Firm Prospects 3L Year

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Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:27 am

Top 20% @ a CCN. Skipped OCI, background is public interest, summer will be public interest, interests are public interest, but still thinking that firm for a couple years after law school might give me the most options down the road. Given this, might have dropped the ball a bit by skipping OCI, but that happened already.

Feasible that I could snag a big law job in secondary market next year? Not taking a lot of corporate coursework either.

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A'nold
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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:43 am

This has been a question I've been wanting to post for days now but keep forgetting. Many of us are going to be transferring and as a result might have a hard time landing a 2L gig b/c we won't have grades at the new school yet. If you transfer to (or, as in the OP's case, are already at) at top 14 school and miss the 2L OCI train, what happens if you finish in the top 1/3 or even better and would have gotten a 2L OCI job "easily" (whatever that means ITE)? Good thread OP.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:27 am

A'nold- 3L OCI is nonexistent as is the 3L hiring in general (at least at large firms). I think the average number of interviews for 3L OCI this year was somewhere between 0-1 interviews at my school, and probably closer to the 0 side. 3L hiring typically only exists to fill in the gaps in 2L recruiting (e.g. if the firm needs one more entry level person (i.e. a bitch) in their corporate department, then they will hire a 3L). Lately firms have over-recruited SAs where their total summer offer rates where pretty low relative to past years (meaning they definitely don't need to dig into the 3L class). Put simply, if you don't get an offer out of 2L OCI, you missed the biglaw boat for life. Obviously, that makes transferring a lot bigger of a risk now since a lot of transfers aren't getting offers out of 2L OCI (unlike in the past where you could pretty much count on getting at least an offer somewhere if you transferred into the t14).

Anonymous User- I don't think it would make much sense for you to go work for a firm even if you have the opportunity to (it might be possible after a federal clerkship since you have the grades and are at a school where that's a possibility). From what I've heard, in the past PI organizations would gladly take someone exiting biglaw. Nowadays, it seems like you need to plan your career more strategically then that because there are some really strong PI candidates out there that showed a really strong interest in doing PI work (like yourself) where it makes more sense for the PI organization to hire them as oppose to someone exiting biglaw (since even PI organizations aren't really hiring right now, even they are becoming pretty selective). If you really want PI, I would say your best bet is just to stay on that track. If you're not sure what you want to do, then biglaw is the better option since it at least leaves you with some possibility to exit into PI, whereas PI --> biglaw is just not possible. I don't go to CCN so I don't know what your guys's 3L recruiting looks like, but I strongly suspect that if you want biglaw it's going to have to be through a fed clerkship (even more so because you are doing PI work your 2L summer, which firms will be really suspicious about).

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby 270910 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:33 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:A'nold- 3L OCI is nonexistent as is the 3L hiring in general (at least at large firms). [...] Put simply, if you don't get an offer out of 2L OCI, you missed the biglaw boat for life.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby edgarderby » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:09 am

Since they were asking about secondary markets, I don't agree.

If we define biglaw as New York, Chicago, D.C. LA....then yes. Secondary markets, I know 3Ls this year that got big law. I also have met and talked to people that lateraled to some of the biggest of these firms in certain cities I'm interested in after no more than a year or two doing something else (small firm, gov't, etc.).

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby 270910 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:11 am

edgarderby wrote:Since they were asking about secondary markets, I don't agree.

If we define biglaw as New York, Chicago, D.C. LA....then yes. Secondary markets, I know 3Ls this year that got big law. I also have met and talked to people that lateraled to some of the biggest of these firms in certain cities I'm interested in after no more than a year or two doing something else (small firm, gov't, etc.).


And I know dozens who failed to. It's not about plausibility, it's about probability.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby edgarderby » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:12 am

disco_barred wrote:
edgarderby wrote:Since they were asking about secondary markets, I don't agree.

If we define biglaw as New York, Chicago, D.C. LA....then yes. Secondary markets, I know 3Ls this year that got big law. I also have met and talked to people that lateraled to some of the biggest of these firms in certain cities I'm interested in after no more than a year or two doing something else (small firm, gov't, etc.).


And I know dozens who failed to. It's not about plausibility, it's about probability.



