T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

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Dark Horse
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T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:31 pm

Bored on a Saturday afternoon.

I didn't think I'd get in, but made my way in after some time on the WL. Currently a junior associate in NYC biglaw.

Fire away!

gerbal
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby gerbal » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:40 pm

I guess I'll start. When did you graduate and what are you doing now/how do you like it? How'd you fare in law school (being a splitter)? thanks in advance.

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acadec
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby acadec » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:42 pm

What do you think made the difference in your app to get you accepted at a school you didn't expect (and, if you don't mind my asking, which school)?

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Helmholtz
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Helmholtz » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:43 pm

How did you do?

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:50 pm

gerbal wrote:I guess I'll start. When did you graduate and what are you doing now/how do you like it? How'd you fare in law school (being a splitter)? thanks in advance.


Helmholtz wrote:How did you do?


I graduated this past May and I'm doing litigation for a big law firm in New York. I don't particularly like it most of the time, but it pays well. The plan is to stay at least a few years.

During 1L, I was extremely insecure about my ability relative to my classmates. I ended up doing good, but not great -- (I don't know what rank because our school does not rank) but if I had to guess, I was somewhere between median and top third. I'm a pretty good writer though, and I made the Law Review on the strength of my competition submission. In retrospect, I think your pre-law numbers are a starting point for how you will do. My UG grades were fare below the 25th percentile and my LSAT was right at the median. My law school performance ended up being better than the median, though, because I had really poor work habits in college. I took law school more seriously, and did better as a result. However, I do think those with higher LSATs tend to fare better because the skills the test measures (reading comp, performance under time pressure, etc) translates well into law exams. That being said, some of my classmates who had high GPAs but lower LSATs still did well.

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Helmholtz
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Helmholtz » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:54 pm

Range of school (e.g. MVPB, CG, DN, CCN, HYP)?

How did you end up doing your first semester of 1L compared to how you felt leaving the exams?

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:56 pm

acadec wrote:What do you think made the difference in your app to get you accepted at a school you didn't expect (and, if you don't mind my asking, which school)?


It was one of MVPBCGDN. It was a long shot, but not completely impossible, since my grades were below the 25% and my LSAT was just at the median. The main differences, I think, were that I (1) applied early decision, (2) tailored my application to the school, (3) sent letters of continued interest, and (4) generally expressed my sincere interest in attending. It's really hard to pinpoint what exactly I did right since nobody ever told me what it was that pushed my application into the accept pile. I'm fairly certain it's one of those four points.

I think most applicants forget that there is more to the process than just numbers. The numbers will put you in the running, but most people don't make it because they don't really communicate how badly they want to get in.
Last edited by Dark Horse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:00 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Range of school (e.g. MVPB, CG, DN, CCN, HYP)?

How did you end up doing your first semester of 1L compared to how you felt leaving the exams?


It was one of MVPBCGDN.

I left thinking that I did OK, not great, but not terribly either. I was lucky enough that some of my professors gave midterms so I had some idea of where I stood in relation to my classmates. I ended up somewhere slightly around median, which was kind of what I expected. I was devastated, since I had entertained ideas of making Law Review or transferring.

It's really hard to figure out how well you're going to do. Many of my classmates did much better than they expected, but at the same time, even more did worse. The problem with going to a top law school is that you're used to doing at least above average in most academic settings when you put in the work. In my experience, in law school, it's possible to put in the work, and still do below average. That's just the nature of how law school academic performance works.
Last edited by Dark Horse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tkaninenberg
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby tkaninenberg » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:15 pm

Question. Do you think work experience helps a great deal. Reason: I my UG GPA isn't great, but it not poor 2.7. I have been working for the past 15 years the last five of those at a national bank. I'm appyling for the 2011 school year, took the LSAT in December. I'm sure my test score will be around my pt's which was in the low 150's. I just saw that somebody got turned down for having a GPA of 3.78 and a LSAT score of 170. My first thought is how.

gerbal
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby gerbal » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:15 pm

I graduated this past May and I'm doing litigation for a big law firm in New York. I don't particularly like it most of the time, but it pays well. The plan is to stay at least a few years.


can you talk about your job a little bit more? what's the biggest thing you don't like about it (and are you being worked to death)? what are you doing most of the time?

