V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:44 pm

In your experience, what sort of work do first and second year litigation associates at a V10 do beyond document review?

Torney12
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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Torney12/V10 anon here

Clicked Anon by accident.


Anonymous User wrote:How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.
My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.

Most of my colleagues, especially those who last more than three years (most emotionally healthy people leave quickly, honestly), do not live the way I do. Sleep deprivation is a problem, but I wouldn't say it is their biggest problem. Poorly managed stress is what will ruin your life if you let it. Take the usual overachiever's type A personality and multiply it by a constant fear of being sabotaged, scapegoated, lied on, railroaded, and fired. These people - including partners...especially partners - are constantly on high alert as if they are locked up in San Quentin and waiting to be shivved by a prisoner or executed. That sort of perpetual watchfulness and (sadly, justified) paranoia takes its toll very quickly. My colleagues not only eat too much, but also smoke, drink too much alcohol, drink too much coffee, and do legal and illegal substances. Many, if not most, of them are propped up by ill-advised mixes of anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and stimulants. Many of them are overweight and I have long noticed that within a year of arriving at the firm, most associates gain 15-20 pounds. On top of all of this, many, if not most, of my colleagues make bad choices in who they date and marry. They choose significant others for their looks, wealth, connections and other reasons related to keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, they have no meaningful emotional support and no one to talk them down from the ledge when they are doing terrible things to themselves out of self-loathing, depression, and stress.

Big law is a mess and if it was my job to help the sorry people here, I wouldn't know where to start. The money and annual 10-15% pay increases are great, however, especially considering that ours may be a dying or at least rapidly declining profession.



What were the affirmative steps you took to make sure you stayed on top of things like you have?

EDIT:

Also, following up on the cat nap thing: Isn't that dangerous (if someone sees you sleeping and thinks you're lazy, or something)? Forgive my ignorance, obviously you've made it work, I'm just curious how
I've detailed at length in the thread how I have survived so far. Regarding naps, how would someone see me sleeping behind my closed, locked door? My firm has yet to hire anyone with x-ray vision, lol.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Fair enough. I guess I just thought that surely someone would have popped by and stumbled on you sleeping, but I guess people usually call ahead.

Thanks. That's a really helpful tip - a quick nap can do wonders. One of my problems has always been falling asleep quickly though - i guess a 15 minute nap is less "quick" if it takes you 25 minutes to fall asleep...

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In your experience, what sort of work do first and second year litigation associates at a V10 do beyond document review?
I'm not an expert on litigation, but I would imagine writing memos and assisting with drafting and researching motions and briefs are other tasks that junior litigation associates would be entrusted with. This is the sort of thing you can find out very easily from associates at your firm.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Fair enough. I guess I just thought that surely someone would have popped by and stumbled on you sleeping, but I guess people usually call ahead.

Thanks. That's a really helpful tip - a quick nap can do wonders. One of my problems has always been falling asleep quickly though - i guess a 15 minute nap is less "quick" if it takes you 25 minutes to fall asleep...
You know, when I mentioned napping, I had no idea I'd be authoring a series of posts on the topic, lol. I don't mind your questions, but you're overthinking this, which tells me either you're not yet in big law or you're not yet overworked enough. Things get very simple when you're desperate for sleep.

Here's a play by play of how the Big Law Nap (BLN) goes:

Usually, my assessment of when to BLN takes into consideration how active the people with whom I am working are at any given time. If e-mails are flying and people are coming in and out of my office, then that's clearly not the time for the BLN. I BLN during lulls in discussion. From time to time, even my best guess as to when I can BLN will be erroneous and people will stop by and even try to enter without knocking. That's why I lock my door. They scratch at my door a bit and then leave. If they have something important to say, they'll call or e-mail. If they don't get in touch, then it couldn't have been that important. Very occasionally, not only will the intruder call/e-mail, but s/he will make some statement that suggests s/he wants to know where I was. If the person is my equal or junior, then I ignore the part of the communication that is inquiring into my previous whereabouts. They don't need to know where I was. All they need to know is that I am available now. If the person is senior, however, then clearly, the answer is that I was at a brief meeting, wasn't I?

