Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

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Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 12:07 pm

Rising 2L at a school ranked between 25-30. Median-ish first semester, below median second semester. Right now I've scheduled an appointment with a therapist and will hopefully get anti-depressants so I can get back on track and move forward with my life.

Looking for advice from other T30 kids who didn't do well during 1L but managed to get firm jobs. I did the networking rounds during 1L, and my dad is friends with a couple of partners, but I'm not banking on that. Everyone's dad knows a partner, it doesn't help if you don't have grades. During the networking rounds I didn't manage to make any serious friendships with potential mentors either, though I tried.

My current plan is to mass-mail every single firm in the region I want to practice in. That's all I got. I think I know what I need to do, and it's to make someone really like me, but I'm an introvert and apparently I only gel with other geeks. I wish there was an extrovert drug I could take. (is there?)

I realize that dropping out is something to consider. I am considering it. But before you tell me to drop out, please tell me what could get me to a firm interview at this point.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 12:11 pm

things could get very bad for you, but on the other hand, things could work quite/really well - if you are not banking on biglaw offers.

as others will point out, network like crazy.

however, other people wold probably downplay the need for you to push your gpa up. they will say that grades do not matter after 1L. I do not agree at all. Is your GPA severely below the median? if it is slightly so, try to push it up and, if possible, get honors at your schools. Not all people will be impressed, but it only takes 1-2 people to like you and you are golden.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu May 24, 2012 12:13 pm

Sounds like you're at Indiana, maybe Iowa, but want to practice in a major market. Does your law school allow more than 3 years to complete the JD degree program ? If so, try an externship for a semester or year in order to gauge your interest & aptitude for the practice of law.

P.S. Everyone's dad does not necessarily know a partner. Your comment on this advantageous connection suggests that you have an excessively negative outlook at the moment. Hopefully, therapy will instill positive thoughts in your mind.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu May 24, 2012 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Thu May 24, 2012 12:14 pm

It may sound a little unorthodox, but caddying at a private country club is a fantastic way to network. I got my 1L firm job through caddying, and it is very likely that I will get a summer associate position next summer due to the connections I've made at the club I work at.

As far as becoming more extroverted, there really is no magic drug, other than alcohol and narcotics. You may want to try things like a public speaking class or a comedy class. Yes, those two have specific purposes, but an underlying skill that both develop--speaking in front of others--can help get rid of your shyness (introverted personality is strongly correlated to shyness, so I'm making an assumption here).
Last edited by MrPapagiorgio on Thu May 24, 2012 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby anonymcoffee » Thu May 24, 2012 12:15 pm

join the hot mess that is 1L ending with bad grades. I did the networking thing, I am an extrovert and felt had some good connections, but did not get a firm job. I'm at GW and seeing updates from classmates, I don't see anyone with a firm job and below median or even above median. we're just done, there is nothing changing that.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 12:17 pm

shyness might be due to his lack of confidence. I am introverted but I was also in our school's drama club.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 12:49 pm

OP here. Thanks for the replies. I'm bottom third...yeah, not a good look. The worst part is there's no excuse, i.e. nobody died, I didn't have cancer. I worked my ass off in the fall and was heartbroken when I got around median. I worked hardest in Contracts and even got an old outline from a 2L who booked the class and felt hopeful. I got a B- in the class. Best part is that I shared the outline with a friend who hadn't made his own and he got an A-, and he thanked me sincerely afterwards and said that the outline saved his life. So I spent the spring alternating between feeling determined to do better and feeling really depressed, and by the time I got myself together enough to study hard, it was too late. Not sure how that'll fly in an interview when the inevitable grade question comes up.

And I know I'm not an idiot, or at least I used to not be an idiot, because I got a stellar UGPA at a highly ranked liberal arts college, so this has just destroyed my confidence.

The caddying thing doesn't sound bad. My 1L summer job is a legal services type thing, so I was thinking of getting a second job that would bring me in contact with the world of Biglaw partners. If I had a bartendering license and a bro attitude, I could've been a bartender at a private club. I'm thinking of getting a waiter job at a great restaurant, since I did that in high school and wouldn't fuck it up.

I used to be only a little shy, I'm usually more like a reserved introvert who gets drained in social situations than someone with acute social anxiety. But since 1L, my self-esteem has dropped so low that I think it would be pretty accurate to describe me as shy now. I'm hoping therapy/meds will fix this because I can't afford to let my lack of self-esteem show. Even if I can't fix the problem quickly enough, I want to be able to hide it for now.

