Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

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Anonymous User
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Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:00 pm

So… T-20. I did terrible… as in bottom 15-20%. No connections, in a different market that had no ties with before work. Staying in school because I have really good scholarship that I’m actually in no danger of losing (basically need to fail out to do that here).

WTF SHOULD I SHOOT FOR NOW? Wtf should I actually be doing / shooting for / networking for…. Idk, I’m kind of freaking out on what my potential options can be with these grades…

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:02 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:07 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Do you have a full scholarship (covers not only tuition but living costs) and will you come out debt-free? Are you a 1L?

No, but its substantial. .. I really don’t think I’m dropping out, was worried thread would become this.

Yes I'm a 1L

Any type of job I can realistically shoot for in law is what I’m more curious on?

I don’t think I can ask such a blunt question to a career counselor who seems more concerned on what my dream job would be..

Are PI type jobs actually realistic? Anything in government I can gun for? Etc...

rad lulz
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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:09 pm

I'd probably drop out

Edit: if your grades don't drastically improve 2nd semester
Last edited by rad lulz on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Icculus
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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Icculus » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ajax adonis wrote:Do you have a full scholarship (covers not only tuition but living costs) and will you come out debt-free? Are you a 1L?

No, but its substantial. .. I really don’t think I’m dropping out, was worried thread would become this.

Yes I'm a 1L

Any type of job I can realistically shoot for in law is what I’m more curious on?

I don’t think I can ask such a blunt question to a career counselor who seems more concerned on what my dream job would be..

Are PI type jobs actually realistic? Anything in government I ch


Focus on grades. If you want PI start tailoring your resume to it since they love that shit, network, and be aware OCI will most likely not be your friend unless you do a total 180 semester 2. If your grades stay like this I would seriously consider dropping out.

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cinephile
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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:38 pm

You could stay this semester and use this time to apply for non-legal jobs, etc. and drop out once you get one. All legal jobs are ultra competitive these days and a person with no ties, no connections, and poor grades is the least likely to get a coveted PI/gov position.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:17 pm

I've worked at PI briefly before and really liked the environment. Unfortunately I have no one TRUE passion. Same with gov. Any clue what would be the most realistic / actually available with lower grades?

How would would I attempt to get into even shit law or mid-law (I know doesn't really exist) either? Guessing just trying to meet attorneys for those 2...

Obviously priority one is to figure out how to change whatever I did wrong

I'll also reevaluate after 1L year, but for now I'm going to try to do my damnest to turn it completely around while networking like crazy... Possibly trying to find work during spring semester

I've been already txting my brother about my dissapointment... he has a ton of lawyer friends, probably won't be able to help, but I'm trying ANYTHING right now...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:20 pm

cinephile wrote:You could stay this semester and use this time to apply for non-legal jobs, etc. and drop out once you get one. All legal jobs are ultra competitive these days and a person with no ties, no connections, and poor grades is the least likely to get a coveted PI/gov position.

I doubt I'd get one with my BA

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IAFG
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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby IAFG » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:21 pm

I don't think you necessarily need to drop out. Calculate what your monthly payment will be assuming 5% tuition increases, I might change my mind. The bigger problem is, I am not sure you want to be a lawyer. Particularly not the kind of lawyer you're most likely going to end up with this blow to your resume.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:55 pm

IAFG wrote:The bigger problem is, I am not sure you want to be a lawyer. Particularly not the kind of lawyer you're most likely going to end up with this blow to yourresume.

This, unfortunately, is TCR. The very cellar of a T20 is a tough place to be, and the jobs available to you are going to be mostly uninteresting work for very poor pay.

I'd try to line up a job for this summer, and be ready to reevaluate at the end of 1L. A decent small firm job or something is still possible, but you've got a huge climb.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Agent » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:14 pm

I recommend that you either (a) find another way to excel + flex that networking game or (b) drop out.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby linquest » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:28 pm

Do you have significant pre-law school work/volunteer experience that's related to a legal specialty? If not, you should drop out, especially if you were K->JD.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:23 pm

I actually think it might be worth talking to your career counselor about this. I did pretty terrible my first semester 1L as well, and sat down with my counselor who basically told me to get my shit together but also not to bother applying to any of the top firms in my city but if I really wanted a firm (I was considering PI) to let him know and he'd get me info/contacts at smaller firms - but then I'd basically be own my own. I appreciated the reality check, and the counselors' job is to find a job for YOU, regardless of if your grades are great or not.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby keg411 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:29 pm

If you really want to be a lawyer, you need to start applying for PT legal jobs NOW -- either with small firms, judges, DA/PD offices, etc.; and you need to work for whatever you want throughout all of law school. Join whatever the local Bar Association is and start going to whatever you can. You're also going to need to stay whatever city your school is in to make it work and you need to start developing ties. But you basically need to figure out what kind of non-BigLaw/MidLaw you want to practice immediately.

