Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

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Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:34 pm

Hey, I'd be really grateful for some advice on how to get employed in Biglaw for 2L summer. Grade-wise I'm looking at UChi's equivalent of a B-. I'm not precisely sure where this puts me percentile wise but easily in the bottom third. Also, I'm not on any journals.

I have strong ties to Florida and I guess Chicago insofar as I go there. No real ties elsewhere. I'm a URM but not black/hispanic. I'm currently spending my 1L summer doing PI in Florida.

I realize my grades don't give me many bargaining chips but if at all possible I prefer to be at a firm that isn't a sweatshop. I don't care that much for prestige and am willing to work at a firm with some reputation for lifestyle. Geographically, I'll go pretty much wherever I can get hired. I am unsure what region to target for OCI. I've looked at grade/callback data that OCS posted for the OCI firms that have released them, so the following are a list of firms that have given callbacks to people with my GPA:


Bryan Cave LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP NY
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP NY
K&L Gates
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear L.L.P.
McGuireWoods LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LL lol
Pircher Nichols & Meeks
Schiff Hardin LLP
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Thompson & Knight LLP DALLAS
Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC
Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon
Winston & Strawn LLP


I realize some of these firms are just making very rare exceptions when they extend callbacks to low GPAs (like Paul Weiss I'm guessing) - any other firms on this list like that?

Also, these aren't enough firms to fill up my OCI list, who else should I bid? Also what markets would be smartest to target? I realize DC is pretty grade conscious so I'll strike it out pretty much. I'm interested in California as well but have no ties there.

I'm also getting ready to send out targeted mailings to firms in Florida so I can maybe interview there before I go back to school. I guess I'm going to stalk people on the firm roster to find alumni and talk to some attorneys. Should I do this before I send anything to recruiting or after? Any advice on this front would be appreciated. The firms I'm looking at here so far are Carlton Fields, White & Case, and Greenberg Taurig. I will mass mail elsewhere too.

Thank you in advance, if I left out any pertinent info let me know.

anon5225
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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby anon5225 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:18 pm

Knobbe requires a tech background

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:35 pm

You should target NYC and FL.

I'm also not sure you should include all of the firms you listed, especially if they would take the place of other firms you probably have a higher shot at.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:56 pm

You should target NYC at OCI. There are only a handful of Florida firms coming and enough people in the class targeting FL that they probably won't be worth the competition.

Concentrate on the combination of largest and least grade selective firms. I don't know the NYC market so I can't suggest any in particular. I wouldn't let the GPA minimums guide you entirely, as long as they're calling back people at or below median. At that level your interviewing will probably have much more of an impact than whether you have a 174 or a 176.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:17 am

Assuming your connections are to South Florida, you might also try snail-mail targetting firms like Bilzin, Shook Hardy, Squire Sanders, Holland & Knight, Akerman, Morgan Lewis, Proskauer (Boca), and the like. I was in a somewhat similar position from another T14-though with a slightly higher GPA-and ended up fine.

As far as bidding, though, shoot heavily for NYC. You can find comprehensive discussion on good bid lists for low GPAs from T10s in other threads.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:57 am

OP here

To the person who said Florida firms would be too competitive at OCI, I'm not so sure if that's true. Checking out the who-worked-where list I see about 5 of my Florida classmates returning to Florida this summer (out of like 190 total students). Then again I suppose there's just not many Florida spots open in general so maybe the probability we'd all get offered from firms there might be more unlikely. Still, it seems worth it to at least try for Florida has a secondary target since even a list of non-grade selective NYC firms may not fill up my list.



I did not grow up or go to undegrad in South Florida but I am working there this summer so I can interview at those South Florida firms while I'm here. Question: Why do you say snail-mail? My plan was to write targeted emails to them today and maybe stalk alumni on their rosters saying I submitted an app, etc.

Additionally, I'm wondering why no one has recommended me Chicago yet? I have more connections to Chicago than NYC (none) - and I have heard Chicago firms reach deep into the class at UChi. They are also quite well represented at OCI. Of course the only problem is their clas sizes aren't as big as NYC. Not sure if it's a good or bad year in Chicago economically. And insofar as I have any choice in the matter, I would prefer Chicago since NYC conditions seem brutal and expensive as I'm on full loans. Of course, an NYC offer is better than no offer.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:I did not grow up or go to undegrad in South Florida but I am working there this summer so I can interview at those South Florida firms while I'm here. Question: Why do you say snail-mail? My plan was to write targeted emails to them today and maybe stalk alumni on their rosters saying I submitted an app, etc.