I know 100s who failed at 2L OCI. Therefore, using your reasoning, 2L hiring doesn't exist.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby booboo » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:53 am

edgarderby wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
And I know dozens who failed to. It's not about plausibility, it's about probability.



I know 100s who failed at 2L OCI. Therefore, using your reasoning, 2L hiring doesn't exist.


Thi application of logic is so wrong it almost hurts.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:32 am

Spyke, you wrote about missing the biglaw boat - I'm already aboard with a biglaw job, but I'm not sure it's the ideal firm for me or that I'll get an offer. My grades from fall were dramatically better than my 1L grades (I went top 25% -> top 15% or so), and I have a better resume than I did at 2L OCI. Do you guys think that I'm still out in the cold for 3L recruiting?

I'm also going to be in a foreign country that I'd like to practice in for study abroad next fall, and I'm wondering if that will help my chances with firms with offices in that country.

I don't know many good students who were no-offered (at T14, fwiw), so I'm curious what others have heard.
(Anon because my SN's paper trail greatly narrows down which firm I'm at)

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby edgarderby » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:47 am

booboo wrote:
edgarderby wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
And I know dozens who failed to. It's not about plausibility, it's about probability.



I know 100s who failed at 2L OCI. Therefore, using your reasoning, 2L hiring doesn't exist.


Thi application of logic is so wrong it almost hurts.


No, it isn't. Some firms are hiring 3Ls even in bad times. The city I'm thinking of, took as many 2Ls from here as 3Ls, 1.

So, apparently Notre Dame doesn't have 2L or 3L hiring, and never will ever again. Thanks 0L and 1L logic geniuses for helping me realize this.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:14 pm

,
Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:28 pm

OP here:

I realize 3L OCI is not the most vibrant playing field - I was thinking more along the lines of cold-submitting secondary market firms where I have some connections and trying to construct a believable narrative about why I want to work for a firm but missed the OCI boat and have done bleeding-heart PI stuff throughout law school. I'm not sure what that narrative would be...or if this is a strategy that will have any chance of success. Obviously need to hit up career services but I was just trying to get some initial impressions from the forum.

Seems like you guys are confirming my intuitions - pretty poor chances, even for those who are more demonstrably firm-oriented than myself- obviously clerkship would change things.

The problem is that,
Nowadays, it seems like you need to plan your career more strategically then that because there are some really strong PI candidates out there that showed a really strong interest in doing PI work (like yourself) where it makes more sense for the PI organization to hire them as oppose to someone exiting biglaw (since even PI organizations aren't really hiring right now, even they are becoming pretty selective).


PI market is really saturated with kids who spend their every waking hour organizing food drives for starving lemurs in Madagascar - if you have good grades and good experiences, but you aren't an absolute world-beater who eats, breathes, and shits public interest work, there isn't a whole lot out there for you. The fellowship market is tough as fuck, and over the course of this year, I've realized that committing to a PI career straight out of law school is akin to agreeing to highly uncertain job prospects and having to grind almost as hard as a young associate for years.

The OCI system is silly as hell.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby legends159 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:47 pm

why not apply directly to the firms then? Reach out to alums and ask if they can pass your resume/cover letter onto recruiting.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:11 pm

OP - I'll reiterate something XxSpyKEx mentioned: you should clerk. Seriously. It will of course help with firms, but more importantly it will open the elite PI doors. I hate this phrase, but it's truly a win-win.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Renzo » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP - I'll reiterate something XxSpyKEx mentioned: you should clerk. Seriously. It will of course help with firms, but more importantly it will open the elite PI doors. I hate this phrase, but it's truly a win-win.

Yes. But you say that like getting a clerkship is any easier than a firm job or a solid PI job in this economy.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:19 pm

Kirkland has recently posted positions for 3L's with an interest in employee benefits. Signs of changing times? One can only hope.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:16 pm

Man, the employment forum has really shown me how much I don't know about clerkships and firm jobs (mainly b/c I went to law school looking solely into local crim law). So, if you strike out at 2L OCI you are done for. However...if you can land a prestigous enough clerkship after school that might change things? What kind of clerkships are we talking here? COA?

