Too late for a big law job?

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Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:45 pm

I apologize for the long read. My wife is a 3L at a mid-30s ranked public law school. She didn't get an internship in the summer after her 1L year so she was unable to get a big law internship as a 2L. She had a great internship in Germany (she can function in German professionally) this summer and is doing a very solid externship right now with a federal agency.

She didn't initially think she was big law caliber because her GPA is 3.45 (top 33% class rank), but she wrote for a journal and is fluent (nearly native) in both Spanish and German. Other than that, her undergrad GPA was 4.0 and she had some great international experience as an undergrad.

She got an interview with a big law firm (thousands applied, 9 made it to the final round of interviews, she is the backup for the 1 person who was selected).

Questions:

1) Are there still going to be big law firms hiring 3Ls, or are they mostly done by now?

2) Should she keep cold-calling firms outside of the local area? She's applied to dozens of jobs that weren't posted by her career services office, with no response.

3) Does she have much of a shot with jobs that are outside her school's area of influence? She's heard that it's hard to get a job in another part of the country if you're from a lower ranked school.

4) Do you guys have any other advice to offer her? We would really appreciate that.

random5483
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby random5483 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:52 pm

Big law is unlikely. The process is very hard for those who fail to get a summer associate position with a big law firm as a 2L. 3L hiring for big law is very limited. Furthermore, right now, unless she is in the callback phase for big law hiring, she probably has no chance to land a big law job (too late to send applications to most larger firms).

Furthermore, her application is not competitive. The only edge she has is the fluency in two languages. But even that is not enough to overcome a top 33% class rank in mid T1 school. Participation in a journal is not enough to overcome the weak grades, even if the journal was the school's law review (assuming not based on your wording).

Your wife should be able to land a decent job. Her language skills combined with decent grades at a decent school will result in some decent job. Unfortunately, her chances for big law in the near future is slim.

Renzo
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Renzo » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:57 pm

It never hurts to apply, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 3L hiring is minuscule to begin with, and being 1/3 deep into a school in the 30's is going to make it very difficult.

If she hasn't already, she should apply to NYC firms with European and Latin American practices that like to brand themselves as "international" (Milbank comes to mind). Maybe they would bite based on her fluency and foreign work experience; but again, I would be looking outside biglaw as a "plan A."

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monkey85
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby monkey85 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:01 pm

I echo "random5483"' and "Renzo"'s sentiment regarding the languages: (near) fluency in Spanish and German is her main selling point.

But the possible wrench: marriage and being settled.

You don't have to expand on the issue in this forum, but I'll offer a rhetorical question that you should think through (which is why I said only a "possible wrench" above): How willing are you to uproot and move abroad?

I think that your flexibility wrt to taking a job in Europe/Latin America may be a possible avenue for landing a biglaw job as a 3L.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:06 pm

random5483 wrote:Big law is unlikely. The process is very hard for those who fail to get a summer associate position with a big law firm as a 2L. 3L hiring for big law is very limited. Furthermore, right now, unless she is in the callback phase for big law hiring, she probably has no chance to land a big law job (too late to send applications to most larger firms).

Furthermore, her application is not competitive. The only edge she has is the fluency in two languages. But even that is not enough to overcome a top 33% class rank in mid T1 school. Participation in a journal is not enough to overcome the weak grades, even if the journal was the school's law review (assuming not based on your wording).

Your wife should be able to land a decent job. Her language skills combined with decent grades at a decent school will result in some decent job. Unfortunately, her chances for big law in the near future is slim.


Thank you, random5483. Do you have any input on what types of firms she should be applying for? She has taken a lot of business related classes like M&A, International Trade, IP, Admin, Business Negotiations, Corporations, etc. She was on the IP journal as well.

It never hurts to apply, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 3L hiring is minuscule to begin with, and being 1/3 deep into a school in the 30's is going to make it very difficult.

If she hasn't already, she should apply to NYC firms with European and Latin American practices that like to brand themselves as "international" (Milbank comes to mind). Maybe they would bite based on her fluency and foreign work experience; but again, I would be looking outside biglaw as a "plan A."


Thanks. Why do you say NYC in particular? Is it just because it's such an international city?

I echo "random5483"' and "Renzo"'s sentiment regarding the languages: (near) fluency in Spanish and German is her main selling point.