But again, you're overthinking this. No one cares enough about you in big law to deduce that you're BLNing. Some take cigarette breaks, I take the BLN. Life goes on.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:20 pm

You're right, I'm still just a 2l. Thanks for your patience. This just seemed like such a useful way to keep your productivity up I wanted to know all I could about it.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:14 pm

Anon V10 - Thank you for taking questions.

I am a top 1% at a lower T14. I am also a CPA with 1 year of corporate experience as an accountant and an MBA candidate.
My questions are -
1. Would CPA/MBA help with employment? exit strategy?
2. I know you said specializing early is a bad idea. But with a CPA license and experience in accounting its kind of hard not to specialize early. Any advice?
3. If I choose to specialize, say, in tax law, do I pick a company with a higher general "V" rating over a company with a good rating in tax law?
4. How important is being on a journal review in my case?

Thank you again.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:42 pm

If I take a BLN, but dream about work and actively come up with a solution to something, can I bill the time?

ruski
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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby ruski » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:13 pm

do you not have any window or anything in ur office? if i lock my door (which is wood), someone can just peer through this tiny glass thing we have and see im in the office. also, i think it would be really weird if someone who stops by your office finds your door locked in the middle of the afternoon, on multiple occasions. not to mention the mail guys who deliver your stuff. if you need to take a nap and escape just hide in the bathroom stall like every other normal person.

and who locks their door when going to brief meetings? this is just way too sketchy. people will just assume ur hooking up or something, esp if there are no windows at all and door is locked..

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby wiseowl » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:07 pm

So locking your door for a quick nap is suspect but sleeping in a bathroom stall for minutes/hours is not? Got it.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:21 pm

ruski wrote:do you not have any window or anything in ur office? if i lock my door (which is wood), someone can just peer through this tiny glass thing we have and see im in the office. also, i think it would be really weird if someone who stops by your office finds your door locked in the middle of the afternoon, on multiple occasions. not to mention the mail guys who deliver your stuff. if you need to take a nap and escape just hide in the bathroom stall like every other normal person.

and who locks their door when going to brief meetings? this is just way too sketchy. people will just assume ur hooking up or something, esp if there are no windows at all and door is locked..
If what "normal" people do in your world is sleep in public bathrooms, then you go ahead and do that. In my world, bathrooms are for urinating and defecating. So since my office is awesome and free of urine and feces, I will be staying here. Also, people at my firm have something called work that keeps most of us from roaming around randomly rattling people's doorknobs, peering in at them, and caring if their doors are locked. Maybe that's not the case at your firm. Firms do differ.
Anonymous User wrote:If I take a BLN, but dream about work and actively come up with a solution to something, can I bill the time?

Sure, as long as you proceed to turn yourself in to the ethics committee for stealing from clients.

With that, I'm moving on from naps now because this topic is far too silly for protracted discussion.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You're right, I'm still just a 2l. Thanks for your patience. This just seemed like such a useful way to keep your productivity up I wanted to know all I could about it.
I agree and I am not sure why more people don't nap. People take time for smoke breaks, coffee breaks, crying jags in bathroom stalls, and angry complaining to friends, but a simple step like a nap that can replenish one's emotional and physical energy levels doesn't occur to them. This is part of what you will see in big law. People are so busy scheming or being afraid, confused, and paranoid that they don't see the simple, common sense solutions to their misery until everything has come crashing down around them. I have watched many times as colleagues have burned out, broken down and ended up leaving the law and losing their livelihoods because they refused to stand up for themselves...out of fear losing their livelihoods. Sometimes, I want to pull people aside and point out that the very silence that they are maintaining out of fear of some terrible consequence is precisely what will make that consequence inevitable.
Last edited by Torney12 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby keg411 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:50 pm

Torney12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're right, I'm still just a 2l. Thanks for your patience. This just seemed like such a useful way to keep your productivity up I wanted to know all I could about it.
I agree and I am not sure why more people don't nap.


This is kind of off-topic, but some people can't nap. When I nap, I usually feel like crap for a few hours after and it's not replenishing (because I tend to get incredibly dehydrated when I nap no matter how much I drink before). I also have trouble sleeping anywhere that isn't a bed.

