desertlaw wrote:I'm not sure I see the utility of this thread. The poster did everything that anyone on TLS would recommend for low-median grades: find secondary markets or smaller firms, play up your personality or any strengths that don't come from the grades, and hustle hustle hustle.
Congrats to the Origposter for getting your job. I'm glad when any other UVa student has success. I'm just not sure how this thread will benefit anyone in the future. Yes, it's possible to get a solid SA position without good grades if you're at a good school. But I thought we knew this. The OP's story might be more against the odds than typical, but it's not completely shocking.
Also, it needs to be said again that personality plays a HUGE factor in BigLaw NYC/DC/Cali firms. Grades open the door, but firms still have to sort through a bunch of different people. Talk to the people that are in the top 10-20% of the class, trying to get to DC, and have struggled mightily.
I don't know about all that. I've seen countless threads where many claim that one's best shot at biglaw is NYC; I've even seen many where people go so far as to say that it is "stupid, foolish, and 0L-esque" to think that one can get a job in a secondary market. Quite frankly I found this to be the exact opposite of reality. People who are willing to go to their secondary markets, especially if that market is in the South tend to do MUCH better than those targeting NYC and or only willing to work in NYC/DC here at UVA. My friends from secondary markets, even with worse grades, who targeted those markets did better than the one's I know who were heavily NYC and DC focused.
Maybe the majority of the people on this site are from NYC/DC/Cali and thus are having trouble breaking into secondary markets, but for those students who are from secondary markets, they are often your best shot at a firm job. And the thing with NYC/DC/Cali firms is that personality only matters AFTER the door is opened. If you don't have the grades the firms in those cities simply don't give a damn how great your personality is. The door is shut to you before you even have a chance to display your personality because of their harsh grade cutoffs.
That's not the case for the secondary markets. Often your ties plus your top school get you in the door and then your personality can seal the deal. If you have my grades but target NYC firms you are likely to come up empty handed. Frankly, I ignored much of the rhetoric I heard on this website when it comes to the hiring process, and I'm glad I did.
One thing I would recommend to 0L's is going to a top 14 that is strong in your home market if you are not from NYC/DC. That can really save the day for you because it gives you a big stick to swing when you go into interviews. Frankly, if you're from NYC and going into interviews with my grades from UVA you're in deep trouble. But if you are a Boalt student from Cali going into Cali interviews, a UVA student from Florida going into Fl firm interviews, or a Michigan student from Cincinnati going into Ohio firm interviews, you have a lot of tools to fight for employment with. Especially when most of your competition is coming from Hastings, Florida State, and Ohio State. Going into a NYC firm with UVA degree and bad grades is hella rough when you're fighting against tons of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Penn and Cornell grads--especially when some of them have better grades than you.