A professor told me a story about a classmate that finished at the top of his class and couldn't get a biglaw job in the market he wanted to work in. Completely wiffed. Then, he clerked for a federal judge and he had offers lined up in his target city the next year. I know times were different in the 90's or whatever, but is this kind of how it works or are you still SOL for post graduate biglaw hiring?

I just don't want to close doors now that I may be able to transfer. Also along this line of reasoning, as I think xxSpyKexx(?) pointed out, it might be safer to stay at my t3 if transfer OCI sucks so badly. I know a guy that landed a sweet SA gig at 2L OCI with the state's most famous firm and he had two offers. He is on LR and has great grades, but I will also be on LR and have great grades, plus people are saying 2L OCI should be better this year (although I don't know if this will be the case at my school).

Finally, does anyone know how the Seattle market is doing as far as SA positions are concerned? If I get into a t14 as a transfer and have significant ties to Seattle, is it worth the gamble to go to the t14?

I guess I just find it a little hard to believe that one could graduate with great grades from, say, Northwestern and be completely shut out of even secondary markets. Just seems a bit counterintuitive. I mean, if a Columbia student finishes in the top 20% of his class, if he strikes out at 2L OCI he can't get a biglaw job anywhere in the country?

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:49 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:12 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
A'nold wrote:So, if you strike out at 2L OCI you are done for. However...if you can land a prestigous enough clerkship after school that might change things? What kind of clerkships are we talking here? COA?

COA is taking it too far. I think any federal district court of COA judge, plus most state supreme court judges would be enough to cause a lot of firms to take a second look at you. If you want to do corporate work, a BK judge would probably be worthwhile too.

I guess I just find it a little hard to believe that one could graduate with great grades from, say, Northwestern and be completely shut out of even secondary markets. Just seems a bit counterintuitive. I mean, if a Columbia student finishes in the top 20% of his class, if he strikes out at 2L OCI he can't get a biglaw job anywhere in the country?

The thing is, right now firms just are not looking outside of the OCI process, the recent Kirkland thing above aside. They'll look at you during 2L OCI and they'll look at you if you're a clerk, or if you want to lateral from another firm, but otherwise, they just don't look. So it almost doesn't matter how sweet your grades or school are, since nobody is going to lay eyes on your application. Plus, firms don't care much about 2L and 3L grades, since they can be gamed via easy classes, etc. That's why the poster above who said s/he's gone from top 25% --> top 15% isn't going to get any real benefit. Large firms want apples-to-apples comparisons, and that's what 1L grades provide.

All that aside, things do change when you start to talk about midlaw and small firms. I have very little expertise on those, so I'll keep it to this: I don't see much if any midlaw/small firm hiring of 3Ls at NU -- but then again, I'm not out there looking for one of those jobs, so I might not be seeing it b/c I'm not involved.



Thanks TTT-LS, that was a really informative post. I appreciate you helping out a 2L OCI newby. So, the clerkship path is one way to make up for a possible 2L OCI shutout for a transfer student then? It'd be nice to know that all of the doors have not been shut if I do miss out. I would love to clerk anyway and will likely be interning for a judge this summer (low level state, but still) so I may get a feel for if this is something I'd do.

This is kind of my situation right now. There is a good chance that at least one t14 will bite on a transfer app for me this summer. However, I am assured LR and have a decent chance of landing a good SA gig for next summer, even though my school is low ranked. It is the only school in the state and there is at least one decent secondary market here that loves to pick off the very top students. I've also heard that people with my grades land federal clerkships after graduation.

I guess in that regard staying wouldn't be the worst thing. I'll be honest though you guys, and maybe this is getting a little too personal for this forum, but I really want to go to a top school for myself, regardless of career options. I would love to know that I attended, like some of you, NU, or GULC, or even Cornell. It would be a great accomplishment considering where I've come from and what I've had to overcome. It just scares me that I have a young, just starting out family to take care of and I don't want to make a selfish, rash decision just because something would mean a lot to me. I want to know that if I do transfer I will have better options than staying put, and I just assumed that would be the case. This economy is weird. It has completely made conventional ls decisions more up-in-the-air and a lot less of a sure thing. I remember when I first started looking into law school about 4 years ago (here comes the old guy back in my day speech :) ) when it was t14=biglaw and anything you wanted in a law school career within reason and top 20% and Seattle University gave you a shot at Seattle biglaw, for example. You would transfer if you got into a t1 from a t2 because t1's were such a nice guarantee of a great career, for example, top 1/2 to 1/3 of Fordham and UIUC students could hope to land biglaw in Chicago and NYC. My point is, the idea that I could possibly get into GULC or another awesome school and come out working small law or something is just hard to fathom. I know it's true, but it kind of hits home for me now that I actually have a shot at one of these schools. I just can't see passing up a school like GULC to stay here at a t3 school because I have better job opportunities.

