How bad...

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danigirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 pm

How bad...

Postby danigirl » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:09 pm

So I know that no one likes these threads, but I haven't been able to find much like it. I go to a lower T14 and I just finished my first year. I've been stressing out because my grades were not good to say the least. I've got a 2.85, which is clearly at the bottom of the class. I've spoken to career services and basically they just say "don't worry, you'll be fine!" But don't offer much help. I am patent bar eligible and am working at a small patent boutique this summer in a major market. My goal is to work in another boutique after I graduate (not the one that I'm with now, it won't be an option), but obviously if I got an offer from a GP firm I would take it. I know that IP give you a boost, but is it enough of one to overcome this?

danigirl
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Re: How bad...

Postby danigirl » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:46 pm

anyone?

Anonymous User
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Re: How bad...

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:32 pm

Student at one of the T7-14 schools here, had a 2.95 going into OCI but no IP experience. Honestly, to be blunt, a 2.85 is not a good place to be, and I say this from my own personal experience. It's honestly not even that there's a huge difference between you and some student who has a flat 3.0. if anything, that could mean maybe you got one B- where that student got a B. But to firms, it seems that they are very hesitant to dip below a 3, even in secondary markets/home market with ties, unless you're from somewhere with a decently booming economy like Texas.

There seems to be something psychological, even between a 2.95 and a 3 for firms, I did about 27 screeners at OCI, 1 callback in a major market, and hustled 2 more callbacks in the same major market, and managed to snag 2 more callbacks in my home market. However, no dice. I got feedback from most of my interviewers and was told that I interview very well actually but that even at the callback stage, where grades matter less and fit counts for more, it would still be hard to get a sub-3.0 even from a T14 past the hiring committee, or in some cases, I was told that the firm would have taken me on even with my GPA if the firm's class size had been a few spots larger (oh how I wish I'd gone to law school during the 2001-2007 boom times).

All of this said, what I can tell you is IP is going to be a boost. It won't magically transform your GPA from a 2.85 to a 3.5, however IP is a hot market right now and it seems a lot of the firms doing 3L OCI are either IP boutiques, large firms with strong IP practices, or firms seeking to add a few IP-qualified students with hard-IP backgrounds into their practice group.

What I would say is, go in expecting the worst outcome (caveat: I'm not saying go in with a negative attitude, not at all, be as positive as possible and don't be downtrodden, I promise you it'll show through in your interviews, that was I think an early problem in a few of my early screeners when I figured 2.95 = no chance, however once I psyched myself up to be positive, fake it till you make it, even if I didn't get a callback, I got much better feed back about my interviewing ability from those interviewers later on and it seemed the interview was a lot better, more positive, and that I was able to click a lot more with my interviewers).

What I would say is, based on my experience, OCI is not likely to be your friend. My class (2013) seems to have done a bit better than 2012, and definitely better than 2011, although not quite the supposed return of the "boom times" at the T14 that it apparently is at the T6, and 2014 is hard to tell on if you guys will do better than us, the same, or a little worse, with firms possibly being a bit more hesitant in the wake of Dewey's collapse, the european debt crisis, and the cooling off of IPOs, Wallstreet downsizing a bit etc.

You should start hitting the pavement and networking now, and try to set-up informational interviews, screeners, even callbacks if you can wherever you're working this summer and, if that isn't your home market, also some interviews back home. I would try to go for more of the informational interviews now for the month of June/early July, and then around mid-July or so I would start the process of trying to mass-mail and hustle screeners and callback interviews BEFORE OCI. Even during OCI, other than preparing for your interviews, try to mail firms that aren't coming to your school as well as hitting those hospitality suites pretty hard. Work with career services, talk to rising 3Ls and even just graduated students and try to get a feel for which firms are more forgiving of GPA, which IP firms are looking good and to hire, which firms are expanding their IP practice, see if you can connect with some students with lower-range GPAs who managed above the odds to succeed and get mid-law, biglaw, or a good boutique firm. Also see if you can get a list of GPA ranges for firms for your school specifically or, if not available, maybe ask a friend at another peer school.

Your fellow students who are older than you or who are recent graduates are one of the best resources you can have and one that sadly I didn't take enough advantage of early. If you're able to do what seems to be the daunting task (at least before law school makes it easier/necessary) of networking with alumni/attorneys you've never met, imagine how much easier it is talking to fellow students who are likely barely older than you, and probably prone to being even friendlier than the friendliest associate/partner you might meet.