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:20 pm

tkaninenberg wrote:Question. Do you think work experience helps a great deal. Reason: I my UG GPA isn't great, but it not poor 2.7. I have been working for the past 15 years the last five of those at a national bank. I'm appyling for the 2011 school year, took the LSAT in December. I'm sure my test score will be around my pt's which was in the low 150's. I just saw that somebody got turned down for having a GPA of 3.78 and a LSAT score of 170. My first thought is how.


Work experience helps, but the LSAT is far more important. It's possible for people with good numbers, like the one you mentioned, to get rejected if there are flaws in the application. Law schools want to admit those who they feel are ready for law school, at least on paper. If there's any indication that the applicant isn't ready, even a candidate with 4.0 and 180 may get rejected.

The good news for you is that your UG GPA won't preclude you from the top schools, especially with your 15 years of work experience. The bad news is that because you have such a glaring weakness, you must make it up in every other part of your application. If you could get your practice LSATs higher, you could get into a far better school than your 2.7 might suggest.

Good luck!

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:27 pm

gerbal wrote:
I graduated this past May and I'm doing litigation for a big law firm in New York. I don't particularly like it most of the time, but it pays well. The plan is to stay at least a few years.


can you talk about your job a little bit more? what's the biggest thing you don't like about it (and are you being worked to death)? what are you doing most of the time?


I wanted to go to law school because I was interested in advocacy. Specifically, I wanted to help those in need, or those who didn't have a voice. I also kind of wanted to be a trial lawyer.

I have three problems with biglaw. First, it's not a place for idealists: its existence is largely justified by serving large corporations with tremendous resources. Second, there is little advocacy at the junior level; most of the work relates to finding support so that seniors (senior associates and partners) can do the advocacy. Third, much of biglaw litigation has little to do with legal wrangling, and more to do with fact-finding. These firms hire tons of associates so they can pore through the countless documents involved in big-time litigation discovery. (This is what I spend most of my time doing)

The hours are rough, but that's to be expected. I don't like to complain, but I always find myself struggling with accepting the work-comes-first atmosphere of my firm. I've just started on my legal career, and there are dues to be paid. All in all, despite the negative aspects of the job, I consider myself lucky.

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Helmholtz
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Helmholtz » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:39 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
gerbal wrote:
I graduated this past May and I'm doing litigation for a big law firm in New York. I don't particularly like it most of the time, but it pays well. The plan is to stay at least a few years.


can you talk about your job a little bit more? what's the biggest thing you don't like about it (and are you being worked to death)? what are you doing most of the time?


I wanted to go to law school because I was interested in advocacy. Specifically, I wanted to help those in need, or those who didn't have a voice. I also kind of wanted to be a trial lawyer.

I have three problems with biglaw. First, it's not a place for idealists: its existence is largely justified by serving large corporations with tremendous resources. Second, there is little advocacy at the junior level; most of the work relates to finding support so that seniors (senior associates and partners) can do the advocacy. Third, much of biglaw litigation has little to do with legal wrangling, and more to do with fact-finding. These firms hire tons of associates so they can pore through the countless documents involved in big-time litigation discovery. (This is what I spend most of my time doing)

The hours are rough, but that's to be expected. I don't like to complain, but I always find myself struggling with accepting the work-comes-first atmosphere of my firm. I've just started on my legal career, and there are dues to be paid. All in all, despite the negative aspects of the job, I consider myself lucky.


What's the game plan once you're done with biglaw?

Aqualibrium
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:40 pm

What do your monthly loan payments look like?

How do you think your actual experience at the firm (culture, work environment, etc...) has differed from what you were told in interviews and callbacks?

If you knew you wanted to get more trial experience and training earlier, why didn't you target firms that might have paid less, but would have allowed you to get that experience (or did you and just not find it)?

Are you worried that in 3-5 years, by virtue of the assignments youve been getting, you'll be a mid-level with no experience that no one wants to train?

