Undergrad as Firm Criterion

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Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:03 am

I went to a ghetto undergrad, let me put that out there. But tonight I was thinking about friends and classmates and how they did at OCI and *cough* beyond. I'm not going to speculate what people have for GPAs beyond a few people I know well, but I am going to assume that undergrad has little bearing on GPA. If that's true, it appears that undergrad is a pretty big consideration for firms. Classmates that went to Ivies/usual suspects seems to have done a lot better than the rest, and the few people I know that went to schools no ones heard of seem to have done particularly poorly.

At first I thought that this was silly. We all ended up at the same (t-14) law school, thus we're all equally qualified. But then I got to thinking about how absurd the preference for the t-14 is. When in comes down to it, I don't think that a UVA grad is much better than a UGA one. But the former looks way better on your website. I'll admit, when I was looking at firms as employers one of the things I focused on was where their attys went to school. If the law school is about prestige, why would undergrad not? Princeton/CLS really does look better than OSU/CLS, doesn't it?

This diatribe was really a roundabout way of framing a question: to what extent, hopefully backed up by some knowledge, do you all think UG plays into firm hiring?

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Renzo » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:I went to a ghetto undergrad, let me put that out there. But tonight I was thinking about friends and classmates and how they did at OCI and *cough* beyond. I'm not going to speculate what people have for GPAs beyond a few people I know well, but I am going to assume that undergrad has little bearing on GPA. If that's true, it appears that undergrad is a pretty big consideration for firms. Classmates that went to Ivies/usual suspects seems to have done a lot better than the rest, and the few people I know that went to schools no ones heard of seem to have done particularly poorly.

At first I thought that this was silly. We all ended up at the same (t-14) law school, thus we're all equally qualified. But then I got to thinking about how absurd the preference for the t-14 is. When in comes down to it, I don't think that a UVA grad is much better than a UGA one. But the former looks way better on your website. I'll admit, when I was looking at firms as employers one of the things I focused on was where their attys went to school. If the law school is about prestige, why would undergrad not? Princeton/CLS really does look better than OSU/CLS, doesn't it?

This diatribe was really a roundabout way of framing a question: to what extent, hopefully backed up by some knowledge, do you all think UG plays into firm hiring?

My completely unfounded guess? More than your 1L job, more than prior experience (unless it was at Goldman, etc.), less than your grades/law review status. The whole industry is one big prestige game, why would they ignore one more way to rank the worth of individuals?

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:26 am

Everything that will be on your resume will matter. Your undergrad is on your resume. It's that simple.

Anecdotally, I went to a reception (social event) at a firm ranked constantly ranked between 100 and 150 by Vault, and was introduced to a hiring partner at the same time as someone else in my class. The first question he asked was where we did our undergrads. I'm sure it was just a casual conversation starter for them at a 1L reception. But I said a UC school, my classmate said Yale. The hiring partners eyes lit up, and my classmate was suddenly the center of attention.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Unemployed » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:57 am

People I know to have outperformed their grades in last year's OCI had one or more of the following: top UG, banking/paralegal experience, or an applicable foreign language. They universally attribute their success to these factors (rather than pure luck or interviewing skills), but I am not sure there is causation here.

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A'nold
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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby A'nold » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:42 am

Yay, my regional state school will surely help me get a job!

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby OGR3 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:15 am

A'nold wrote:Yay, my regional state school will surely help me get a job!


FTW!

Prestige is worthless in my mind. I prefer to measure schools by the amount of incompetent grads I've encountered. The most prestigious school in my state is also home to the greatest proportion of idiots/jackasses.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby TTT-LS » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:10 pm

,
Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby 270910 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:13 pm

TTT-LS wrote:Most of the above is wrong. UG is close to irrelevant at oci in most cases. Your LS, grades, and journal will be the primary determinants. Everything beyond that will only help as a tiebreaker in marginal cases, and potentially with "ties" where those matter. So a 3.5 from CLS with a UG from OSU is > a 3.4 with UG from HYP.