Don't give up, and don't get complacent, especially early-on when their could be a lot of firms rejecting you initially immediately because of your GPA. It sucks, it makes you feel like shit, it kills your confidence, but remember, a lot of kids with 3.5's and 3.6's get a ton of rejections as well amongst their offers, and a ton of kids with 3.1's 3.2's, with higher grades than yours but still below median might get rejected just as much. Use that to motivate yourself to mass-mail hard (no mail merge, targeted mass mail, try to make some connections at a fair amount of target firms coming to OCI/not coming to OCI/in IP before you start the long mass-mail process that might take you from July all the way until May. Also remember, mass-mail hardest in the summer/fall, ESPECIALLY after OCI too, not just before, biglaw/some midlaw does a majority of their hiring between August-October and so you want feelers/your materials out there, with follow-ups starting in August, and continuing into the semester, not sending your first mail to a ton of firms in September or October after you've potentially struck out at OCI.

Anyway, I do hope you find this helpful. Sorry it's really long, I just made a fair amount of mistakes, but also a decent amount of good choices in my job application process, despite striking out on biglaw, and I hope that I can help a fellow student with a sub-3 GPA get something good.

Anonymous User
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Re: How bad...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:37 am

Not much to add here other than to say that OP-- you are not alone! I'm looking at about the same GPA from MVP. I would only say that you shouldn't let career services convince you that everything will be ok. Also, I don't know about you, but I'm not going to allow myself to wallow in despair for that much longer. We sub-3 people have a long summer ahead, and a lot of hustling to do. OCI is not that promising, but feeling like shit and going in convinced that you won't get a job will only assure that result. Don't give up (yet)!

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IAFG
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Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: How bad...

Postby IAFG » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:41 am

Do you have good UG grades? What's your UG degree?

danigirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Re: How bad...

Postby danigirl » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:25 am

My UG grades aren't good. I have a non-engineering science degree (think chemistry/physics, not bio). I went to a top 20 undergrad know for its competitiveness and tech, so even with not great grades my college degree has been pretty useful. I am getting some really really great and transferable patent experience this summer. I just wanted to feel out what sort of GPA requirements the patent boutiques usually have. On NALP most just say stuff like "strong academic background" or "patent bar eligibility required."

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How bad...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:34 am

Same GPA from MVP. I got a firm job in a secondary market (my home region and also the home region of my MVP) by following the steps that the really long post did. Don't give up and don't go in negative. Go to job fairs if you are eligible.

danigirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Re: How bad...

Postby danigirl » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:47 am

Thanks for the advice everyone. I had a meeting with my career advisor and she definitely didn't sugar-coat the situation, but she made me feel like all was not lost. Mostly I'm just trying to find hiring criteria for IP boutiques, because most of the info that we are sent deals only with general firms. I can't get much info on GPA cut offs for these small firms (they aren't listed on NALP), and was wondering of anyone had experience trying to get a patent job with a low GPA?

Peg
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:32 am

Re: How bad...

Postby Peg » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:52 am

danigirl wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone. I had a meeting with my career advisor and she definitely didn't sugar-coat the situation, but she made me feel like all was not lost. Mostly I'm just trying to find hiring criteria for IP boutiques, because most of the info that we are sent deals only with general firms. I can't get much info on GPA cut offs for these small firms (they aren't listed on NALP), and was wondering of anyone had experience trying to get a patent job with a low GPA?


I know someone who managed to get a job at a patent boutique from a lower-ranked law school than yours, with bad 1L grades. But he got a stellar GPA from one of the best engineering/science schools in the country - think Caltech, MIT, GA Tech, Carnegie Mellon type of schools. So the prestige of his undergraduate school and his great GPA in a tough field made up for shitty grades from a relatively shitty law school. And I think he had schmoozed some people from the firm before OCI.

danigirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Re: How bad...

Postby danigirl » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:09 am

Peg wrote:
danigirl wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone. I had a meeting with my career advisor and she definitely didn't sugar-coat the situation, but she made me feel like all was not lost. Mostly I'm just trying to find hiring criteria for IP boutiques, because most of the info that we are sent deals only with general firms. I can't get much info on GPA cut offs for these small firms (they aren't listed on NALP), and was wondering of anyone had experience trying to get a patent job with a low GPA?


I know someone who managed to get a job at a patent boutique from a lower-ranked law school than yours, with bad 1L grades. But he got a stellar GPA from one of the best engineering/science schools in the country - think Caltech, MIT, GA Tech, Carnegie Mellon type of schools. So the prestige of his undergraduate school and his great GPA in a tough field made up for shitty grades from a relatively shitty law school. And I think he had schmoozed some people from the firm before OCI.


I actually have a degree from one of the undergrads that you listed. My grades there weren't stellar but I did about average for people in that major. Plus I got a lot of great practical experience during school doing research/having internships and some post-grad science work experience. I don't think my tech background should hold me back, I'm just worried about law school grades.




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