Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

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Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:07 am

Median at school is a B+. My first semester grades are two B+s, two B-s and one B. Been toying with the idea of dropping out because this puts me squarely (as far as I can tell) at the bottom 25% (my GPA is slightly above 3.0), and the general consensus is that this is the kiss of death ITE. No back up outside law school. Did everything I thought I needed to do--attended all classes, understood most of what was being said, did all readings, some hornbooks the final two weeks--but not enough exam prep (especially practicing on old exams). Know that Big Law is now tenuously hanging on a miracle straight-A run second semester. Can reconcile myself to finding a job, preferably doing immigration work, if said miracle does not materialize. URM on half-scholly, though still graduating with +100K debt if I continue due to previously semi-self-funded liberal arts degrees. Should I ditch or should I stick with it? I have some genuine interest in the practice of law (have some previous experience in a legal environment). Any advice (non-flame) would be appreciated.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:22 am

Trade places with me?

Kidding, but unless you are really just gunning for BigLaw it doesn't seem to me like you're in a particularly bad position. You didn't by any means get bad grades (close to B+ avg), though obviously it didn't work out how you would like.

I think the only way to correctly even consider answering this as 'drop out' is if you are 100% set on BigLaw, and even then, with all the 'diversity' hires going on in the legal market you might get BigLaw even without the usual numbers.

Just IMO.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby plum » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:32 am

how's the LRAP at your school

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Veyron » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:38 am

I am curious to know the answer, though I'm praying that it will be irrelevant.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:46 am

plum wrote:how's the LRAP at your school


From what I've heard (and I don't know much), LRAP at my school is stingier than at other t-14's. I'll have to do some research tomorrow and make some calculations. Though it's nice to know that there's that option in case I decide to go the starving legal aid/immigration work route. However, my financial life will be in a coma for many, many years (and that scares me).

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby theantiscalia » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
plum wrote:how's the LRAP at your school


From what I've heard (and I don't know much), LRAP at my school is stingier than at other t-14's. I'll have to do some research tomorrow and make some calculations. Though it's nice to know that there's that option in case I decide to go the starving legal aid/immigration work route. However, my financial life will be in a coma for many, many years (and that scares me).


Not really. Student loans will be capped at 10-15% of your income, and eventually the loans will be forgiven. It sucks to have your wages cut by 15%, but you won't starve, and on $50,000 in a low COL location you'll be better off than the vast majority of Americans.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby warumnicht » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:12 am

It's true that with LRAP and IBR, you won't be in a dire financial situation if you go the legal aid route (though some people on this board are saying that because IBR is relatively new, there's a possibility that it won't last). You also need to consider your undergraduate loans and any private loans that you're taking out for law school. LRAP differs from school to school, but its basic incarnation will only help you out with federal law school loans.

If you take that into account, though, I don't think that your current situation warrants dropping out quite yet. I'd wait until you get your second semester grades. Heck, with OCI being moved up as early as it is at many schools, there's a chance (especially if you improve your GPA) that you could try for BigLaw through OCI and see if you get any offers before tuition for 2L is even due!

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Veyron » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:31 am

warumnicht wrote:It's true that with LRAP and IBR, you won't be in a dire financial situation if you go the legal aid route (though some people on this board are saying that because IBR is relatively new, there's a possibility that it won't last). You also need to consider your undergraduate loans and any private loans that you're taking out for law school. LRAP differs from school to school, but its basic incarnation will only help you out with federal law school loans.

If you take that into account, though, I don't think that your current situation warrants dropping out quite yet. I'd wait until you get your second semester grades. Heck, with OCI being moved up as early as it is at many schools, there's a chance (especially if you improve your GPA) that you could try for BigLaw through OCI and see if you get any offers before tuition for 2L is even due!


How is op going to get a PI job if he can't get biglaw. PI jobs are pretty competitive.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:46 am

Veyron wrote:
warumnicht wrote:It's true that with LRAP and IBR, you won't be in a dire financial situation if you go the legal aid route (though some people on this board are saying that because IBR is relatively new, there's a possibility that it won't last). You also need to consider your undergraduate loans and any private loans that you're taking out for law school. LRAP differs from school to school, but its basic incarnation will only help you out with federal law school loans.

If you take that into account, though, I don't think that your current situation warrants dropping out quite yet. I'd wait until you get your second semester grades. Heck, with OCI being moved up as early as it is at many schools, there's a chance (especially if you improve your GPA) that you could try for BigLaw through OCI and see if you get any offers before tuition for 2L is even due!


How is op going to get a PI job if he can't get biglaw. PI jobs are pretty competitive.



That's a good question. I was wondering the same thing. Would it matter that I'm a native Spanish speaker, have had prior and extensive pro-bono experience, and come from a demographic that is a target client population of a large number of immigrant PI non-profs and other outfits? I'm obviously going to give it my all to improve those second semester grades (my #1 priority above all else will be on improving test-taking skills) so that BigLaw is at least a consideration. But are PI jobs just as grade-heavy, cutthroat and competitive? Or are they a little less so?