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:49 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
Dark Horse wrote:
gerbal wrote:
I graduated this past May and I'm doing litigation for a big law firm in New York. I don't particularly like it most of the time, but it pays well. The plan is to stay at least a few years.


can you talk about your job a little bit more? what's the biggest thing you don't like about it (and are you being worked to death)? what are you doing most of the time?


I wanted to go to law school because I was interested in advocacy. Specifically, I wanted to help those in need, or those who didn't have a voice. I also kind of wanted to be a trial lawyer.

I have three problems with biglaw. First, it's not a place for idealists: its existence is largely justified by serving large corporations with tremendous resources. Second, there is little advocacy at the junior level; most of the work relates to finding support so that seniors (senior associates and partners) can do the advocacy. Third, much of biglaw litigation has little to do with legal wrangling, and more to do with fact-finding. These firms hire tons of associates so they can pore through the countless documents involved in big-time litigation discovery. (This is what I spend most of my time doing)

The hours are rough, but that's to be expected. I don't like to complain, but I always find myself struggling with accepting the work-comes-first atmosphere of my firm. I've just started on my legal career, and there are dues to be paid. All in all, despite the negative aspects of the job, I consider myself lucky.


What's the game plan once you're done with biglaw?


I used to have this entire plan figured out: three to five years at biglaw, then off as an AUSA or maybe one of the DA's offices. I still want to do that, but now I'm also open to other opportunities that may arise.

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glitched
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby glitched » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:57 pm

Are you happy?

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:05 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:What do your monthly loan payments look like?

How do you think your actual experience at the firm (culture, work environment, etc...) has differed from what you were told in interviews and callbacks?

If you knew you wanted to get more trial experience and training earlier, why didn't you target firms that might have paid less, but would have allowed you to get that experience (or did you and just not find it)?

Are you worried that in 3-5 years, by virtue of the assignments youve been getting, you'll be a mid-level with no experience that no one wants to train?


I think you raise some really good points. I do sometimes worry about how marketable I'll be in three to five years. When I look at the midlevels at my firm, I find that they're experts at managing document production. Is that something I'd like to do one day? Not really. But I try not to worry too much about that. After all, that might be the price I pay for having such a well paying job right out of law school. And besides, who know what will happen in those three to five years. It's entirely possible that I meet someone who's starting a litigation boutique and is sufficiently impressed by my work that they'll ask me to join. It's not something I'm counting on, but it's just one possibility. I don't find these kinds of worries to be particularly productive, so I try not to spend too much time thinking about them. Cross that bridge when I get there, I guess.

I wanted trial experience, enough that I applied to all the NY-area DA offices. I didn't get any offers, however, and I wasn't sure if I was ready to throw away my biglaw offer. And here's part of why I think there aren't too many great trial lawyers who went to good schools or did well in law school. When you succeed in that sort of academic environment, you suddenly get all these great opportunities you never really asked for in the first place. Jobs that pay 160K, pay for your relocation, pay for your bar expenses -- that makes life a lot more convenient. You tell yourself that you'll stay with this nice biglaw job for a few years, then do what you really want to do. While you're off becoming an expert at document production, your less fortunate classmates are off at plaintiff's firms or DA offices learning how to try cases. By the time you're ready to leave biglaw, you've gotten used to the perks and the comfortable lifestyle, and you start to convince yourself that you're too old to be chasing childish dreams. Maybe you've got a kid. Maybe you're ready to have one. The thing is, at some point, your life ceases to be just about living out your career ambitions and becomes prisoner to reality: finances are important.

The firm knows this, I think, and they do their best to convince you otherwise during the summer. They told us that we'd have opportunities to do pro-bono criminal cases, or other cases involving courtroom experience. I didn't believe them, though, and I'm pretty sure none of my colleagues did. These days, with Above the Law and forums like TLS, I'd be surprised if there are lots of people who go into biglaw uninformed. In some ways I think finding your way into biglaw requires a healthy dose of cynicism that prevents you from trusting the firm when it says that life will be oh so good when you're an associate.
Last edited by Dark Horse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby NZA » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:06 pm

leeronalda wrote:Are you happy?