Should I mass-mail? Should I explain my grades when I mass-mail, and if so, should I tell the truth or not? How should I spin it?

join the hot mess that is 1L ending with bad grades. I did the networking thing, I am an extrovert and felt had some good connections, but did not get a firm job. I'm at GW and seeing updates from classmates, I don't see anyone with a firm job and below median or even above median. we're just done, there is nothing changing that.


You're probably right, but 2L and OCI hasn't even started yet, so don't give up. (lol at me telling someone not to give up - this is a do as I say, not as I do situation right here).

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby azntwice » Thu May 24, 2012 12:56 pm

not advice that i have personally tried, but you might consider building a specialty niche for yourself. gain lots of skills, experience and good grades in one particular practice area (IP, bankruptcy, or tax might be some good ones to look into) and that should make you more marketable for that area.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby vegeta » Sun May 27, 2012 10:58 am

Boost up your GPA during 2L year and work very hard during your 1L summer (you want to have good references, LORs, and good contacts for the future).

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Yeah bro big/mid law is almost assuredly out with grades from the range school. You might want to consider dropping out depending on how much debt you will have. Might be your best option.

Hope you have something else on your resume to offer, bc you don't have grades. Work experience? Anything else interesting? You have to network, like other people said.

Going forward you need to bring your grades up. Acting as if this rando outline would get you a good grade. That's not how law exams work. Outlines are just a tool. You sound like you don't know how to write an exam, so I'd try to learn that. I suggest by doing exam review w your profs.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun May 27, 2012 12:49 pm

I'm tagging this... for a friend. :oops:

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:16 am

OP here. So far my "connections", people who I tried to build relationships with as a 1L, are dropping me fast when they find out what my GPA is. I'm starting to think that I have to pull my grades up as a 2L and pray for 3L OCI. Meanwhile, I'm trying to walk the line between confident and aggressive, and desperate and eager.

any advice from TLSers who had shit 1L grades from a T30 and still made biglaw?

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:49 am

yes, I know two.
however, they know foreign languages much in demand (think chinese/japanese - not just spoken but also written). They are working in Japan/HK offices of very good biglaw firms.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:yes, I know two.
however, they know foreign languages much in demand (think chinese/japanese - not just spoken but also written). They are working in Japan/HK offices of very good biglaw firms.


shit. I wish I had invested in Arabic/Mandarin/Japanese.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:25 pm

it may not be too late - you have a long, long road ahead. try to cultivate a real interest in one of these languages and you will attain some fluency in it.

but back to the present. try to get as much firm experience as possible - paid or unpaid. some small, local firms look for interns. they expect you to work with paralegals - but it doesn't matter that you will be doing grunt work as this is what first-year associates will be doing, and you can legitimately put the firm names on your resume.

I personally don't think that working unpaid as an intern while you are still a student is unethical. Try to get your foot in the door as a student.

On another note, I think investing in a special niche is a great idea. but you only have so much time.

edit: it seems that asia market, despite some uncertainty, is still growing and there are jsut so many opportunities. Some offices are also diversifying so it's not always M & A/ capital market ...

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 4:37 pm

Bumping this hoping OP still looks at TLS or anyone else that is in a similar situation

if op does still come on here I would love to know how the job search turned out for you as I am in a very similar situation

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Lateral2013 » Fri May 31, 2013 5:00 pm

It depends. Are you paying sticker price for the school? How much student loan debt do you have?

If you will graduate with a significant amount of student loan debt (more than like $40k) my advice to you is to cut your losses. It may work out, but it may not. If it doesn't and you have student loan debt, it's not a pretty scenario.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 8:37 pm

Lateral2013 wrote:It depends. Are you paying sticker price for the school? How much student loan debt do you have?

If you will graduate with a significant amount of student loan debt (more than like $40k) my advice to you is to cut your losses. It may work out, but it may not. If it doesn't and you have student loan debt, it's not a pretty scenario.


I will come out with a good amount of debt around 60k but luckily due to family assistance my debt load personally will be very little so the debt doesn't really concern me

I should mention that unlike the op im an extreme extrovert and I think one of my best skills is that i interview extremely well (also im a male AA if that has any bearing on your advice at all) I have some pretty decent connections back in my home state so im willing to stick it out and put in the hard work and network and hustle knowing theres a good chance i might fail

ZyzzBrah
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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby ZyzzBrah » Fri May 31, 2013 8:42 pm

OP, I went up ~15% in class rank in one semester (end of 1L through fall semester 2L).

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 8:52 pm

ZyzzBrah wrote:OP, I went up ~15% in class rank in one semester (end of 1L through fall semester 2L).


