unless daddy is a Fortune 500 CEO, but that's a different matter)


The OP asked a question that assumed that there are cutoffs at schools below which students can't get Big Law. Sure, there are cutoffs below which certain firms won't hire, but the assumption that there are cutoffs below which all firms will refuse to hire is incorrect.


Yup, this.

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The Brainalist
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby The Brainalist » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:42 pm

Also, people on this forum would be surprised at how many firms internally have grade cutoffs for Harvard and will not go more than a little below median. Basically, firms that require CCN grades to be at or close to median have a similar requirement for Harvard. There isn't really any more security at the bottom of the class at Harvard than there is at Columbia. It shouldn't be that surprising - if your law grades stink and you can't hang with the pack, then selective employers are not interested, no matter how well you did in undergrad and the LSAT.

Just look at the lst score report for Harvard and you would know that it doesn't guarantee a job for 100%. 3.7% completely unemployed last year, and about 4% the year before that. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... show=chars . With close to 600 grads when you count transfers, that means more than 20 Harvard Law grads with nothing in hand when they graduate.

Outside of the top 20 or so firms, I don't think most firms have formal cutoffs within about the top 10 schools. They are trying to fill their classes and it just depends on your competition with other applicants.

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TaipeiMort
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby TaipeiMort » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:07 pm

Firms don't employ across-the-board cutoffs. If you are looking for tiers, I would generally put YS into a tier, and then Harvard Columbia and Chicago into a tier (and NYU if we are talking New York firms).

Basically for Y and S, anyone can get a job at most places because they don't really grade and firms can't differentiate them much, plus they have small class sizes which makes them rare to employers.

For Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago, there are three types of employers (generally): employers with high cutoffs, employers with median cutoffs, and employers with no cutoff. You'd be surprised to see that some v60 firms will employ median cutoffs (Baker Botts), while some high ranked firms don't have a cutoff (Debevoise, Paul Weiss, STB), depending on year and market demand. It also varies office-to-office, or practice-to-practice depending upon hiring partner preference, market demand, and type of work (e.g., Latham OC mothership has no cutoff for Chicago, Latham Houston has a median cutoff). These can also change based upon random market spikes (w.g., Kirkland New York had a huge dirth of people (needed like 30 people) a year ago and hired below median 3Ls at T14 schools who didn't have jobs to fill the need).

Now, a lack of a cut-off doesn't mean smooth sailing. No cut-off firms will still lean towards high GPA people generally. However, this means you can run the table if you are good at interviewing, have relevant work experience, etc. For example, I know an Asian guy who had a bottom 15-percent GPA Chicago in the second worst recession year who was super good at interviewing and was ripped. He got something like 15/30 on callbacks, then converted those into like 5 or 6 offers.

AS for T14 schools, I believe the general rule of thumb is top 1/3 keeps you competitive, but I would guess that there are median and no-cutoff firms there too.

Informative
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Informative » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:19 pm

At the end of the day, you have to do well at any school to get biglaw, even CCNMVP. That being said, some schools do place more students in biglaw. Only about thirty or so schools place well in biglaw. You can find them in the NLJ rankings for biglaw placement. What this doesn't provide is a cutoff for each school, because generally there isn't one. Top 50% from a T10 school, top 25% from a super regional (UCLA/USC, BC/BU) or top 10% from a regional (Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, etc.). There is no real cut-off, as people who performed outside of those ranges often still get biglaw offers and people who performed better often do not get biglaw offers. There is no hard GPA line in the sand for biglaw.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... ctive=true

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TheThriller
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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby TheThriller » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:22 pm

Informative wrote:At the end of the day, you have to do well at any school to get biglaw, even CCNMVP. That being said, some schools do place more students in biglaw. Only about thirty or so schools place well in biglaw. You can find them in the NLJ rankings for biglaw placement. What this doesn't provide is a cutoff for each school, because generally there isn't one. Top 50% from a T10 school, top 25% from a super regional (UCLA/USC, BC/BU) or top 10% from a regional (Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, etc.). There is no real cut-off, as people who performed outside of those ranges often still get biglaw offers and people who performed better often do not get biglaw offers. There is no hard GPA line in the sand for biglaw.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... ctive=true


again, get your trash ranking out of here. stop trashing up perfectly good threads. And you are just repeating everything thats already been said.

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Re: Cutoff for big law

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:24 pm

TaipeiMort wrote:Firms don't employ across-the-board cutoffs. If you are looking for tiers, I would generally put YS into a tier, and then Harvard Columbia and Chicago into a tier (and NYU if we are talking New York firms).

Basically for Y and S, anyone can get a job at most places because they don't really grade and firms can't differentiate them much, plus they have small class sizes which makes them rare to employers.

For Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago, there are three types of employers (generally): employers with high cutoffs, employers with median cutoffs, and employers with no cutoff. You'd be surprised to see that some v60 firms will employ median cutoffs (Baker Botts), while some high ranked firms don't have a cutoff (Debevoise, Paul Weiss, STB), depending on year and market demand. It also varies office-to-office, or practice-to-practice depending upon hiring partner preference, market demand, and type of work (e.g., Latham OC mothership has no cutoff for Chicago, Latham Houston has a median cutoff). These can also change based upon random market spikes (w.g., Kirkland New York had a huge dirth of people (needed like 30 people) a year ago and hired below median 3Ls at T14 schools who didn't have jobs to fill the need).

Now, a lack of a cut-off doesn't mean smooth sailing. No cut-off firms will still lean towards high GPA people generally. However, this means you can run the table if you are good at interviewing, have relevant work experience, etc. For example, I know an Asian guy who had a bottom 15-percent GPA Chicago in the second worst recession year who was super good at interviewing and was ripped. He got something like 15/30 on callbacks, then converted those into like 5 or 6 offers.

AS for T14 schools, I believe the general rule of thumb is top 1/3 keeps you competitive, but I would guess that there are median and no-cutoff firms there too.


As a cautionary note I personally know an S grad from 2011 who was unable to get any legal job, and there is an S grad from 2009 who keeps emailing our class offering to tutor for $20 an hour. So I don't think YS is guaranteed biglaw.




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