I don't know the answer to this question personally, but I do know that TTT-LS is rarely wrong, so I am quoting his (her?) response.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Aeroplane » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:17 pm

I have no idea whether UG plays much role in OCI (I'd guess not), but I have seen several biglaw websites that offer the option of searching their attorneys by UG in addition to the option (offered by practically every biglaw firm website) of searching by law school. I thought that was very odd, and I still don't really understand the purpose. I could see maybe IP clients might like having someone w/a Caltech or MIT UG, but otherwise seems pointless.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:28 pm

So, I have no firsthand experience, but my career cervices (CCN) straight up told me unprompted that a top UG (HYPS, MIT and a few others) will give you a bump at OCI, especially in markets like New York and DC. Obviously not as important as grades, but they said that there is an appreciable effect across the board.

Anecdotally, a lot of the 3Ls I know from my undergrad did a lot "better than they should have" (as in just above median at CCN getting into Cravath, STB and Cleary) and attribute this to a combination of UG and interviewing skills. Obviously it's different in this economy, but I still think there's a boost.

Also, there are a few super-elite firms like Munger and WLRK that explicitly say that where you went to undergrad is a big factor for them, with Munger going so far as to ask you for your undergrad transcripts.

TLDR version: I think it matters if you went to a top 10 undergrad, but probably less than other factors.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:44 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:Most of the above is wrong. UG is close to irrelevant at oci in most cases. Your LS, grades, and journal will be the primary determinants. Everything beyond that will only help as a tiebreaker in marginal cases, and potentially with "ties" where those matter. So a 3.5 from CLS with a UG from OSU is > a 3.4 with UG from HYP.

Did you read the original post? The OP asked about how HE would do compared "classmates and how they did at OCI." I doubt many of his classmates at OCI were at different law schools, so your first point is missed. He didn't have his classmates grades to compare, stated that "undergrad has little bearing on GPA," and so removed focus away from that. And focused on something he could know about his classmates, and asked "to what extent, hopefully backed up by some knowledge, do you all think UG plays into firm hiring?"

The OP didn't even ask about getting into a Vault100 firm, just how firms at his schools OCI looked at undergrad. So, I'm calling BS. Everything beyond that is not a tie breaker. Grades and journal are a tie breaker when everything else is equal.

Wow, attacking a respected TLS poster under cover of anonymity. Smooth move, douchebag.

It seems apparent to me that TTT-LS read the original post and gave the appropriate response. What will distinguish you most is your LS, your grades, and journals/extracurricular activities. If you're talking about folks from the same LS then obviously grades and journals/ECs will be what differentiates you from your classmates. As was mentioned, anything beyond that is just kind of a tiebreaker (sure, it's probably nice to have a UG from Yale, but it's not going to launch you over someone with much better LS grades than you). The field should already be separated by grades and ECs, it'd be rare to actually be in a "tie" with someone else with very similar stats from your school at the same firm.

Unless you're attending a low-ranked regional school that sends all its top grads to the exact same few local firms. In that case, yes, differentiating yourself is going to be very hard. However, you can still overcome someone else's UG by doing more EC stuff yourself to build up your resume. Your actual legal experience will win over any kind of UG consideration.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby rando » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:07 pm

disco_barred wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:Most of the above is wrong. UG is close to irrelevant at oci in most cases. Your LS, grades, and journal will be the primary determinants. Everything beyond that will only help as a tiebreaker in marginal cases, and potentially with "ties" where those matter. So a 3.5 from CLS with a UG from OSU is > a 3.4 with UG from HYP.


I don't know the answer to this question personally, but I do know that TTT-LS is rarely wrong, so I am quoting his (her?) response.


+1. The above attacks are baseless. While many posters have anecdotal evidence that UG matters, they fail to parse out that many of the variables are dependent. LS, grades, and journal are definitely the primary determinants with journal being a distant third. Everything else is a tiebreaker unless you are applying IP specific etc.

I have a close connection to a hiring partner at a large firm. They sort OCI applications by GPA and LS. After you get the interview, other things may be a factor.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:17 pm

betasteve wrote:No reason for this to be anonymous, so I changed it.