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Veyron » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Veyron wrote:
warumnicht wrote:It's true that with LRAP and IBR, you won't be in a dire financial situation if you go the legal aid route (though some people on this board are saying that because IBR is relatively new, there's a possibility that it won't last). You also need to consider your undergraduate loans and any private loans that you're taking out for law school. LRAP differs from school to school, but its basic incarnation will only help you out with federal law school loans.

If you take that into account, though, I don't think that your current situation warrants dropping out quite yet. I'd wait until you get your second semester grades. Heck, with OCI being moved up as early as it is at many schools, there's a chance (especially if you improve your GPA) that you could try for BigLaw through OCI and see if you get any offers before tuition for 2L is even due!


How is op going to get a PI job if he can't get biglaw. PI jobs are pretty competitive.



That's a good question. I was wondering the same thing. Would it matter that I'm a native Spanish speaker, have had prior and extensive pro-bono experience, and come from a demographic that is a target client population of a large number of immigrant PI non-profs and other outfits? I'm obviously going to give it my all to improve those second semester grades (my #1 priority above all else will be on improving test-taking skills) so that BigLaw is at least a consideration. But are PI jobs just as grade-heavy, cutthroat and competitive? Or are they a little less so?


As far as I understand, most of the ones that pay a wage on which you can comfortably live are. Also, Spanish skills are a dime a dozen. The history of PI should help, lack of such a history is a big reason that many biglaw rejects get turned down for PI gigs.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:47 am

You are bottom 10%. You mentioned that you are a URM. Do not let that be what keep you in school if biglaw is your goal. Shit is rough out there.

::edit:: On the other hand, a less miraculous recovery of a 3.3 or 3.4 might give you a shot at something in biglaw.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby bigben » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:06 am

Kohinoor wrote:You are bottom 10%. You mentioned that you are a URM. Do not let that be what keep you in school if biglaw is your goal. Shit is rough out there.

::edit:: On the other hand, a less miraculous recovery of a 3.3 or 3.4 might give you a shot at something in biglaw.


What? 3.1 or so doesn't seem like bottom 10% at all.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:22 pm

Nice attempt at Cornell trolling. It doesn't belong with the other schools listed placement wise.

I would stay with those grades. The fact that you are URM means you should definitely stay with those grades.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Nice attempt at Cornell trolling. It doesn't belong with the other schools listed placement wise.

I would stay with those grades. The fact that you are URM means you should definitely stay with those grades.


Yes it does.

I would stay with URM grades like that.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby RVP11 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:30 pm

I think people ITT are overestimating how much being URM helps and underestimating how well a 3.1 (which sounds more like bottom quarter or bottom third) at MVPBDCN can do.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby A&O » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:49 pm

Yes it does.


No, it doesn't.

RVP11 wrote:I think people ITT are overestimating how much being URM helps and underestimating how well a 3.1 (which sounds more like bottom quarter or bottom third) at MVPBDCN can do.


I think this is right.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:52 pm

I remember looking at UVA's typical grade distribution, and 3.17 was 25th percentile there based on the data I had. If that's true, then if OP is at a school like UVA, they're easily in the bottom quarter.

I'm not saying OP is unemployable, but I am saying that OP is going to have a very, very hard time if they do not figure out what they did wrong on their exams and significantly improve second semester.

Exam prep is crucial. If you learned all of the law that you needed to know, then you did half the work necessary to get good grades. What you can do is sit down with your professors and talk to them about your exams (one or more of them should be willing to schedule a time to sit down with you and go over your exam answers) and explain what you should have done instead of what you did.

You can also read all the exam-taking tips here and try to spot what you failed to do before. Poor grades often means not knowing how to apply the law, rather than not knowing the law. You've got to learn not just the law but how to apply it in order to do well.

What you're asking is very nebulous at this point. Your odds of doing well in the job hunt are very poor from where you are right now. However, if you can pull things up significantly from where you are now, you can still become an employable graduate. Regarding becoming employable, the only thing I can really suggest is this:

Focus on public interest as much as possible. Start doing all the PI internships you can, during the school year, during winter break, during spring break, everything. Sell yourself like crazy as a PI-loving fool. There are a couple reasons for this. One is that a lot of PI organizations are far less focused on grades, and more on your commitment and how much you believe in public service. The other is that most public interest orgs don't do the BigLaw cycle of "get a 2L internship with us or we won't hire you". Most public interest orgs, you apply to as a 3L. That means you'll have more than one semester worth of grades to compensate for this bad semester, if you really work on fixing whatever you did wrong, before it's time to go and get hired.