But the possible wrench: marriage and being settled.

You don't have to expand on the issue in this forum, but I'll offer a rhetorical question that you should think through (which is why I said only a "possible wrench" above): How willing are you to uproot and move abroad?

I think that your flexibility wrt to taking a job in Europe/Latin America may be a possible avenue for landing a biglaw job as a 3L.


Interesting. We are willing (and actually aspire) to move abroad, but it would be difficult to do that within the next two years, because I am also a student (not at law school).

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Renzo » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
It never hurts to apply, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 3L hiring is minuscule to begin with, and being 1/3 deep into a school in the 30's is going to make it very difficult.

If she hasn't already, she should apply to NYC firms with European and Latin American practices that like to brand themselves as "international" (Milbank comes to mind). Maybe they would bite based on her fluency and foreign work experience; but again, I would be looking outside biglaw as a "plan A."


Thanks. Why do you say NYC in particular? Is it just because it's such an international city?


No, because it's where the firms that do capital markets work are located, and those are the firms that aspire to be "international." And because it's where pretty much all the biglaw jobs in the United States are clustered.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:24 pm

Thank you all for your responses, they have been very helpful.

Here is another concern I had. I feel like smaller firms might not value her language skills and international experience as much as the big firms. Is this going to be a problem? Do you think she's going to have a hard time at the middle market firms too?

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Unitas
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Unitas » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:32 pm

Is she patent bar eligible? You said she is on the IP journal.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you all for your responses, they have been very helpful.

Here is another concern I had. I feel like smaller firms might not value her language skills and international experience as much as the big firms. Is this going to be a problem? Do you think she's going to have a hard time at the middle market firms too?

The right small firm will probably value her language skills. If she likes corporate-style work, a boutique FCPA/export controls firm will value her. If she likes litigation, an immigration controls or even a local general practice firm in an area with a high immigrant concentration will find her valuable.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:55 pm

Unitas wrote:Is she patent bar eligible? You said she is on the IP journal.


Unfortunately not, although she has toyed with the idea of getting a physics degree part-time after she graduates. That's obviously not helpful now though.

The right small firm will probably value her language skills. If she likes corporate-style work, a boutique FCPA/export controls firm will value her. If she likes litigation, an immigration controls or even a local general practice firm in an area with a high immigrant concentration will find her valuable.


Awesome, thank you. That sounds like a good starting point. There is definitely a high immigrant population here, but she isn't interested in litigation. I'm talking to her now about targeting those firms that will value her international experience and language skills.

concurrent fork
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby concurrent fork » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:52 pm

Honestly she cannot afford to be picky about practice areas with those stats.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Blindmelon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:57 pm

Not impossible but unlikely. The 3L hiring market picked up in certain places and I know at least 4 people from my T25 who got bigfirm jobs w/o summering and at least one is only top 1/3rd no LR. Its a little late in the game though now as you said - I would tell her to keep pushing, but focus more on mid-size/small firms. Also, depending on the federal agency, if she gets a job there, she may be able to move from the fed to bigfirm. That is, if the gov. office is SEC, FTC, DOJ or a few others.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:07 pm

concurrent fork wrote:Honestly she cannot afford to be picky about practice areas with those stats.


"

I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:08 pm

Blindmelon wrote:Not impossible but unlikely. The 3L hiring market picked up in certain places and I know at least 4 people from my T25 who got bigfirm jobs w/o summering and at least one is only top 1/3rd no LR. Its a little late in the game though now as you said - I would tell her to keep pushing, but focus more on mid-size/small firms. Also, depending on the federal agency, if she gets a job there, she may be able to move from the fed to bigfirm. That is, if the gov. office is SEC, FTC, DOJ or a few others.


Her federal externship is one of those you listed, but at this particular location they only hire people full-time with 5+ years of experience, so getting a job there is out of the question.

I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Grizz » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

Have you done any research about legal hiring lately?

CalciumChloride
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby CalciumChloride » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:35 pm

Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

Have you done any research about legal hiring lately?


Yeah, I get it... but, she's got to be better off than the people from the 200 law schools below hers, no?

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Grizz » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:36 pm

CalciumChloride wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

Have you done any research about legal hiring lately?


