Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

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echamberlin8
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Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby echamberlin8 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:31 pm

I have a question. How much does working at a good law firm (I work at the #15 law firm on the American Lawyer A-list as a project assistant/entry-level paralegal...been here a little over a month) help my chances of getting into a solid law school (T14). I have a 3.73 undergrad GPA (I graduated in '09), and just started working at this law firm. I intend to apply for fall '13. I haven't taken my LSATs yet, but am hoping to do them in June.

Just curious.

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splitbrain
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby splitbrain » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:41 pm

Fair question. It'll help a bit but it's going to take a back seat to your LSAT, GPA, and personal statement. It'll probably help you more during OCI.

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Ludo!
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby Ludo! » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:41 pm

Having work experience of any kind is a good soft to have, but ultimately it's not going to matter nearly as much as your gpa and lsat. When it comes time for OCI though, it will be a nice boost.

Also, just say you work at a V25 law firm, nobody uses that A-list thing.

duckmoney
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby duckmoney » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:41 pm

It does not help you. It will put you in the running, but nothing to distinguish you from the other thousands of very well qualified candidates applying to the T14 law schools.

Do really well on the "LSATs" if you want to get in to a top school.

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echamberlin8
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby echamberlin8 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:46 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:Having work experience of any kind is a good soft to have, but ultimately it's not going to matter nearly as much as your gpa and lsat. When it comes time for OCI though, it will be a nice boost.

Also, just say you work at a V25 law firm, nobody uses that A-list thing.


Interesting. Well, I'm glad I work at a V25 one too.

Yeah, I'm aware it won't help much. I'm hoping to get 170+ on the LSATs. Going to start studying now for them.

bp shinners
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby bp shinners » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:01 pm

Anecdotally, I had a friend who was a paralegal at a Vault Top 5 for several years. His application season turned out about where you'd expect based on his numbers.

When OCI comes around, however, I'm sure he'll be in a better position.

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Lincoln
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby Lincoln » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:24 pm

bp shinners wrote:When OCI comes around, however, I'm sure he'll be in a better position.


I seriously doubt this. This seems to be based on some speculation by 0Ls and 1Ls that any work experience is a boost. There are innumerable examples of people with experience as paralegals who strike out, or underperform. I think it's an advantage to have worked in a law firm because you see what the law firm world is like (and what it's like working for insane partners), but the people who outperform their peers based on work experience generally have more substantive work experience in a field that teaches skills that complement law: finance, consulting, computer science, engineering, military, etc. Being a paralegal does very little to prepare you for being a lawyer, and law firms are more than aware.

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echamberlin8
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby echamberlin8 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:09 am

Lincoln wrote:
bp shinners wrote:When OCI comes around, however, I'm sure he'll be in a better position.


I seriously doubt this. This seems to be based on some speculation by 0Ls and 1Ls that any work experience is a boost. There are innumerable examples of people with experience as paralegals who strike out, or underperform. I think it's an advantage to have worked in a law firm because you see what the law firm world is like (and what it's like working for insane partners), but the people who outperform their peers based on work experience generally have more substantive work experience in a field that teaches skills that complement law: finance, consulting, computer science, engineering, military, etc. Being a paralegal does very little to prepare you for being a lawyer, and law firms are more than aware.


Welp, at least it pays the bills. :|

bp shinners
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:58 pm

Lincoln wrote:
bp shinners wrote:When OCI comes around, however, I'm sure he'll be in a better position.


This seems to be based on some speculation by 0Ls and 1Ls that any work experience is a boost. There are innumerable examples of people with experience as paralegals who strike out, or underperform.


It's actually based on some other personal examples I know. I'm sure there are those out there who are paralegals and strike out (or underperform, whatever that means in the realm of OCI - I guess based off their 1L grades? But then, I can't see having paralegal experience being a negative). But from my experience, it's a bit of a boost in OCI to have a few years experience (even as a paralegal) over not having any work experience at all.

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echamberlin8
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby echamberlin8 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:58 am

bp shinners wrote:
Lincoln wrote:
bp shinners wrote:When OCI comes around, however, I'm sure he'll be in a better position.


This seems to be based on some speculation by 0Ls and 1Ls that any work experience is a boost. There are innumerable examples of people with experience as paralegals who strike out, or underperform.


It's actually based on some other personal examples I know. I'm sure there are those out there who are paralegals and strike out (or underperform, whatever that means in the realm of OCI - I guess based off their 1L grades? But then, I can't see having paralegal experience being a negative). But from my experience, it's a bit of a boost in OCI to have a few years experience (even as a paralegal) over not having any work experience at all.


Yeah, I tend to agree with you. It certainly doesn't hurt, and now I do have experience working in a big law firm, working with lawyers, and have some general background information about the law industry itself. Before this job, I worked for 1.5 years at a federal government contracting company. So that gives me some experience outside of law.

r6_philly
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:37 am

On employment: having worked at a law firm adds to your character and maturity, but not much more - everyone will have to master the skills of working in a law firm. Whereas if you have substantive experience in another field, it adds to your skill set and sets you apart from other candidates. Law firms get more for the same money. Also paralegal skills may not readily transfer to lawyer skills. As a matter of fact, if you worked for years as a paralegal, but didn't do well in your 1L year, it may negatively impact you because you should have a decent foundation for law.

The one big advantage is the networking opportunities. These are people you can call on before OCI.

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echamberlin8
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Re: Does Working at a T20 Law Firm Help?

Postby echamberlin8 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:23 pm

This is true. Definitely can network with a lot of lawyers who work here at Wilmer, which I've actually been doing a lot today. A counsel here just gave me a few of her law school textbooks to help me out before law school.




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