Super low grades and employment

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Anonymous User
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Super low grades and employment

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:53 pm

Posted this in another thread, but was hoping to get some other responses from people with different perspectives with regards to employment. Just took my 3L exams and felt I failed all of them(guessing C,C,B,B)


3L at T30, Bottom 15 percent...maybe even bottom 10 percent after this semester. No D's or F's..but getting several C's. No loans. No debt.

Low SAT/ACT, high high school GPA
Low LSAT, high ugrad GPA

Horrible test taker. I just can't do well under strict time conditions and I need help on multiple choice. In real practice, multiple choice and strict 3 hour conditions seems silly.

Got at least a B+ in all law classes that required a paper(which I could take my time). When it comes to strict time conditions on exams, I either get irritable bowel or can't focus/get freaked out.

Luckily, I have a few connections job wise and a few attorneys said I can come work for them after the Bar in small law firms (It could be anything from an unpaid intern to a full associate..I have no idea what is in store. Very vague). They didn't ask my grades. Any general job/career advice is greatly appreciated.

1. All I need to focus on my final semester is preparing all semester for the July 2013 Bar Exam and just graduating? No point in trying to salvage my grades at the expense of bar studying? I think I might need to start super early due to my test taking ability. Taking Barbri. Any tips or suggestions on what material or what to do starting January 2013?

2. Can bad grades really haunt me my entire career? Connections probably won't ask my grades so hopefully my foot gets in the door there. After that it is just mainly resume and experience? At a T30...isn't it top 20-25 percent or bust? Isnt the rest of the 75 percent of the class just screwed together? It's not like bottom 15 percent is in a MUCH worse position than bottom 40 percent or median...etc.

3. Very broad question: Any other job/career advice is greatly appreciated. However, what other things some lawyers do to make money on the side? Maybe some stock market/real estate? I feel my actual salary coming out won't be very high(maybe 30-40k). Law school is an investment and I feel I just fooled around too much and treated it like undergrad at times. Gotta kick myself in the foot for that.

---->Am I aiming too high if I would be happy with a shitlaw small firm job working 50hr/weeks and making 40K+(25-30/hour) starting out? All I care about is the upward mobility after that and hoping my work and experience will be more important than my grades 5-10 years out.

4. Interests:real estate law, criminal defense, personal injury, TWE, family law(what my first job will likely be). Starting out, do people usually stick to just 1 practice or can I try and work 2-3 kinds of work?

macnut2012
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:36 am

Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby macnut2012 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:05 am

Relax. You're going to be fine. I have friends who graduated at the bottom of their class from T3 schools who got decent jobs. You're doing okay and you're going to school that is atleast in the top 50. It's a tough job market, but you will find a law related job.

You can't undue past grades, so just decide how you're going to handle the future. Pass the bar and prove to employers that you're a valuable asset. If you're good for the firm, your good for employment and even possible promotions.

Anonymous User
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Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:04 am

If you're interested in criminal defense you could try some PD offices. I recently scored an offer at a prestigious DA office and no one cared about my grades. I'd imagine PD offices are the same. After a few years as a PD (making between 35-45k) you could move to private criminal defense.

It's been my understanding, through my networking and connections, that grades do not matter after your first job as far as criminal law is concerned.

kryptix
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Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby kryptix » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:34 am

I think this really depends on where you are, out of Fordham some firms want a good explanation for a B, while some big firms will even consider people below median with certain skills that the firms are looking for.

As for 3 hour time limits, I'm not sure about law as I haven't worked in the field substantively yet, but from the banking side of things, I can definitely say that hard 3 hour deadlines do come up sometimes (usually even a fire drill type of situation you still get a day but I've had things that had to be done by end of business that popped up in the afternoon before). You sound like you know what you want to do though, and in the fields you listed I don't think that type of immediate deadline is likely to pop up so you should do fine.

In the business world I've found that people will look at your grades for some positions while others just want you to have done exactly what they need at a previous job. Before law school I had moved education to the end of my resume for a while already, so it was an interesting change to put it at the top again :).

