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Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:51 am
by Anonymous User
Maybe this is something that is dependent on the individual firm, but is it normally the case that grades are quite as much an issue during the callback phase? I figure that perhaps since someone has already looked at them during OCI and decided that you sort of "pass" that initial screening in terms of 1) not being an asocial lunatic and 2) have sufficient academic credentials for the firm, it may no longer play a role for callback interviews.

If that is the case it would be nice, because correctly selling myself and making a good impression is something that is still in my control. My grades unfortunately are not, and I would hate to lose an offer because another person took a look at my transcript and decided that is wasn't quite good enough.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:02 am
by theduder
interested in the answer to this

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:08 am
by Wholigan
I believe the V15 interviewer taking questions indicated that grades/resume still come into play at the offer stage, but to a lesser extent, and they do take the "whole package" into consideration on callbacks.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:13 am
by lawfirmrecruiter
Anonymous User wrote:Maybe this is something that is dependent on the individual firm, but is it normally the case that grades are quite as much an issue during the callback phase? I figure that perhaps since someone has already looked at them during OCI and decided that you sort of "pass" that initial screening in terms of 1) not being an asocial lunatic and 2) have sufficient academic credentials for the firm, it may no longer play a role for callback interviews.

If that is the case it would be nice, because correctly selling myself and making a good impression is something that is still in my control. My grades unfortunately are not, and I would hate to lose an offer because another person took a look at my transcript and decided that is wasn't quite good enough.


Usually once you get to the callback phase, firms are looking at "fit" and specific need. While grades are still being considered, it is to a lesser extent.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:17 am
by Anonymous User
I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:18 am
by TaipeiMort
I guess my question is, for what logical reason they would take you back on a CB and spend ~$2500 on you (non-billed hours by interviewing attorneys plus airfare and other expenses) so that they could eliminate you on the sole basis of grades while you are out there. I am guessing it matters when they are trying to decide between you and someone else they really like, but really have room for one person.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:30 am
by Anonymous User
TaipeiMort wrote:I guess my question is, for what logical reason they would take you back on a CB and spend ~$2500 on you (non-billed hours by interviewing attorneys plus airfare and other expenses) so that they could eliminate you on the sole basis of grades while you are out there. I am guessing it matters when they are trying to decide between you and someone else they really like, but really have room for one person.


OP here. You're probably right; that makes the most intuitive sense. It is only that my experience with this whole process so far is that for a large number of firms, grades are a dispositive factor. I would like for the whole being-evaluated-almost-solely-by-law-school-grades thing to end as soon as possible so I can move on with my life.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:06 am
by TaipeiMort
Anonymous User wrote:
TaipeiMort wrote:I guess my question is, for what logical reason they would take you back on a CB and spend ~$2500 on you (non-billed hours by interviewing attorneys plus airfare and other expenses) so that they could eliminate you on the sole basis of grades while you are out there. I am guessing it matters when they are trying to decide between you and someone else they really like, but really have room for one person.


OP here. You're probably right; that makes the most intuitive sense. It is only that my experience with this whole process so far is that for a large number of firms, grades are a dispositive factor. I would like for the whole being-evaluated-almost-solely-by-law-school-grades thing to end as soon as possible so I can move on with my life.


I think grades are such a factor because for most people there are few other dispositive factors for firms to rely upon.

How cool do you have to be to work with for firms to take you instead of someone who has shown much greater acumen for legal work through grades? Probably a lot.

I think that game-changers that allow firms to reasonably overlook grades (ie. taking you from the top 30% instead of 10%) are really unique, game-changing professional experiences.

For example, for a San Diego firm it might be relevant work in biotech, in Houston it might be oil/gas work, in Palo Alto or OC it might be VC work.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:13 am
by KamaalTheAbstract
Grades are not a proxy for ability to do associate work.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:53 am
by terribleperson
KamaalTheAbstract wrote:Grades are not a proxy for ability to do associate work.