Email could work too. It's been a while since I went through the process, so I don't know which method recruitors prefer. If working in South Florida this summer is your only connection to the area, it could be a tough sell to firms.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:36 am

Why no journal? Also I'd think NYC would be easier for you to get than Chicago.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I did not grow up or go to undegrad in South Florida but I am working there this summer so I can interview at those South Florida firms while I'm here. Question: Why do you say snail-mail? My plan was to write targeted emails to them today and maybe stalk alumni on their rosters saying I submitted an app, etc.


Email could work too. It's been a while since I went through the process, so I don't know which method recruitors prefer. If working in South Florida this summer is your only connection to the area, it could be a tough sell to firms.


OP here
To clarify I did go to school/grow up in Florida in general, just not the south. Do you think that'll really make a big difference in selling my ties? What do you think I could say to sell my interest in that specific region besides working there this summer?

No journal because I didn't do the write-on. Wasn't inherently interested in it and didn't think it would add much utility to my resume to justifty the time commitment - and it was mathmatically next to impossible that I'd grade on to LR. Might as well spend extra time upping my grades if I strike out.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I did not grow up or go to undegrad in South Florida but I am working there this summer so I can interview at those South Florida firms while I'm here. Question: Why do you say snail-mail? My plan was to write targeted emails to them today and maybe stalk alumni on their rosters saying I submitted an app, etc.


Email could work too. It's been a while since I went through the process, so I don't know which method recruitors prefer. If working in South Florida this summer is your only connection to the area, it could be a tough sell to firms.


OP here
To clarify I did go to school/grow up in Florida in general, just not the south. Do you think that'll really make a big difference in selling my ties? What do you think I could say to sell my interest in that specific region besides working there this summer?


It could make a difference. South Florida firms tend to be fairly territorial and want to know that you don't just want to live there for the beach, weather, and night life. What's your real reason for being there-as opposed to another area-this summer? Did the issue come up when you interviewed for your current gig? Short of finding a fiance or convincing your family to move to Miami over the next couple weeks, I'm not sure what you could do to boost your ties.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:37 pm

I'm a classmate of yours and think you have a decent shot at a chicago firm given your ties. People generally discourage others from applying to Chi firms as these firms care a lot about ties. This isn't something you have to worry about though.

Based on my estimate of your GPA and the OCS callback report, you should really gun for these Chicago offices during OCI- Bryan Cave, Drinker Biddle, Dykema, Foley & Lardner, Mcguirewoods, Schiff Hardin, SNR Denton.

These are all national firms that you have a good chance of getting a callback from.

I know very little about Florida and NYC firms, so can't give you input there.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Jay Obee » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:10 pm

How do you have no ties anywhere except where you've been for the last year? Did you go to high school and UG overseas?

If you have lived anywhere in the country for a year or more, I think you can count that as a tie most of the time.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I did not grow up or go to undegrad in South Florida but I am working there this summer so I can interview at those South Florida firms while I'm here. Question: Why do you say snail-mail? My plan was to write targeted emails to them today and maybe stalk alumni on their rosters saying I submitted an app, etc.


Email could work too. It's been a while since I went through the process, so I don't know which method recruitors prefer. If working in South Florida this summer is your only connection to the area, it could be a tough sell to firms.


OP here
To clarify I did go to school/grow up in Florida in general, just not the south. Do you think that'll really make a big difference in selling my ties? What do you think I could say to sell my interest in that specific region besides working there this summer?


It could make a difference. South Florida firms tend to be fairly territorial and want to know that you don't just want to live there for the beach, weather, and night life. What's your real reason for being there-as opposed to another area-this summer? Did the issue come up when you interviewed for your current gig? Short of finding a fiance or convincing your family to move to Miami over the next couple weeks, I'm not sure what you could do to boost your ties.


OP here

I applied to an organization that had many offices throughout FL and I told them I'd go anywhere but preferred my home city. The organization's circumstances changed such that my home city wouldn't provide much work for me anymore - so I told them they can relocate me anywhere. So I guess the real reason I'm here is because of chance, more or less or that there's just more legal stuff to do. They didn't really grill me on my ties in the interview, seemed pretty much OK that I'd take anything in FL that was available.

Classmate - Thanks, I'll give those firms a look that aren't on my list in the post. Hoping you're right as I'd much prefer Chi over NYC. McGuirewoods actually sponsored my law preview if that's worth anything, shame their money didn't go too far. :lol:


Jay Obee - I haven't spent more than a year anywhere else in the country. Went to high school and UG in FL.