Although obviously this probably isn't true for most people, just figured I'd throw it out there as a potential reason why some people don't take quick office naps.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:00 pm

keg411 wrote:
Torney12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You're right, I'm still just a 2l. Thanks for your patience. This just seemed like such a useful way to keep your productivity up I wanted to know all I could about it.
I agree and I am not sure why more people don't nap.


This is kind of off-topic, but some people can't nap. When I nap, I usually feel like crap for a few hours after and it's not replenishing (because I tend to get incredibly dehydrated when I nap no matter how much I drink before). I also have trouble sleeping anywhere that isn't a bed.

Although obviously this probably isn't true for most people, just figured I'd throw it out there as a potential reason why some people don't take quick office naps.
This makes sense. I hope you are able to find another way to address chronic sleep deprivation if you go into big law.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anon V10 - Thank you for taking questions.

I am a top 1% at a lower T14. I am also a CPA with 1 year of corporate experience as an accountant and an MBA candidate.
My questions are -
1. Would CPA/MBA help with employment? exit strategy?
2. I know you said specializing early is a bad idea. But with a CPA license and experience in accounting its kind of hard not to specialize early. Any advice?
3. If I choose to specialize, say, in tax law, do I pick a company with a higher general "V" rating over a company with a good rating in tax law?
4. How important is being on a journal review in my case?

Thank you again.

1. Depends on what you are doing, but you would be well advised to choose a group/area of law that makes use of your CPA and MBA.
2. I said that specializing early is a bad idea unless you have market- and experience-based reasons for specializing. In your case, it would be a shame not to make use of your MBA, CPA, and year of accounting experience.
3. By company and "V rating", I'll assume you mean firm and Vault ranking (let me know if that is not the case). If so, I would suggest picking the strongest and most respected firm that will have you because a tax practice does not exist in a vacuum. The quality of work that a tax practice gets often depends on the overall quality of work that the firm's corporate practice gets since tax groups often work with other groups to meet clients' needs. I am not sure you will ever be in the position to choose either a tax practice or a good firm though because I can't think of a firm with a good tax practice that is not also a good firm in general. I have not researched this, however.
4. Depends on what you want to do. I usually recommend journals because the legal profession tends to respect and desire that credential and because I've never seen being on a journal held against someone, but I have seen not being on a journal held strongly against applicants. If you are sure you want to go into tax law, however, then taking lots of tax classes, doing very well in them, and then getting a tax LLM is probably a better use of your time than laboring over bluebooking for a journal.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:31 pm

Hello, and thanks in advance.

Do you have advice on t14 2Ls who have a SA at well recognized firm, but may want to try for a v20 firm in 3L OCI because they did very well last semester? - Perhaps, get in touch with the Callbacks that you did not get offers from or cold email brand new firms? etc.

Thank you.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:17 am

Thanks for your contributions. Call it insecurity, but I am curious as to what is "performing above your level" for a corporate associate.

Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the typical progression for an associate over the years? For example, when is an associate typically supervising diligence, controlling disclosure schedules, drafting purchase agreements, drafting LOIs, negotiating with opposing counsel (with direction of partner), run a deal with significant partner supervision, run a deal with little to no supervision, etc.? I am curious about the typical life cycle of an associates career. Of course, drafting a purchase agreement from the NVCA forms for a simple Series A offering is much different than drafting a purchase agreement for a large, complex M&A, and partners really vary a lot in terms of their comfort level of delegating or micro-managing...but generalizations are helpful.

Big law is such a fake place, so even though my hours are strong and steady (maybe too strong), people say nice things about me (at least to my face and what others pass along), and I work with a wide variety of people in my department, I can't help but focus on my mistakes/misinterpretations. I have trouble attributing my level of busyness to anything other than our firm being low on associates. I'm a pretty damn confident person too.... big law/sleep deprivation just really fucks with your head... sorry for rambling. I guess what I am trying to say is that an outsiders perspective on the approximate typical work level will be helpful or scare a lot of associates reading this thread :lol:

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hello, and thanks in advance.

Do you have advice on t14 2Ls who have a SA at well recognized firm, but may want to try for a v20 firm in 3L OCI because they did very well last semester? - Perhaps, get in touch with the Callbacks that you did not get offers from or cold email brand new firms? etc.