I know this wasn't really a question but it was nice to finally put my concerns down on "paper." I appreciate all the advice you guys have given. I can basically tell you the rankings of every law school in the country from memory, how each school does in its respective markets, cost, etc. but for some reason I just really lack a solid foundation of knowledge concerning this whole 2L OCI process. Thanks for taking your time to help us 1L's. :)

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Spyke, you wrote about missing the biglaw boat - I'm already aboard with a biglaw job, but I'm not sure it's the ideal firm for me or that I'll get an offer. My grades from fall were dramatically better than my 1L grades (I went top 25% -> top 15% or so), and I have a better resume than I did at 2L OCI. Do you guys think that I'm still out in the cold for 3L recruiting?

I'm also going to be in a foreign country that I'd like to practice in for study abroad next fall, and I'm wondering if that will help my chances with firms with offices in that country.

I don't know many good students who were no-offered (at T14, fwiw), so I'm curious what others have heard.
(Anon because my SN's paper trail greatly narrows down which firm I'm at)


Yes. You won't be out in the cold because of your grades, but because firms just aren't hiring 3Ls.

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:

I realize 3L OCI is not the most vibrant playing field - I was thinking more along the lines of cold-submitting secondary market firms where I have some connections and trying to construct a believable narrative about why I want to work for a firm but missed the OCI boat and have done bleeding-heart PI stuff throughout law school. I'm not sure what that narrative would be...or if this is a strategy that will have any chance of success. Obviously need to hit up career services but I was just trying to get some initial impressions from the forum.


I wouldn't waste your time. The firms aren't going to read it anyway. They'll take a glance and your resume and send you their typical form rejection letter. I would imagine top firms are getting 1000s of resumes for their 20 SA spots this year. They simply don't have the time to sit there and read every cover letter someone sends (particularly when they can look at your resume, see that you are a 3L, and see that they don't need any 3Ls that year without reading your cover letter). I realize you are considering a secondary market, but they are not much better. Most firms in secondary markets are smaller and take a very small number of SAs (e.g. one of the largest firms on the state I am in is around 150 attorneys and is taking 2 SAs this year). So essentially all 1000+ second year law students in this state are applying for those 2 SA spots (and that's for 2Ls!). You'd be crazy to think that you are going to squeeze in as a 3L at a firm like this. I would think your odds as a 3L would be better at a large Skadden type firm that is taking a larger summer class because the odds are better that they underhired by one person in some department and somehow your resume is going to be better then the other 1000+ 3Ls that apply for it (but I wouldn't count on it).

A'nold wrote:Man, the employment forum has really shown me how much I don't know about clerkships and firm jobs (mainly b/c I went to law school looking solely into local crim law). So, if you strike out at 2L OCI you are done for. However...if you can land a prestigous enough clerkship after school that might change things? What kind of clerkships are we talking here? COA?

A professor told me a story about a classmate that finished at the top of his class and couldn't get a biglaw job in the market he wanted to work in. Completely wiffed. Then, he clerked for a federal judge and he had offers lined up in his target city the next year. I know times were different in the 90's or whatever, but is this kind of how it works or are you still SOL for post graduate biglaw hiring?

I just don't want to close doors now that I may be able to transfer. Also along this line of reasoning, as I think xxSpyKexx(?) pointed out, it might be safer to stay at my t3 if transfer OCI sucks so badly. I know a guy that landed a sweet SA gig at 2L OCI with the state's most famous firm and he had two offers. He is on LR and has great grades, but I will also be on LR and have great grades, plus people are saying 2L OCI should be better this year (although I don't know if this will be the case at my school).