How did the job search end up for you?

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L at a school ranked between 25-30. Median-ish first semester, below median second semester. Right now I've scheduled an appointment with a therapist and will hopefully get anti-depressants so I can get back on track and move forward with my life.

Looking for advice from other T30 kids who didn't do well during 1L but managed to get firm jobs. I did the networking rounds during 1L, and my dad is friends with a couple of partners, but I'm not banking on that. Everyone's dad knows a partner, it doesn't help if you don't have grades. During the networking rounds I didn't manage to make any serious friendships with potential mentors either, though I tried.

My current plan is to mass-mail every single firm in the region I want to practice in. That's all I got. I think I know what I need to do, and it's to make someone really like me, but I'm an introvert and apparently I only gel with other geeks. I wish there was an extrovert drug I could take. (is there?)

I realize that dropping out is something to consider. I am considering it. But before you tell me to drop out, please tell me what could get me to a firm interview at this point.


I was below the T30 criteria, but was median after first year and didn't land a jerb after first year. I took general summer classes and an intensive field-specific summer writing course which was designed to get each student published. Second year I improved somewhat but not drastically and did the usual interview circuit without too much success. After striking out for a SA at OCI, I reached out to a friend of my father-in-law who bypassed HR to get my resume to the hiring committee at his firm and I got the SA after an interview with the committee, and subsequently got an offer post-SA. The firm is a vault top-10 in its specialty. I guess my point is that you should use your dad's connections. I honestly thought I had no chance at the firm when I applied but the connection got me through HR (the toughest hurdle) and on to a SA and subsequent entry-level position. I wouldn't bank on a jerb, but your chances through a connection are much better than through a cold interview.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:54 am

I was around the median after 1L year at a T30 that places well in northeastern biglaw firms...however, I struck out during 2L oci. Had a bunch of interviews but no callbacks. This was back in 2007 before everything tanked too. So if you choose to weather the storm, know in advance that it's not going to be easy.

I got my 2L summer job in the spring by hustling and luck. It was with a large government agency. Good experience, but no permanent job attached.

My grades 2L and 3L year were up and down. Still got a few callbacks 3L year but no offers. The firms' interest in me was due to my high grades in tax courses - which I loaded up on once I realized it clicked with me.

After graduation I moved across the country and started clerking for the local state trial court. Probably the least prestigious clerkship, but better than working at Office Depot. State court clerkships in non-major cities are (or were) not that competitive in general. After a year I was hired at a state agency which boosted my salary by $30k. I've been here for almost 3 years and am "lateraling" to biglaw in two weeks - basically four years after graduation.

So I guess it's not impossible, but the road is not an easy one. Granted, in my most recent interview I did not have to explain that B- in Civ Pro because I have winning cases reported on Westlaw...

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. So far my "connections", people who I tried to build relationships with as a 1L, are dropping me fast when they find out what my GPA is. I'm starting to think that I have to pull my grades up as a 2L and pray for 3L OCI. Meanwhile, I'm trying to walk the line between confident and aggressive, and desperate and eager.

any advice from TLSers who had shit 1L grades from a T30 and still made biglaw?


I hope you've at least realized after two years of law school that not getting biglaw isn't the end of the world.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby ZyzzBrah » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ZyzzBrah wrote:OP, I went up ~15% in class rank in one semester (end of 1L through fall semester 2L).


How did the job search end up for you?



While I didn't get anything out of OCI, I did well in the midlaw search. During spring semester a lot of these firms will post openings for clerks/SA's, I got an interview for just about every firm I applied and got a few offers. I ended up at a firm that I really enjoy working for (fwiw the pay is ~1.2k depending on how long I work, however, most of the firms offered me less)

It was hard to wait that long though, especially while many of my friends on law review already had SA's at that point.

Also, I ended up getting a SSC for after graduation this past semester with the first judge I interviewed with. So all hope isn't lost.


Edit: I agree with the poster above, Im not at a biglaw firm and I love it. The attorneys give me good work, take me to lunch/baseball games/bars, pay is good, etc.

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Re: Rising 2L, bad grades, advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:22 pm

I will be a 3L at a top 25 next year. I was bottom third after 1L year and managed to get a market paying job in a secondary market. I don't know what got me the offer, but I did everything I could to boost my resume (extra curriculars and internships) and worked my way into the top thirdish after 2L year. I would recommend targeting a market that you have connections to, but also applying anywhere and everywhere. I received interviews off OCI, connections, resume drops, and speakers at school, you never know when someone might like you and fight for you.




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