Thank you.
Your career services office is the best source of advice on this. I don't know how 3L interviewing works nowadays.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for your contributions. Call it insecurity, but I am curious as to what is "performing above your level" for a corporate associate.

Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the typical progression for an associate over the years? For example, when is an associate typically supervising diligence, controlling disclosure schedules, drafting purchase agreements, drafting LOIs, negotiating with opposing counsel (with direction of partner), run a deal with significant partner supervision, run a deal with little to no supervision, etc.? I am curious about the typical life cycle of an associates career. Of course, drafting a purchase agreement from the NVCA forms for a simple Series A offering is much different than drafting a purchase agreement for a large, complex M&A, and partners really vary a lot in terms of their comfort level of delegating or micro-managing...but generalizations are helpful.

Big law is such a fake place, so even though my hours are strong and steady (maybe too strong), people say nice things about me (at least to my face and what others pass along), and I work with a wide variety of people in my department, I can't help but focus on my mistakes/misinterpretations. I have trouble attributing my level of busyness to anything other than our firm being low on associates. I'm a pretty damn confident person too.... big law/sleep deprivation just really fucks with your head... sorry for rambling. I guess what I am trying to say is that an outsiders perspective on the approximate typical work level will be helpful or scare a lot of associates reading this thread :lol:
There's absolutely no such thing as a typical associate's career. It's your job to figure out what kind of work is available, how much of it is good work for your purposes, and how you are going to go about getting that good work.

Some associates are running small deals as midlevels and being taken along to pitch to clients. Some associates are still doing primarily due diligence as midlevels. Many associates don't even last long enough to be midlevels. A lot depends on matters such as your luck, your reputation, your interest in acquiring new skills, whether business is booming at your firm, how many associates you have to compete with for good work, and those other associates' own luck/reputation/interest. It's not unheard of for lazy, incompetent associates to end up with a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to build great skills just because there's a lot of work and few people around to do it. It's also not unheard of for talented associates to get shut out of good work because business is slow or their class year is particularly competitive or people just haven't taken a liking to them.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:20 am

Torney12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for your contributions. Call it insecurity, but I am curious as to what is "performing above your level" for a corporate associate.

Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the typical progression for an associate over the years? For example, when is an associate typically supervising diligence, controlling disclosure schedules, drafting purchase agreements, drafting LOIs, negotiating with opposing counsel (with direction of partner), run a deal with significant partner supervision, run a deal with little to no supervision, etc.? I am curious about the typical life cycle of an associates career. Of course, drafting a purchase agreement from the NVCA forms for a simple Series A offering is much different than drafting a purchase agreement for a large, complex M&A, and partners really vary a lot in terms of their comfort level of delegating or micro-managing...but generalizations are helpful.

Big law is such a fake place, so even though my hours are strong and steady (maybe too strong), people say nice things about me (at least to my face and what others pass along), and I work with a wide variety of people in my department, I can't help but focus on my mistakes/misinterpretations. I have trouble attributing my level of busyness to anything other than our firm being low on associates. I'm a pretty damn confident person too.... big law/sleep deprivation just really fucks with your head... sorry for rambling. I guess what I am trying to say is that an outsiders perspective on the approximate typical work level will be helpful or scare a lot of associates reading this thread :lol:
There's absolutely no such thing as a typical associate's career. It's your job to figure out what kind of work is available, how much of it is good work for your purposes, and how you are going to go about getting that good work.

Some associates are running small deals as midlevels and being taken along to pitch to clients. Some associates are still doing primarily due diligence as midlevels. Many associates don't even last long enough to be midlevels. A lot depends on matters such as your luck, your reputation, your interest in acquiring new skills, whether business is booming at your firm, how many associates you have to compete with for good work, and those other associates' own luck/reputation/interest. It's not unheard of for lazy, incompetent associates to end up with a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to build great skills just because there's a lot of work and few people around to do it. It's also not unheard of for talented associates to get shut out of good work because business is slow or their class year is particularly competitive or people just haven't taken a liking to them.


