FIP and Grades at Yale

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FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:38 am

Does anyone here have a clear sense of how important grades are for FIP at Yale (ideally someone who's been through FIP recently)?

Relatedly, does anyone even know what the actual distribution of Hs is? All I remember hearing is that professors in lecture classes are supposed to give no more than 1/3 Hs. I feel a bit embarrassed not knowing this sort of stuff, but no one seems to talk about it.

I was planning to bid conservatively, since I'm a below-average interviewer with an unusual resume, but I somehow ended up with all Hs. Now I'm not really sure how to bid.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby justinp » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone here have a clear sense of how important grades are for FIP at Yale (ideally someone who's been through FIP recently)?

Relatedly, does anyone even know what the actual distribution of Hs is? All I remember hearing is that professors in lecture classes are supposed to give no more than 1/3 Hs. I feel a bit embarrassed not knowing this sort of stuff, but no one seems to talk about it.

I was planning to bid conservatively, since I'm a below-average interviewer with an unusual resume, but I somehow ended up with all Hs. Now I'm not really sure how to bid.


Have you talked to your career services office?

My scientific wild-ass guess is that you can pretty much bid wherever you want and you'll be fine, just make sure you throw a few less-selective firms in to be safe.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:41 pm

You're right about the suggested curve for lecture courses, though I would guess that some professors give more or fewer H's than the recommended number. I'm sure you could somehow model the distribution of 1L spring grades, in terms of how many people have all H's, etc. But I don't think that the actual distribution is ever made public, even within the law school.

There are a handful of firms that will count H's in determining who to give callbacks to. Some firms seem to be happy just to see a single H, to make sure you're not cruising through. And many firms don't care about Yale transcripts at all. In terms of your bidding, with all H's, any firm in the country will take you seriously. Your grades will likely get you a callback at the highly grade-conscious firms and will be a slight plus at less grade-conscious firms.

That said, all H's at YLS doesn't mean as much as a high GPA at Columbia, for example. Employers use the grades to sort applicants somewhat, but they won't be super impressed that you managed to be in the top third of your class for 3-4 courses. Other applicants with a P or two could easily outshine you in the interview and end up with the callback. If you don't think you interview well, I'd throw in a few safety choices.

Also, there are several firms (whose identities you can figure out by looking at interview statistics from prior years) that call back a lot of people and will probably give someone with all H's the benefit of the doubt. But then they narrow things down a lot at the callback stage, and by that point, your transcript won't really do much for you. Interview skills will matter more. So again, it's always a good idea to have some safeties.

Also, all the usual OCI/FIP wisdom still applies to your bidding: Don't apply solely to DC firms, don't apply to non-DC/NY firms where you have no geographic connections, and don't apply to more than 2-3 cities because of how firms might read into that if they asked you about it. I don't think grades, at least at YLS, really overcome some of those basic geographic considerations. A firm in Miami is probably not going to hire you on the basis of your grades alone if you can't tell a believable story about why you want to practice in Miami.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Cicero76 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:38 pm

If all H's at Yale can't bid exclusively DC, then who the hell can?

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:08 am

Cicero76 wrote:If all H's at Yale can't bid exclusively DC, then who the hell can?

First in the class at Georgetown? I feel like there was a fair amount of conjecture in the above post (not really complaining since I have no clue, just the read I got). Hard to believe you can't be pretty freaking awkward with perfect grades at Yale and end up at a top flight firm in Dc.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:28 am

OP here.

Thanks, Anon 9:41 - your comments fit with my suspicions, and the few things I'd previously heard. I remember career services emphasizing that some firms like to see an H on a transcript, for example.

Anonymous User wrote:That said, all H's at YLS doesn't mean as much as a high GPA at Columbia, for example. Employers use the grades to sort applicants somewhat, but they won't be super impressed that you managed to be in the top third of your class for 3-4 courses. Other applicants with a P or two could easily outshine you in the interview and end up with the callback. If you don't think you interview well, I'd throw in a few safety choices.