Basically, if you want to not be screwed, you are going to need to hustle your ass off over the next 2.5 years. If you don't think you can do that, you probably need to drop out (you can probably stay this semester, but start applying for non-legal jobs ASAP).

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby androstan » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:50 pm

keg411 wrote:If you really want to be a lawyer, you need to start applying for PT legal jobs NOW -- either with small firms, judges, DA/PD offices, etc.; and you need to work for whatever you want throughout all of law school. Join whatever the local Bar Association is and start going to whatever you can. You're also going to need to stay whatever city your school is in to make it work and you need to start developing ties. But you basically need to figure out what kind of non-BigLaw/MidLaw you want to practice immediately.

Basically, if you want to not be screwed, you are going to need to hustle your ass off over the next 2.5 years. If you don't think you can do that, you probably need to drop out (you can probably stay this semester, but start applying for non-legal jobs ASAP).


Yes, hustle, get your foot in the door somewhere, and figure out what went wrong with grades. Meet with profs. If you can seriously turn around your grades you can get above median, employers are more likely to give you a shot. Median from T20 with little or no debt is not a bad place to be if being a lawyer is really what you want.

Considering your financial situation, I say hang in there a semester and reevaluate at the end of this semester based on: connections made, whether you got your foot in the door to a career you like and want to do, your grades, and whether you actually want to be a laywer.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:46 pm

I'm in a similar situation and very upset at myself. I'm at a CCN and my grades are simply AWFUL. I really don't know what I should do right now. Seriously considering dropping out but on the other hand I guess there's literally no way I could possibly do any worse this semester.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm in a similar situation and very upset at myself. I'm at a CCN and my grades are simply AWFUL. I really don't know what I should do right now. Seriously considering dropping out but on the other hand I guess there's literally no way I could possibly do any worse this semester.


I'm sorry. That sucks. Goals? Debt? Other options? How bad are we talking?

If you are committed to finishing the year, you need to go to all your professors from last semester and milk them for information about what happened on your exams. Have them explain to you what you did wrong, what the A people did right, and write down any tips they give you. This semester make sure you take a lot of practice exams trying to incorporate the advice from your professors. Good luck!

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby andythefir » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:12 pm

First-I'm sorry that you're going through this, it can be very isolating and painful. You've been a great student your whole life and now that's taken away from you. Worse, everyone else seems to be in the top 1/4 (some are lying, some really are but won't be after next semester), which makes you feel that much worse.

I was in your position (roughly bottom 10%) a year ago and looked long and hard at dropping out. I saw it as a choice of small firm or small time prosecutor office over teaching high school or community college (the only other thing I'm qualified to do). It was worth it for me, but I came to terms with staying in the 40-60k salary range for the rest of my life-if I hadn't I would have dropped out.

The good news is that it is possible to turn around your law school experience. I was top 10% spring semester, 4.0 fall of 2L, which puts me roughly top 15-20% cumulative. I'd be happy to walk anyone through what I did, but I just wanted to let you know turning around a bad 1st semester can and does happen.

This is not to say you can fall backwards into better grades. Have articulated, concrete, and specific things you are going to change. Work smarter not harder? So is everyone else. You have a shot but you have to take real steps.
To answer your specific question all of the things you can "gun" for with low grades have people with better grades and more experience gunning for them too. Your game plan now ought to be get better grades and more experience.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby fish52 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:30 pm

andythefir wrote:First-I'm sorry that you're going through this, it can be very isolating and painful. You've been a great student your whole life and now that's taken away from you. Worse, everyone else seems to be in the top 1/4 (some are lying, some really are but won't be after next semester), which makes you feel that much worse.

I was in your position (roughly bottom 10%) a year ago and looked long and hard at dropping out. I saw it as a choice of small firm or small time prosecutor office over teaching high school or community college (the only other thing I'm qualified to do). It was worth it for me, but I came to terms with staying in the 40-60k salary range for the rest of my life-if I hadn't I would have dropped out.

The good news is that it is possible to turn around your law school experience. I was top 10% spring semester, 4.0 fall of 2L, which puts me roughly top 15-20% cumulative. I'd be happy to walk anyone through what I did, but I just wanted to let you know turning around a bad 1st semester can and does happen.

This is not to say you can fall backwards into better grades. Have articulated, concrete, and specific things you are going to change. Work smarter not harder? So is everyone else. You have a shot but you have to take real steps.
To answer your specific question all of the things you can "gun" for with low grades have people with better grades and more experience gunning for them too. Your game plan now ought to be get better grades and more experience.