Hahaha, 180!

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby A'nold » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:41 pm

The anonymous guy is just mad that his Princeton UG diploma won't get him that great biglaw job coming from Touro.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Unemployed » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:53 pm

TTT-LS wrote:Most of the above is wrong. UG is close to irrelevant at oci in most cases. Your LS, grades, and journal will be the primary determinants. Everything beyond that will only help as a tiebreaker in marginal cases, and potentially with "ties" where those matter. So a 3.5 from CLS with a UG from OSU is > a 3.4 with UG from HYP.


TBF, at my T14, there were many marginal cases. During our most recent OCI, top 1/3 was fine, bottom 1/3 was screwed, and middle 1/3 had mixed results. Since they only had 7 grades going into OCI, there was a fixed number (2 or 3) of close GPA's which constituted the middle. Most people in the middle didn't have LR. Therefore, tie-breakers played a big role ITE. At least this is what I heard from the current 2L's.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Posner » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:59 pm

.
Last edited by Posner on Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby fitzgerald86 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:07 pm

I had an HR manager at my biglaw firm (where I worked as a paralegal) tell me that firms 100% care about undergrad. It's definitely taken into consideration in the hiring process. That being said, law school/grades are definitely the first point of consideration.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:49 am

I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby A'nold » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:03 am

OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


I doubt most firms would pass on you b/c of your UG.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:04 am

OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


Sonoma State...f...t...w...?

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Unemployed » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:09 am

OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


If I had to guess, your UG/background will either be a big hit or a big miss, depending on the firm and the interviewer.

P.S. I didn't forget about PM

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:15 am

Unemployed wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


If I had to guess, your UG/background will either be a big hit or a big miss, depending on the firm and the interviewer.

P.S. I didn't forget about PM


Meh, I'd better get used to it. I already polarize people whether I mean to do so or not. :oops: My heart is still very much in public interest work, and that's what I'll be doing this summer, so it's only something to think about at this point. I'm just interested to see if anyone does have data to back up our varied hypotheses. This will be a grand adventure with no GPS.

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby A'nold » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:17 am

OperaSoprano wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


If I had to guess, your UG/background will either be a big hit or a big miss, depending on the firm and the interviewer.

P.S. I didn't forget about PM


Meh, I'd better get used to it. I already polarize people whether I mean to do so or not. :oops: My heart is still very much in public interest work, and that's what I'll be doing this summer, so it's only something to think about at this point. I'm just interested to see if anyone does have data to back up our varied hypotheses. This will be a grand adventure with no GPS.


As you go on in school you have to admit that biglaw is a very tempting, albeit evil, enticement. :wink:

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Re: Undergrad as Firm Criterion

Postby Unemployed » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:22 am

A'nold wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I'm interested in this, too. As an aside, I will say that even non T14 schools like mine are stuffed full of people who went to Ivies, top LACs, and BU/Emory type schools. I can't think of more than one or two people who attended their local state school, and I need extra fingers and toes to count all the Cornell, Columbia, and Penn grads in my class. There are just more of them available, so it makes sense that hiring partners would scoop them up.

My head of admissions actually told me that if I changed my mind and wanted a firm job, I would have to keep my grades up, and he conceded my transcript would need to dazzle. He didn't seem to think my UG school would bar me from any employment (I was lucky and got a summer offer at a nonprofit), but he said it would be a wild card. I think the bottom line is that no one really knows how much employers care, and it probably is variable.


If I had to guess, your UG/background will either be a big hit or a big miss, depending on the firm and the interviewer.

P.S. I didn't forget about PM


Meh, I'd better get used to it. I already polarize people whether I mean to do so or not. :oops: My heart is still very much in public interest work, and that's what I'll be doing this summer, so it's only something to think about at this point. I'm just interested to see if anyone does have data to back up our varied hypotheses. This will be a grand adventure with no GPS.


As you go on in school you have to admit that biglaw is a very tempting, albeit evil, enticement. :wink:


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