Yeah, I get it... but, she's got to be better off than the people from the 200 law schools below hers, no?

Not necessarily. Outside big law hiring, prestige/grades don't seem to matter as much (small firms/midsize firms/local govt.).

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:38 pm

Anon? wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

Have you done any research about legal hiring lately?


Yeah, I get it... but, she's got to be better off than the people from the 200 law schools below hers, no?


I changed the quoted name to Anon in case you posting under your SN was on accident...

To answer your question...kinda? I mean, this is tricky. At some point if you are facing unemployment you're not better off than anyone. This is a touchy thing. I think she has some unique skills and goes to a good school, there's no doubt about that. However, whether she can capitalize on her skills and school's reputation is another question altogether. There are a lot of talented people out there who aren't getting legal jobs right now. So again, have her keep trying to capitalize on those skills, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest she may want to focus on and accept just pretty much anything she can get.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Wholigan » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Blindmelon wrote:Not impossible but unlikely. The 3L hiring market picked up in certain places and I know at least 4 people from my T25 who got bigfirm jobs w/o summering and at least one is only top 1/3rd no LR. Its a little late in the game though now as you said - I would tell her to keep pushing, but focus more on mid-size/small firms. Also, depending on the federal agency, if she gets a job there, she may be able to move from the fed to bigfirm. That is, if the gov. office is SEC, FTC, DOJ or a few others.


Her federal externship is one of those you listed, but at this particular location they only hire people full-time with 5+ years of experience, so getting a job there is out of the question.

I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

With all due respect, you did say that she wasn't able to find legal work 1L summer, where most employers don't pay you, and all that really matters is getting any legal job. It only gets harder when looking for full-time, paying work.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:48 pm

CalciumChloride wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'm not sure her language skills will really come into play at all. She should certainly pursue avenues where they might be considered useful and give her an advantage in hiring, but at this point I think she just needs to find SOMETHING law related and roll with it.


"SOMETHING law related?" You're saying ANY legal job is the best she can do?

Have you done any research about legal hiring lately?


Yeah, I get it... but, she's got to be better off than the people from the 200 law schools below hers, no?


I personally know people at a CCN who are top 1/3rd and currently unemployed, searching for any legal job. Sooo... maybe she will be just fine, but she really needs to start applying more broadly and worry about getting A job at this point, not THE perfect job.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:52 pm

It's really hard to watch her go through this. The big law interview is messing with her head.

My wife was very clear-headed about her job prospects, and knew she wasn't big law caliber. She applied anyway (she is applying to every job she finds), and got the interview. She knew she wasn't going to get the job when she went through the first round of phone interviews, and was really surprised to make the final cut. Again, she was just proud she made it that far. When she went into the big interview (30 minutes with each of 5 partners), she got a taste of what working there would be like. She really liked everyone she met and the firm is closer than 1 mile from where we're moving next year. Now she's bummed and it's hard to know that she's going to have to settle for something much less savory.

It's really unlikely that whoever was chosen would turn down the job this late in the game. She was so close to her dream job. I know this isn't a profession to be soft in, and she isn't, but it's hard for me to watch her go through this. She didn't want me to post on her behalf, but I'm just trying to get some advice that I can pass along to her.

It's extra tough on her because she's had interviews with much smaller law firms and didn't even make the second round. She has had 5 interviews total in the past month or two, so I hope that is a good sign at least. She's probably applied to 50+ firms and will continue to apply like crazy.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:55 pm

It sucks out there, man. A lot of people are in her shoes. She just needs to keep doing what she's doing. Just remind her that it only takes one.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Grizz » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It's really hard to watch her go through this. The big law interview is messing with her head.

My wife was very clear-headed about her job prospects, and knew she wasn't big law caliber. She applied anyway (she is applying to every job she finds), and got the interview. She knew she wasn't going to get the job when she went through the first round of phone interviews, and was really surprised to make the final cut. Again, she was just proud she made it that far. When she went into the big interview (30 minutes with each of 5 partners), she got a taste of what working there would be like. She really liked everyone she met and the firm is closer than 1 mile from where we're moving next year. Now she's bummed and it's hard to know that she's going to have to settle for something much less savory.