Good luck and you should do fine if you are in a position where a 50k job will cover your liabilities for 2-3 years. After that its up to you to move up, no one will hand it to you but the opportunities will be there especially in fields like the ones your interested in where you can go solo. Think about it this way, you don't have a family and mortgage that need to be paid for :).

omg clay aiken !
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby omg clay aiken ! » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:39 pm

dont let these forums believe that you're screwed for life, perpetually defined by your poor grades or your class rank. yes, it's going to be tough to find a first legal job. and when you do, you probably wont make a lot of money at first. but you may find that you really love practicing law and that your law school grades had more to do with being burned out from school/going through the motions than a lack of ability

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Drake014
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Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby Drake014 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Posted this in another thread, but was hoping to get some other responses from people with different perspectives with regards to employment. Just took my 3L exams and felt I failed all of them(guessing C,C,B,B)


3L at T30, Bottom 15 percent...maybe even bottom 10 percent after this semester. No D's or F's..but getting several C's. No loans. No debt.

Low SAT/ACT, high high school GPA
Low LSAT, high ugrad GPA

Horrible test taker. I just can't do well under strict time conditions and I need help on multiple choice. In real practice, multiple choice and strict 3 hour conditions seems silly.

Got at least a B+ in all law classes that required a paper(which I could take my time). When it comes to strict time conditions on exams, I either get irritable bowel or can't focus/get freaked out.

Luckily, I have a few connections job wise and a few attorneys said I can come work for them after the Bar in small law firms (It could be anything from an unpaid intern to a full associate..I have no idea what is in store. Very vague). They didn't ask my grades. Any general job/career advice is greatly appreciated.

1. All I need to focus on my final semester is preparing all semester for the July 2013 Bar Exam and just graduating? No point in trying to salvage my grades at the expense of bar studying? I think I might need to start super early due to my test taking ability. Taking Barbri. Any tips or suggestions on what material or what to do starting January 2013?

2. Can bad grades really haunt me my entire career? Connections probably won't ask my grades so hopefully my foot gets in the door there. After that it is just mainly resume and experience? At a T30...isn't it top 20-25 percent or bust? Isnt the rest of the 75 percent of the class just screwed together? It's not like bottom 15 percent is in a MUCH worse position than bottom 40 percent or median...etc.

3. Very broad question: Any other job/career advice is greatly appreciated. However, what other things some lawyers do to make money on the side? Maybe some stock market/real estate? I feel my actual salary coming out won't be very high(maybe 30-40k). Law school is an investment and I feel I just fooled around too much and treated it like undergrad at times. Gotta kick myself in the foot for that.

---->Am I aiming too high if I would be happy with a shitlaw small firm job working 50hr/weeks and making 40K+(25-30/hour) starting out? All I care about is the upward mobility after that and hoping my work and experience will be more important than my grades 5-10 years out.

4. Interests:real estate law, criminal defense, personal injury, TWE, family law(what my first job will likely be). Starting out, do people usually stick to just 1 practice or can I try and work 2-3 kinds of work?


No loans and no debt? You are better off than most people with better grades. Just as most law schools care about two things, firms care about mainly two things. Your grades and your networking potential. If you don't have a high amount of one, you'd better show that you have a high amount of the other.

In regards to networking, join organizations related to your legal interests. When interviewing at a firm, ask them questions about how they generate clients. This let's them know that you're interested in that.

Also, pick one or two areas of law to advertise to your network. I know two girls from school that don't have permanent positions. One wants any kind of firm position and the other one wants a real estate position and currently works in a temporary position related to real estate. When I hear about a real estate position, guess which one of the two girls I e-mail.

Its okay to have 5 or 6 areas of interest, so long as the people you know, know you as the real estate guy or criminal defense guy. When you tell your network you want any job or have a half dozen areas of interest, they don't remember any of them.

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ggocat
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Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby ggocat » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. All I need to focus on my final semester is preparing all semester for the July 2013 Bar Exam and just graduating? No point in trying to salvage my grades at the expense of bar studying? I think I might need to start super early due to my test taking ability. Taking Barbri. Any tips or suggestions on what material or what to do starting January 2013?

Correct, IMO.