That makes sense to me. At a school like Columbia, the top firms are going to rule out a higher percentage of applicants based on grades, so the high-GPA applicants are going to be competing against a smaller percentage of their class.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:29 am

Did you make YLJ? Do you know yet? That is what is usually used to determine who gets W&C and Wachtell and who doesn't (not that I care, I think GDC DC and certain other NY firms whose names you can guess are superior in any particular substantive prestige area, those two firms are just there for your general "I just want the the most preftigious firm" people i.e. those who are planning to immediately bootstrap up to the Supreme Court anyway (note that not all of them will be successful...)).

Though I would note that among this year's Supreme Court clerks are a GDC NY'r and a W&C DC'r, and I think a non-firmer though someone can correct me if this isn't 100% right.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:30 am

Cicero76 wrote:If all H's at Yale can't bid exclusively DC, then who the hell can?

I mean, if someone is a legitimately terrible interviewer then I can see why all in DC might be risky. Better to at least throw in some firms that care less about fit (e.g. Quinn) or have such large class sizes that they have to care less about fit (e.g. NYC V10s)

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:36 am

OP again.

Anonymous User wrote:Did you make YLJ?

I was worried about that. I've basically assumed I'm not going to make YLJ, for reasons I don't want to go into here (for non-Yalies: YLJ isn't based at all on grades, it's based on other stuff).

Although, I'm not bidding on DC or Wachtell, so perhaps that will help.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:21 am

You are in a great position. Not only because of your grades (and the fact you go to Yale) but because you know your weakness. Brush up on your interview skills this summer. Its very doable. Practice in front of a mirror, have friends conduct mock interviews, go to firm mixers and throw yourself out there. I would recommend going to mixers of firms you have NO interest in first and work your way up to your target firms. The more you practice, the better you will be during FIP. Also from what I have heard YLJ is great but not having it on your resume will not hold you back.

Good Luck

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:58 am

Cicero76 wrote:If all H's at Yale can't bid exclusively DC, then who the hell can?


No one, not even a YLS student with all H's, who is a below-average interviewer and wants to be certain about having a job when they graduate should bid exclusively on the fancy DC firms. It's a matter of how risk-averse you are. I heard about people (admittedly secondhand) who wanted DC but didn't get it last year and ended up going elsewhere instead.

Anonymous User wrote: I was worried about that. I've basically assumed I'm not going to make YLJ, for reasons I don't want to go into here (for non-Yalies: YLJ isn't based at all on grades, it's based on other stuff).

Although, I'm not bidding on DC or Wachtell, so perhaps that will help.


Mainly New York then? If you're bidding heavily in New York and have all H's, you'll be fine.

And don't worry about YLJ. It's a plus factor, but I knew a lot of non-YLJ people who got top-choice offers last year. FIP isn't like shooting fish in a barrel as much as it used to be. On its own, being at YLS won't get you an offer at one of your favorite firms, and interview skills matter (though grades can make up for that in some cases). But it is still very, very likely that you will leave FIP with a good offer in spite of mediocre interview skills, especially if you bid in New York.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:59 pm

YLJ calls have been going out for the last few hours.

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Re: FIP and Grades at Yale

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:17 pm

I did fip last year. Some observations, not just directed at op:

1) Bid on more firms than career services tells you to. This applies to people with all Hs. All Hs does not mean all callbacks. I know a few people with all Hs who didn't get firms they wanted in non-NYC markets.
2) If you have 1+ H then you're sellable to every firm except two or three smaller shops. Feel free to bid on firms like S+C, Cravath, etc... The flip side of this is that those firms are comparing candidates with favors other than grades in mind. So don't slack on interviews because you have top grades.
3) You will probably still land a great firm job with all Ps but it'll take more legwork. Bid on NYC and any city where you have ties and do a lot of interviews. Everybody I know who struck out only bid on a small number of firms.
4) YLJ doesn't count for much at fip. Even for elite firms. Frankly, YLJ only seems to help for clerkships, and even then it's not necessary for many (most?) judges.




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