You might be able to pull yourself up to above or at least at median by your 3L year, and being median-or-better plus having a whole bunch of PI experience could make you employable to PI orgs. Then you'll have IBR to back you up and manage your loans, and forgive the outstanding balance after 10 years.

Keep in mind that this is far from a foolproof strategy. Getting PI jobs is super-competitive right now due to the economy. most PI orgs you'll have a shot at will have a very low starting salary (possibly as low as $35K/yr), and that if you genuinely have no interest in PI work, then feigning it for a while will just make you miserable and bitter and undermine you professionally. You need to believe it yourself to convince them that you believe it, enough to get you a job. But you said you had genuine interest in the practice of law, and if that interest extends to PI work in any real way, then this is at least one option for you that's outside of the normal "get awesome grades by the end of 1L or you're screwed" discussion that people have here.

This is just the best shot I think you have of being employable at all when you graduate. Think about it, consider it, and if you can stomach it, then that's your "at least I can still get a job in the law" plan. If you're not okay with that, and your gut reaction is "but I wanted BigLaw", then that should tell you that what you really want at this point is probably to drop out.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:52 pm

A&O wrote:
Yes it does.


No, it doesn't.

RVP11 wrote:I think people ITT are overestimating how much being URM helps and underestimating how well a 3.1 (which sounds more like bottom quarter or bottom third) at MVPBDCN can do.


I think this is right.


NYC is hotter than any other market right now and Cornell does good there. I bet Class of 2012 Cornell places better than Michigan and Berkeley.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby A&O » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:22 pm

NYC is hotter than any other market right now and Cornell does good there. I bet Class of 2012 Cornell places better than Michigan and Berkeley.


I'm not sure how the comparison between Cornell and Michigan and Berkeley is at all appropriate. And if you look at the GPA-offer charts of Cornell and compare them with grade data from M or V, Cornell has a clear disadvantage even at NYC firms. Even though my Cornell chart is from 2007, a boom year, the results are pathetic.

So, even if NYC is the hottest market, I'm really unsure that Cornell does "good" there.

Edit: And this discussion is irrelevant in this context. If OP is at MVP and bottom-quarter, he's probably not getting biglaw. I strongly doubt there's a difference between how the bottom quarter does between MVP and Cornell.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:52 pm

A&O wrote:
NYC is hotter than any other market right now and Cornell does good there. I bet Class of 2012 Cornell places better than Michigan and Berkeley.


I'm not sure how the comparison between Cornell and Michigan and Berkeley is at all appropriate. And if you look at the GPA-offer charts of Cornell and compare them with grade data from M or V, Cornell has a clear disadvantage even at NYC firms. Even though my Cornell chart is from 2007, a boom year, the results are pathetic.

So, even if NYC is the hottest market, I'm really unsure that Cornell does "good" there.

Edit: And this discussion is irrelevant in this context. If OP is at MVP and bottom-quarter, he's probably not getting biglaw. I strongly doubt there's a difference between how the bottom quarter does between MVP and Cornell.


What GPA charts? If you look at NLJ data and V100 data from before ITE Cornell placed as good or better than M.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:11 pm

RVP11 wrote:I think people ITT are overestimating how much being URM helps and underestimating how well a 3.1 (which sounds more like bottom quarter or bottom third) at MVPBDCN can do.


If OP does median next semester he could be at 3.2, probably right at the bottom third mark. I know multiple people with those grades that got biglaw at my school. They were non-URMs with work experience. I don't think OP would be worse off.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:13 pm

OP should talk to career services or someone who knows about URM hiring.

URM hiring seems to be fairly separate from other hiring. So while he may be below median for everyone, he may not be that bad compared to his competition.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby A&O » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:24 pm

What GPA charts? If you look at NLJ data and V100 data from before ITE Cornell placed as good or better than M.


Grade charts: Charts from the schools that show the average GPA of students who received callbacks or offers from a given firm.

I think that would be more accurate than your data.

Thus far, I have Cornell, NU, Virginia, Michigan, NYU, CLS, and my own experiences from HYS.

Some of the data above are not strictly grade charts (i.e., the CLS stuff just shows the proportion who were Stone or above).

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby SemperLegal » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:26 pm

Can the OP update the rest of us in a few months? I, and I am sure many other TLS'ers, are very curious as to the actual outcome of this situation.

I wish you luck.

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Re: Possible bottom 25% at MVPNDC. What should I do?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:27 pm

A&O wrote:
What GPA charts? If you look at NLJ data and V100 data from before ITE Cornell placed as good or better than M.


Grade charts: Charts from the schools that show the average GPA of students who received callbacks or offers from a given firm.

I think that would be more accurate than your data.


Average GPA isn't a particularly useful you really want to look at CPA cut offs.

But post them. It would be fascinating to look at.

NLJ numbers don't lie. Prior to '09 Cornell did better. But Michigan had more clerks. Overall they are peer schools.




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