Jay Obee
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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Jay Obee » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Oh, I was confused when you said you said that you didn't have any connections to south Florida. Your "home" is basically elsewhere in florida.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Additionally, I'm wondering why no one has recommended me Chicago yet? I have more connections to Chicago than NYC (none) - and I have heard Chicago firms reach deep into the class at UChi. They are also quite well represented at OCI. Of course the only problem is their clas sizes aren't as big as NYC. Not sure if it's a good or bad year in Chicago economically. And insofar as I have any choice in the matter, I would prefer Chicago since NYC conditions seem brutal and expensive as I'm on full loans. Of course, an NYC offer is better than no offer.


According to your first post, you don't have "ties" to Chicago; you go to school there. It's not like you're from Illinois and just happened to go to UG elsewhere. Anecdotally, I've heard from people at NU/UC that NU folks do better in Chicago because more tend to stay in Chicago; there is a bit of a presumption that UC people aren't going to stay absent Chicago ties. You have ties to Florida. People are advising you to bid NYC because NYC firms don't care about ties. And obviously get to work on Florida firms ASAP.

Ties aside, the Chicago market is tiny (especially compared to NYC) and competitive because it naturally feeds from UC/NU and the tops of the classes at other local/nearby schools. You should bid some Chicago firms, focusing on largest classes/least selective, but NYC is a much safer bet because the sheer number of SAs flowing into NYC each summer dwarfs Chicago's numbers.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Additionally, I'm wondering why no one has recommended me Chicago yet? I have more connections to Chicago than NYC (none) - and I have heard Chicago firms reach deep into the class at UChi. They are also quite well represented at OCI. Of course the only problem is their clas sizes aren't as big as NYC. Not sure if it's a good or bad year in Chicago economically. And insofar as I have any choice in the matter, I would prefer Chicago since NYC conditions seem brutal and expensive as I'm on full loans. Of course, an NYC offer is better than no offer.


According to your first post, you don't have "ties" to Chicago; you go to school there. It's not like you're from Illinois and just happened to go to UG elsewhere. Anecdotally, I've heard from people at NU/UC that NU folks do better in Chicago because more tend to stay in Chicago; there is a bit of a presumption that UC people aren't going to stay absent Chicago ties. You have ties to Florida. People are advising you to bid NYC because NYC firms don't care about ties. And obviously get to work on Florida firms ASAP.

Ties aside, the Chicago market is tiny (especially compared to NYC) and competitive because it naturally feeds from UC/NU and the tops of the classes at other local/nearby schools. You should bid some Chicago firms, focusing on largest classes/least selective, but NYC is a much safer bet because the sheer number of SAs flowing into NYC each summer dwarfs Chicago's numbers.


This is all true, although are there any nonselective firms in Chicago with large classes?

Yes, you will have much better luck in NYC than Chicago with your grades and your ties. Florida legal market is a shitshow right now, so don't bank on anything there, but can't hurt to try.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:35 pm

Here's the painful truth: there's a good chance you won't get a job out of OCI (though you certainly have a shot, so do your best). Make a list of firms that aren't coming to OCI and start mass mailing soon. Figure out which markets you're interested in and contact the relevant Am Law 350 firms.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Pokemon » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:Here's the painful truth: there's a good chance you won't get a job out of OCI (though you certainly have a shot, so do your best). Make a list of firms that aren't coming to OCI and start mass mailing soon. Figure out which markets you're interested in and contact the relevant Am Law 350 firms.


Do not mean to steal thread, and maybe this will help OP, but when people say mass mail do they mean literally mail partners, or do they mean apply on the firm website?

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:44 am

Pokemon wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Here's the painful truth: there's a good chance you won't get a job out of OCI (though you certainly have a shot, so do your best). Make a list of firms that aren't coming to OCI and start mass mailing soon. Figure out which markets you're interested in and contact the relevant Am Law 350 firms.


Do not mean to steal thread, and maybe this will help OP, but when people say mass mail do they mean literally mail partners, or do they mean apply on the firm website?

I believe you should find the recruiting director's email or something like that.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby USAIRS » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:39 pm

Bottom of the class alumnus from Chicago here. I have some minimal insight into Florida. PM me if you want to discuss.

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Re: Near bottom of the class at Chicago, need help strategizing

Postby JollyGreenGiant » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:51 pm

Did Chicago OCI last year, and I think your list is pretty solid for your numbers. As for markets, FL is pretty tough because there are simply few jobs. I highly recommend avoiding DC/Chi as well because you're more apt to strike out there.

My recommendations are to mass mail ASAP and reach out to 3Ls who worked a summer at firms you're interested in. Be sure to name-drop for interviews.




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