I'd like to know the answer to this, too! :)

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:10 pm

leeronalda wrote:Are you happy?


Generally yes, but that's mostly because of my natural temperament. This morning, I read an article in the Economist discussing a study that said being neurotic is highly correlated with being unhappy. This confirms my suspicion that I will not last in biglaw, since the most neurotic are also the biggest perfectionists, which is the personality type biglaw rewards. I make mistakes at work more often than I'd like. This is part of why my job occasionally makes it hard for me to be happy. But as long as I get to recharge with my family, my friends, and my girlfriend, and I don't forget what's really important in my life, I find little reason to complain.

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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby chrissyc » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:12 pm

when you expressed interest in the school...what exactly did you do? email them? call them? What did it look like? Who were you in correspondence with?

What was law school like? Did you click with people? Are you married? Were you in a relationship while going through law school? How was it if so?

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NZA
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby NZA » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:12 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
leeronalda wrote:Are you happy?
But as long as I get to recharge with my family, my friends, and my girlfriend, and I don't forget what's really important in my life, I find little reason to complain.


TITCR

Sounds interesting...thanks for sharing!

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Dark Horse
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Dark Horse » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:23 pm

chrissyc wrote:when you expressed interest in the school...what exactly did you do? email them? call them? What did it look like? Who were you in correspondence with?

What was law school like? Did you click with people? Are you married? Were you in a relationship while going through law school? How was it if so?


A few things, actually: I applied early decision, I wrote the optional "Why (schoolname)" essay, I had my recommendations mention my interest in the school, and I sent in (email/fax) letters of continued interest after I was deferred/waitlisted (to the admissions office). A lot of this you can fake, but a lot of it you can't. I told my school that I'd attend if admitted. That's not something you can or should say if you don't really mean it.

Law school was different for me, because it was filled with so many smart and ambitious people. My entire life prior to this, I tended to hang out with people who were slackers, enjoyed life, or simply didn't care about things like "status." It was a bit of an adjustment at first, because law students can be abrasive, self-important, and callous. During my first semester, I thought I'd never make any good friends in law school. After graduation, I was pleasantly surprised at how many strong friendships I'd made -- which made me think that sometimes it's less about the differences among people and more about who you're willing to give a chance to. But I was single throughout law school -- a product of my single-minded ambition -- and probably had more time to socialize than someone who might be in a long-term relationship.

If you're curious about how it's like if you're married and in law school, I can tell you that it varies. Some of my married friends were able to balance everything in such a way that sometimes I forgot they were married. Others I never got to know because they presumably spent time with their own family in their free time.

Aqualibrium
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:27 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
If you're curious about how it's like if you're married and in law school, I can tell you that it varies. Some of my married friends were able to balance everything in such a way that sometimes I forgot they were married. Others I never got to know because they presumably spent time with their own family in their free time.



And from what I've heard/seen, others get divorced, get divorced and date someone else in law school, get divorced and marry someone else in law school. LOL

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chrissyc
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby chrissyc » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:30 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
Dark Horse wrote:
If you're curious about how it's like if you're married and in law school, I can tell you that it varies. Some of my married friends were able to balance everything in such a way that sometimes I forgot they were married. Others I never got to know because they presumably spent time with their own family in their free time.



And from what I've heard/seen, others get divorced, get divorced and date someone else in law school, get divorced and marry someone else in law school. LOL


yowsa...not good. getting married on june 25th...we've been together only a short while and i love him more than life. i would never leave him...and i don't think he would ever leave me but i'm sure everyone feels this way when they get married. I hope it isn't too much of a strain on our relationship.

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Chicklets
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Re: T14 grad, former splitter, taking questions.

Postby Chicklets » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:37 pm

[quote]I used to have this entire plan figured out: three to five years at biglaw, then off as an AUSA or maybe one of the DA's offices. I still want to do that, but now I'm also open to other opportunities that may arise./quote]

Did you do anything during your summers that would be applicable to AUSA or DA's? What factors kept you from getting an offer from the DA's office? Were you geographically restricting yourself?

And thanks for your great information.




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