I should have said this in my previous post, but my real purpose for the question is to get a better read as to how an interviewer would view high-level experience for say a 3-5 year corporate associate who is interviewing for an in-house position. This is a bit more objective and would be helpful so I can set goals to do my best to seek out work for my level that is "high-level" and talk to my mentors/sponsors if I'm not getting that kind of work. On the two extremes, running nine figure deals with no supervision would obviously be very high-level (and probably not believable for someone of this level, honestly) and doing diligence, preparing disclosure schedules and ancillary documents would be pretty low-level. Any insight is appreciated.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:07 pm

2L at a top 25 school, class rank just inside the top 10%.

You mentioned earlier about the guy taking a semester of mostly pass/fail classes looking lazy, and potentially hurting his chances to lateral later on. For me personally, it's a bit different and I'm wondering if my schedule would give the same impression. First semester of 2L I had 4 classes + journal, and took 1 of them pass/fail. Second semester (currently) I have 5 classes + journal (which is 2 graded credits this semester), and am taking 1 class pass/fail, along with another class that is inherently pass/fail (everyone takes it pass/fail, there is no graded option). We are given the option of taking two classes pass/fail throughout law school, so I won't be taking any classes pass/fail 3L year unless it is inherently such, like an externship. Will these pass/fail credits sprinkled in with my other graded classes hurt me in the same way later on in my career?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:21 pm

3L at CCN going to Weil/Kirkland next year.

If you were deciding between Weil/Kirkland BK and general corporate work, which would you slot into knowing what you know now?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2L at a top 25 school, class rank just inside the top 10%.

You mentioned earlier about the guy taking a semester of mostly pass/fail classes looking lazy, and potentially hurting his chances to lateral later on. For me personally, it's a bit different and I'm wondering if my schedule would give the same impression. First semester of 2L I had 4 classes + journal, and took 1 of them pass/fail. Second semester (currently) I have 5 classes + journal (which is 2 graded credits this semester), and am taking 1 class pass/fail, along with another class that is inherently pass/fail (everyone takes it pass/fail, there is no graded option). We are given the option of taking two classes pass/fail throughout law school, so I won't be taking any classes pass/fail 3L year unless it is inherently such, like an externship. Will these pass/fail credits sprinkled in with my other graded classes hurt me in the same way later on in my career?
I don't see this being a problem at all. You have a couple of pass/fails sprinkled in versus an entire semester of virtually only pass/fails. A couple of pass/fails sprinkled throughout the three years of law school are typical and hardly anyone notices. I am assuming, of course, that you did not take fundamental classes such as Torts or Contracts pass/fail, if that is even possible.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:3L at CCN going to Weil/Kirkland next year.

If you were deciding between Weil/Kirkland BK and general corporate work, which would you slot into knowing what you know now?
Are you asking if you should choose Weil v. Kirkland, if you should choose bankruptcy v. general corporate, or some other question altogether?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:53 am

Torney12 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:2L at a top 25 school, class rank just inside the top 10%.

You mentioned earlier about the guy taking a semester of mostly pass/fail classes looking lazy, and potentially hurting his chances to lateral later on. For me personally, it's a bit different and I'm wondering if my schedule would give the same impression. First semester of 2L I had 4 classes + journal, and took 1 of them pass/fail. Second semester (currently) I have 5 classes + journal (which is 2 graded credits this semester), and am taking 1 class pass/fail, along with another class that is inherently pass/fail (everyone takes it pass/fail, there is no graded option). We are given the option of taking two classes pass/fail throughout law school, so I won't be taking any classes pass/fail 3L year unless it is inherently such, like an externship. Will these pass/fail credits sprinkled in with my other graded classes hurt me in the same way later on in my career?
I don't see this being a problem at all. You have a couple of pass/fails sprinkled in versus an entire semester of virtually only pass/fails. A couple of pass/fails sprinkled throughout the three years of law school are typical and hardly anyone notices. I am assuming, of course, that you did not take fundamental classes such as Torts or Contracts pass/fail, if that is even possible.


Thanks for taking the time to answer. No, all of my fundamental classes were taken for a grade. The two classes I chose to pass/fail were upper level electives, including one of them which was a 9-10 person seminar type class. Neither is required.




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