You're so much more sophisticated than top law firms.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:14 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:02 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


Interesting. One of my DPW interviewers was the most awkward person I've ever met in my entire life.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:23 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.


Nah not really, they use both rounds to eliminate people. Going by HYS stats, they eliminate 40% at the screening interview and then another 40% at the callback stage.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:25 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


Interesting. All but one of my DPW interviewers were the most awkward people I've ever met in my entire life.


ftfy

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:04 pm
by KamaalTheAbstract
terribleperson wrote:
KamaalTheAbstract wrote:Grades are not a proxy for ability to do associate work.


You're so much more sophisticated than top law firms.


You obviously have never summered anywhere so you should probably stay out of the conversation.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:19 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.


Nah not really, they use both rounds to eliminate people. Going by HYS stats, they eliminate 40% at the screening interview and then another 40% at the callback stage.


Columbia, which is the one place from which we have reliable stats publicly available on this, says that they give offers to just 20-25% of callbacks, which is way, way lower than any other firm (the lowest otherwise are in the 40-50% range). Anecdotally, I know a ton of people for whom DPW is their only V10 callback, which seems to me a strong sign that their screener standards are pretty lax (and would match with their really selective callback process).

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:22 pm
by terribleperson
KamaalTheAbstract wrote:
terribleperson wrote:
KamaalTheAbstract wrote:Grades are not a proxy for ability to do associate work.


You're so much more sophisticated than top law firms.


You obviously have never summered anywhere so you should probably stay out of the conversation.


If you ran a law firm, and you would not institute grade-blind hiring, then your post is pointless.

Quality grades do not guarantee quality associate performance. We know. But if you have discovered a better predictive factor than grades, then I am sure we, and the law firms that look up to you, would love to hear about it.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:35 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.


Nah not really, they use both rounds to eliminate people. Going by HYS stats, they eliminate 40% at the screening interview and then another 40% at the callback stage.


Columbia, which is the one place from which we have reliable stats publicly available on this, says that they give offers to just 20-25% of callbacks, which is way, way lower than any other firm (the lowest otherwise are in the 40-50% range). Anecdotally, I know a ton of people for whom DPW is their only V10 callback, which seems to me a strong sign that their screener standards are pretty lax (and would match with their really selective callback process).

Dechert also only gives offers to about 25-30% of CBs, I think.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:36 pm
by downstream
Grades are not used as a proxy for someone's legal acumen. Performance in Torts means very little about potential performance as an associate.

Grades are a proxy for one's potential for success at the challenge they are tasked with. Good grades show that you were able to go into a new environment, quickly learn what you needed to do to succeed and then actually get it done. This is the same thing the firm will expect of you when they bring you on board as an associate. They aren't looking for legal wizardry as evidenced by top 1L grades. They are looking for someone that succeeds at what they do and, unfortunately, top grades as a 1L show this.

At the callback stage, you have the chance to show them that you will be successful in spite of less than stellar grades. A good personality will absolutely overcome a less than stellar GPA at the callback stage. There is something about you that at least one person liked, thus, they brought you back and want others to meet you. If grades were going to put you out of the running, they wouldn't be going to great lengths to get partners to sit down with you, fly you out and put you up at the Ritz. Believe me.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:39 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.


Nah not really, they use both rounds to eliminate people. Going by HYS stats, they eliminate 40% at the screening interview and then another 40% at the callback stage.


Columbia, which is the one place from which we have reliable stats publicly available on this, says that they give offers to just 20-25% of callbacks, which is way, way lower than any other firm (the lowest otherwise are in the 40-50% range). Anecdotally, I know a ton of people for whom DPW is their only V10 callback, which seems to me a strong sign that their screener standards are pretty lax (and would match with their really selective callback process).


Actually there are two schools with reliable stats, Columbia and Harvard... and Harvard stats show 55 to 60% offer rates during the callback stage. I don't know what it would be for CCN, but these numbers are also probably fairly indicative of both Stanford and Yale.