Anonymous User wrote:2. Can bad grades really haunt me my entire career? Connections probably won't ask my grades so hopefully my foot gets in the door there. After that it is just mainly resume and experience? At a T30...isn't it top 20-25 percent or bust? Isnt the rest of the 75 percent of the class just screwed together? It's not like bottom 15 percent is in a MUCH worse position than bottom 40 percent or median...etc.

Correct, IMO.

Anonymous User wrote:3. Very broad question: Any other job/career advice is greatly appreciated. However, what other things some lawyers do to make money on the side? Maybe some stock market/real estate? I feel my actual salary coming out won't be very high(maybe 30-40k). Law school is an investment and I feel I just fooled around too much and treated it like undergrad at times. Gotta kick myself in the foot for that.

Project lawyer work can be done, as can starting your own practice without court appearances, but most lawyers do not "make money on the side" due to the time constraints of your first legal job (assuming you have one). I would not try to "make money," i.e. income, from "some stock market/real estate" unless you know what you are doing already and are ready for lots of time-consuming work. And even then, you might as well just learn how to play poker or join some pyramid sales scheme. By all means, learn something about the market so you can have some control over your discretionary income and savings. But don't expect "playing stocks" to pay off better than ditch-digging.

Anonymous User wrote:---->Am I aiming too high if I would be happy with a shitlaw small firm job working 50hr/weeks and making 40K+(25-30/hour) starting out? All I care about is the upward mobility after that and hoping my work and experience will be more important than my grades 5-10 years out.

Depending on your market, maybe. Overall, I'd say that's a reasonable goal. But you should try to get some temp work / contract work / law clerk work in the meantime. (Most of those small law places probably won't hire you for an associate's wage until you are admitted to the bar, anyway).
Anonymous User wrote:4. Interests:real estate law, criminal defense, personal injury, TWE, family law(what my first job will likely be). Starting out, do people usually stick to just 1 practice or can I try and work 2-3 kinds of work?

It depends. You can do multiple things at a small firm that has steady work in such fields.

SortOfObsessed
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby SortOfObsessed » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:35 am

Drake014 wrote:No loans and no debt? You are better off than most people with better grades. Just as most law schools care about two things, firms care about mainly two things. Your grades and your networking potential. If you don't have a high amount of one, you'd better show that you have a high amount of the other.

In regards to networking, join organizations related to your legal interests. When interviewing at a firm, ask them questions about how they generate clients. This let's them know that you're interested in that.

Also, pick one or two areas of law to advertise to your network. I know two girls from school that don't have permanent positions. One wants any kind of firm position and the other one wants a real estate position and currently works in a temporary position related to real estate. When I hear about a real estate position, guess which one of the two girls I e-mail.

Its okay to have 5 or 6 areas of interest, so long as the people you know, know you as the real estate guy or criminal defense guy. When you tell your network you want any job or have a half dozen areas of interest, they don't remember any of them.


This is probably the best advice in this entire forum.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Super low grades and employment

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:47 am

SortOfObsessed wrote:
Drake014 wrote:No loans and no debt? You are better off than most people with better grades. Just as most law schools care about two things, firms care about mainly two things. Your grades and your networking potential. If you don't have a high amount of one, you'd better show that you have a high amount of the other.

In regards to networking, join organizations related to your legal interests. When interviewing at a firm, ask them questions about how they generate clients. This let's them know that you're interested in that.

Also, pick one or two areas of law to advertise to your network. I know two girls from school that don't have permanent positions. One wants any kind of firm position and the other one wants a real estate position and currently works in a temporary position related to real estate. When I hear about a real estate position, guess which one of the two girls I e-mail.

Its okay to have 5 or 6 areas of interest, so long as the people you know, know you as the real estate guy or criminal defense guy. When you tell your network you want any job or have a half dozen areas of interest, they don't remember any of them.


This is probably the best advice in this entire forum.


I agree that it's great advice. My favorite nugget in there is the part about picking a specialty. IMO, the people who fail the most in their careers coming out of law school are those who come out with absolutely no idea what the practice of law is like and with absolutely no clue as to what kind of law they want to practice. Even people with great grades can fail pretty miserably during OCI if it's apparent that they have no special interests, experience, or talents.




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