It's really unlikely that whoever was chosen would turn down the job this late in the game. She was so close to her dream job. I know this isn't a profession to be soft in, and she isn't, but it's hard for me to watch her go through this. She didn't want me to post on her behalf, but I'm just trying to get some advice that I can pass along to her.

It's extra tough on her because she's had interviews with much smaller law firms and didn't even make the second round. She has had 5 interviews total in the past month or two, so I hope that is a good sign at least. She's probably applied to 50+ firms and will continue to apply like crazy.

Dude this is insane. Advice? Move the fuck on and keep applying. Quit harping over this job. She didn't get it on the first go, and she may not get off the alternate list. Accept that. Do you know how many people don't get their first choice? Jaysus. Have you seen the legal market? Just getting ANYTHING is good. Just the other day I read on here about someone going 15 second round interviews with no offer. This is the most asinine thing I have read all day.

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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:25 pm

Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's really hard to watch her go through this. The big law interview is messing with her head.

My wife was very clear-headed about her job prospects, and knew she wasn't big law caliber. She applied anyway (she is applying to every job she finds), and got the interview. She knew she wasn't going to get the job when she went through the first round of phone interviews, and was really surprised to make the final cut. Again, she was just proud she made it that far. When she went into the big interview (30 minutes with each of 5 partners), she got a taste of what working there would be like. She really liked everyone she met and the firm is closer than 1 mile from where we're moving next year. Now she's bummed and it's hard to know that she's going to have to settle for something much less savory.

It's really unlikely that whoever was chosen would turn down the job this late in the game. She was so close to her dream job. I know this isn't a profession to be soft in, and she isn't, but it's hard for me to watch her go through this. She didn't want me to post on her behalf, but I'm just trying to get some advice that I can pass along to her.

It's extra tough on her because she's had interviews with much smaller law firms and didn't even make the second round. She has had 5 interviews total in the past month or two, so I hope that is a good sign at least. She's probably applied to 50+ firms and will continue to apply like crazy.

Dude this is insane. Advice? Move the fuck on and keep applying. Quit harping over this job. She didn't get it on the first go, and she may not get off the alternate list. Accept that. Do you know how many people don't get their first choice? Jaysus. Have you seen the legal market? Just getting ANYTHING is good. Just the other day I read on here about someone going 15 second round interviews with no offer. This is the most asinine thing I have read all day.



Where is that one at? I'd like to see that persons stats. The tons of CBs but no offer trend is disturbing, and I like to study it.

I've seen several 7, 8, 9 callback people with no offers. Interesting phenomena.

tlstlstls73
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Re: Too late for a big law job?

Postby tlstlstls73 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:26 pm

Grizz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's really hard to watch her go through this. The big law interview is messing with her head.

My wife was very clear-headed about her job prospects, and knew she wasn't big law caliber. She applied anyway (she is applying to every job she finds), and got the interview. She knew she wasn't going to get the job when she went through the first round of phone interviews, and was really surprised to make the final cut. Again, she was just proud she made it that far. When she went into the big interview (30 minutes with each of 5 partners), she got a taste of what working there would be like. She really liked everyone she met and the firm is closer than 1 mile from where we're moving next year. Now she's bummed and it's hard to know that she's going to have to settle for something much less savory.

It's really unlikely that whoever was chosen would turn down the job this late in the game. She was so close to her dream job. I know this isn't a profession to be soft in, and she isn't, but it's hard for me to watch her go through this. She didn't want me to post on her behalf, but I'm just trying to get some advice that I can pass along to her.

It's extra tough on her because she's had interviews with much smaller law firms and didn't even make the second round. She has had 5 interviews total in the past month or two, so I hope that is a good sign at least. She's probably applied to 50+ firms and will continue to apply like crazy.

Dude this is insane. Advice? Move the fuck on and keep applying. Quit harping over this job. She didn't get it on the first go, and she may not get off the alternate list. Accept that. Do you know how many people don't get their first choice? Jaysus. Have you seen the legal market? Just getting ANYTHING is good. Just the other day I read on here about someone going 15 second round interviews with no offer. This is the most asinine thing I have read all day.


Damn, dude. Pretty harsh. I mean to be fair, it's true -- plenty of people miff on callbacks. But just because it happens all the time doesn't mean it's not an excruciating experience and completely unsympathetic.




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