Of course these numbers are still quite lower compared to many other V10 firms, showing that Davis Polk does actually use its callbacks as an evaluative process (unlike say S&C which gave 100% offers to students who got callbacks at H last year).

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:41 pm
by omgwtfhls
Before my callback interview at a V10, I got an e-mail asking for an electronic copy of my grades, and during the callbacks I saw that all of my interviewers had a copy of it. I thought I had a poor shot at getting a CB there in the first place (due to my meh grades) so I wonder if they happened to lose the transcript I gave them at OCI and accidentally offered me a CB :P Either way, my impression was that grades certainly do still matter at this stage, and it makes sense that they would at least be used to differentiate between two otherwise similar candidates.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:05 pm
by LawSchoolWannaBe
From my experience on the other side, our firm gives us a sheet to fill out asking about various things, including credentials. There's no real way to know how much each interviewer will care about grades, but they have a chance to give their input.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:10 pm
by grash
downstream wrote:Grades are not used as a proxy for someone's legal acumen. Performance in Torts means very little about potential performance as an associate.

Grades are a proxy for one's potential for success at the challenge they are tasked with. Good grades show that you were able to go into a new environment, quickly learn what you needed to do to succeed and then actually get it done. This is the same thing the firm will expect of you when they bring you on board as an associate. They aren't looking for legal wizardry as evidenced by top 1L grades. They are looking for someone that succeeds at what they do and, unfortunately, top grades as a 1L show this.

At the callback stage, you have the chance to show them that you will be successful in spite of less than stellar grades. A good personality will absolutely overcome a less than stellar GPA at the callback stage. There is something about you that at least one person liked, thus, they brought you back and want others to meet you. If grades were going to put you out of the running, they wouldn't be going to great lengths to get partners to sit down with you, fly you out and put you up at the Ritz. Believe me.


Shit, dude. If grades were purely a proxy for gumption rather than legal acumen, firms wouldn't even need to hire out of law school (at least in states where there's no requirement of law school to pass the bar, e.g. CA), and they would hire top engineering students as well.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:45 pm
by Anonymous User
grash wrote:
downstream wrote:Grades are not used as a proxy for someone's legal acumen. Performance in Torts means very little about potential performance as an associate.

Grades are a proxy for one's potential for success at the challenge they are tasked with. Good grades show that you were able to go into a new environment, quickly learn what you needed to do to succeed and then actually get it done. This is the same thing the firm will expect of you when they bring you on board as an associate. They aren't looking for legal wizardry as evidenced by top 1L grades. They are looking for someone that succeeds at what they do and, unfortunately, top grades as a 1L show this.

At the callback stage, you have the chance to show them that you will be successful in spite of less than stellar grades. A good personality will absolutely overcome a less than stellar GPA at the callback stage. There is something about you that at least one person liked, thus, they brought you back and want others to meet you. If grades were going to put you out of the running, they wouldn't be going to great lengths to get partners to sit down with you, fly you out and put you up at the Ritz. Believe me.


Shit, dude. If grades were purely a proxy for gumption rather than legal acumen, firms wouldn't even need to hire out of law school (at least in states where there's no requirement of law school to pass the bar, e.g. CA), and they would hire top engineering students as well.


Getting back to the topic - I've heard from multiple v10 sources that grades, though still a factor at the CB stage, only really matter at the margins. They aren't kidding when they say that the CB stage really is about fit.

Re: Importance of grades for callbacks

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:48 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a friend at Davis Polk who participated in interviewing candidates and said that a guy said something really awkward during an interview but still got an offer because of his ridiculously high grades from Yale. I assume grades/school rank will still matter, but it will be a sliding scale.


I would take DPW's callback standards with a grain of salt. Their modus operandi is to give almost everyone a callback and then reject most people at the callback level. No one else does that.


Nah not really, they use both rounds to eliminate people. Going by HYS stats, they eliminate 40% at the screening interview and then another 40% at the callback stage.


My interviewer for DPW at H said he was told to callback 10 out of the 20.