Pretty inspirational story, although I'm sure this is pretty atypical (going from bottom of the class to top 20%). The sad thing about the legal profession is that, in terms of getting a good job, the only grades that matter are 1L grades. Where you finish after 1L matters far more than where you finish after 2L Fall. (This is even more true if you go to a school outside the T-14, where 3L OCI is virtually nonexistent--not sure where andythefir goes to law school.) For OP, that also means that where you finish after 1L Spring is more important than where you finish after 1L Fall. So calm down and work your ass off. You can turn this around. Try to bring yourself to median by the end of 1L, and network like crazy. Median at a T20 with very little debt is not a terrible place to be--definitely not great but not terrible--although your Fall grades will continue to be a blight on your transcript no matter how well you do this Spring. I second those above who said you should network like crazy. People who had terrible grades but still got BigLaw usually got there through a contact, some of which came from firm events. Good luck, and just be thankful you are on a scholarship! Most of your fellow cellar dwellers are not as fortunate...

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby andythefir » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:49 pm

My story is definitely atypical, and I am definitely very blessed that things worked out the way they have for me.

Something to keep in mind with much advice on this site is that there is the implicit assumption that each and every student wants biglaw (if this was true then most law students should never go to law school). If you truly are only interested in biglaw then yes, grades stop mattering after 1L. If your job search includes clerkships, public defender offices, small firms, or any number of other career paths then grades absolutely matter.

In my experience the on the ground effect of the recession is that you start to see someone with top 20% grades applying to a public interest/small firm spot where before those credentials would have gotten a big firm easily. To bring it home for this thread, no matter what one's career goals are there will be someone with good to great grades trying to get that same job. This is good news for someone who is forced to take the long view (outside of OCI) of legal hiring.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:11 pm

andythefir wrote:(if this was true then most law students should never go to law school)

Still true

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:28 pm

Another T20 story to inspire you. My GPA increased significantly (2.1xx first semester to 3.1xx now as I head into my last semester) and I have a 160k job offer for after graduation that I landed during 3L interviewing. As you can tell from my first semester GPA, my grades were terrible!!! And the reason is I had no idea how to take a law school exam. As soon as I went and talked with one of the professors, the light bulb clicked and I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. I did not need to go to the other profs (but I did anyway). In fact, I barely changed my approach of studying between my first and second semesters of 1L year; I just changed how I took the exam.

I hope this serves as inspiration. In your circumstances, I would advise staying for at least one semester. When I spoke to one of my professors about dropping out, she said, "You should stick it out for one more semester. You owe it to yourself to see if you can really do it. Your GPA is only one number on a piece of paper, among your other credentials that got you into this law school." I am so happy I stuck it out, and I am so grateful that I lucked out in getting a biglaw job. I really hope these atypical inspirational stories give you the willpower to try again. I did not have these stories, and I did not dream of getting anywhere close to the job that I currently have for after graduation. All is not lost yet. Hang in there, and don't surround yourself around the students who like to talk about grades/jobs/etc. Try to maintain a healthy life balance. Time heals. Don't dwell. Just move forward.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby the lantern » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:16 pm

You should be gunning for the same thing you were gunning for in the first place, just with the knowledge that you aren't going to get in the door at the most prestigious/biggest/highest paying firms/agencies.

I honestly don't understand why so many of you freak out about grades. If you aren't ranked in the top of the class, you're in the same boat as everyone else. I've had three different internships where they never even asked about my grades.

Maybe I feel this way because I have decent grades and stuff, but I feel like people here have an incredibly distorted, apocayptic view of life post-law school without some gold star top 10% on the resume.

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:48 pm

If you have PI experience on your resume then you should be able to find something with legal aid or some other type of legal services place for the summer. I think the bigger problem is you don't know what you want to do. Do you like working alone? With people? Any particular issues or ideas interest you?

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Re: Horrible grades, what should I be gunning for now?

Postby synergy » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Another T20 story to inspire you. My GPA increased significantly (2.1xx first semester to 3.1xx now as I head into my last semester) and I have a 160k job offer for after graduation that I landed during 3L interviewing. As you can tell from my first semester GPA, my grades were terrible!!! And the reason is I had no idea how to take a law school exam. As soon as I went and talked with one of the professors, the light bulb clicked and I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. I did not need to go to the other profs (but I did anyway). In fact, I barely changed my approach of studying between my first and second semesters of 1L year; I just changed how I took the exam.

I hope this serves as inspiration. In your circumstances, I would advise staying for at least one semester. When I spoke to one of my professors about dropping out, she said, "You should stick it out for one more semester. You owe it to yourself to see if you can really do it. Your GPA is only one number on a piece of paper, among your other credentials that got you into this law school." I am so happy I stuck it out, and I am so grateful that I lucked out in getting a biglaw job. I really hope these atypical inspirational stories give you the willpower to try again. I did not have these stories, and I did not dream of getting anywhere close to the job that I currently have for after graduation. All is not lost yet. Hang in there, and don't surround yourself around the students who like to talk about grades/jobs/etc. Try to maintain a healthy life balance. Time heals. Don't dwell. Just move forward.


Congrats on the job! Could you share as to how you were able to get that job?




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