Finally, does anyone know how the Seattle market is doing as far as SA positions are concerned? If I get into a t14 as a transfer and have significant ties to Seattle, is it worth the gamble to go to the t14?

I guess I just find it a little hard to believe that one could graduate with great grades from, say, Northwestern and be completely shut out of even secondary markets. Just seems a bit counterintuitive. I mean, if a Columbia student finishes in the top 20% of his class, if he strikes out at 2L OCI he can't get a biglaw job anywhere in the country?


From my understanding, any federal clerkship opens the possibility of going into biglaw. Obviously the more prestigious the clerkship, the better the opportunities you will have post-clerkship. However, COA clerkships are extremely competitive. I think something like 3% of my t10 landed a COA clerkship out of the c/o 2009.

Also keep in mind how competitive ALL federal clerkships are going to be now. It's pretty much everyone's backup plan into biglaw. Even people who wouldn't have ever even considered clerking in a good economy now all of a sudden want to so that they can get into biglaw. I remember reading someone on abovethelaw.com about how GULC sent out an email to all 2L telling them to apply for clerkships even if they have 2L SAs lined up and that they are taking a huge risk if they don't. So essentially, my thoughts are that practically every single law student at a t30 school or better is going to be applying for clerkships, meaning its going to be really, really competitive to get a clerkship. Typically what that means is if you couldn't even get a biglaw SA out of OCI, there's no way in hell you are going to get a clerkship. However, I think transfers are in a little more unique situation because it's completely possible that you might actually end up at top 10% or top 5% of that t14 that you transfer into (it's actually not that uncommon either). So that coupled with a journal could give you a shot at clerking, but I wouldn't plan on it (it's almost like going to a t3 and planning on being the top student in your class).

Addressing your last point- it does seem a bit counterintuitive at first glance, but from a firm's perspective it's genius. By simply hiring a 2L SA class and then only hiring people who work out from there firms hedge a lot of risk. If the firm messes up and hires a 2L SA that doesn't fit into the firm they can simply no-offer him, and that only costs the firm $30K. If a firm hires a 3L and then realize that the guy doesn't fit with the firm they are out a lot more then $30K by the time they can send him out the door. The system doesn't work out very well with transfers (since they don't have any grades by 2L OCI at their transfer school), but the total transfer class in the t14 isn't very large where it something that firms even need to think about.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:55 pm

Thanks. So, do you still recommend transferring to a t14 if you are 1st in your section at a t3 that carries decent state-wide rep? I just don't see how I could give up on a t14 to stay......if GULC comes knocking I'm about 100% sure I'll be answering.

Edit: Also, are federal clerkships more obtainable in less sought after markets? One more question (sorry about the amount of questions). Is LR the only journal that federal judges care about?

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:26 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby kings84_wr » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:34 pm

TTT-LS, Do you have any knowledge on transfer Clerkship options? Im about top 5% at Indiana Bloomington, and I am very interested in transferring, but I also wouldn't want to ruin any chance at getting a clerkship. If I things stay the same, I would grade on to LR here, so I also would be losing that as well.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby A'nold » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:16 pm

kings84_wr wrote:TTT-LS, Do you have any knowledge on transfer Clerkship options? Im about top 5% at Indiana Bloomington, and I am very interested in transferring, but I also wouldn't want to ruin any chance at getting a clerkship. If I things stay the same, I would grade on to LR here, so I also would be losing that as well.



We are in sort of the same position, kings84. Even though my school is less mobile, they are both regional and both the best in the state. It seems like we also have the same concerns.

Thanks again, TTT-LS, I'm sending you a pm, I hope you don't mind.

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Re: Firm Prospects 3L Year

Postby Lawschoolman » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:06 pm

Plus, firms don't care much about 2L and 3L grades, since they can be gamed via easy classes, etc. That's why the poster above who said s/he's gone from top 25% --> top 15% isn't going to get any real benefit. Large firms want apples-to-apples comparisons, and that's what 1L grades provide.


I see your point, although I'd add this for whatever it's worth. At the end of the day, the GPA is what stands out the most and what stands out first. If your transcript 2L and 3L years are full of "law and ..." classes, some eyebrows will be raised. However, there are unlikely to be any major consequences of taking a "law and...." class here and there to boost a GPA.




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