3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

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3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:45 am

Anonymous because I've posted so much on this board that anyone who reads this will definitely guess who I am.

I go to a T30 law school that feeds into some primary/secondary markets. Grades slightly below median since 2L (I know, I know), no journal, no moot court. Interning at a non-profit this summer because I didn't get anything else. However, I've been networking. There are a couple of Biglaw partners who have a personal interest in my non-profit and are talking to me, and I made friends with a tax attorney who said he will try to introduce me to people.

I know it's bleak. I know it's almost impossible. But I also know some people have done it, and right now I just want to hear constructive advice from people who have done it. Specifically people who didn't get a 2L SA position or a federal clerkship, but still managed to land Biglaw during their 3L year. Please tell me what you did, I would love to hear from you (and it'll be helpful for any other uncertain rising 3Ls reading this thread). Thanks.

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:28 pm

Below median you stand no chance without some serious connections. Ive witnessed below median T30 grads get biglaw after 1-2 years of practice and partners/associates inside the firm really pulling for them due to connection. Having a 1-2 year track record of doing good work helped those grads. Fresh out of law school you better save a managing partner's life.

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:57 pm

I know you only want good news. I'm a 2013 grad also at a T30 school. I have a strong secondary journal AND moot court and top 1/3 grades and small firm/strong state government experience and have hustled moderately (though not as much as I could have) and am still out of luck. I know you probably know all the things I can tell you about how dismal things are. But I do have some constructive advice that I hope justifies my post. Consider it lessons learned along with what's gotten me through until now - despite not having a job yet I am in an ok position financially and starting to get some movement with interviews and the like, and not feeling totally miserable which is a blessing as you'll see if you check the Vale of Tears thread.

1) Don't put your head in the sand. You need to have a plan for how to live during the bar and ideally cover expenses in August and September too, and also know how much 3L year is going to suck mentally and have a plan to stay healthy and deal with things. You need to strike a balance between hustling with every fiber of your being but not cultivating any false hope or illusions that will lead you to either a) put all your eggs in one basket and then have crushing disappointment or b) convince yourself everything's going to be ok and not hustle as much as you need to. People with much, much better resumes than you (and me) are struggling like crazy. But you're doing the right things by talking to attorneys. Networking is often fruitless especially in the short term but it is still very important to do, especially for the jobs you have a chance at getting. Start to get yourself real comfortable with the idea of working at a tiny firm for anywhere from 35k-50k, watching the interest on your loans multiply while paying on IBR, and getting the skills to eventually be successful in the small firm world. That's a SUCCESSFUL outcome at this point. Think of the networking as useful as an investment because if you're working at a small firm you want to be known and liked in the legal community long term. If all that's not palatable, it's time to think about non-lawyer jobs, especially ones that will let you do public interest IBR like teaching.

2) Work during the school year doing projects or part time for solo attorneys or small firms if you possibly can. Contact every law firm near your school offering yourself as a school year clerk (along with informational interview networking). This could lead to a full time job but more likely is something that you can put on your resume to make you more marketable. And even doing an occasional project for an attorney during bar study and late summer/early fall while awaiting bar results will cover the gap on your resume. This also allows you to do something to pay the bills, like document review or whatever non-law temporary gigs you can dig up, without actually putting those things on your resume. You put your part time substantive legal work on the resume, do something else to pay the bills, and keep applying for jobs.

3) If you want to keep biglaw even a dim option, focus on small firm jobs where you will get good trial experience. Something like a successful med mal shop. Cultivate relationships with attorneys at places like that, really kill it as a young trial attorney, then sell your litigation experience to biglaw firms after 2 or so years. Through Linkedin I've seen associates from unprestigious schools without great law school resumes getting substantive trial experience at tiny but successful plaintiff shops then trading up to midlaw or regional biglaw. It's not high volume but does happen, especially in secondary markets. Or you might find that you're starting to make a decent living doing plaintiff work and don't want to trade in your independence to be a biglaw monkey. But the option is nice. Do know this is still a long shot. The biglaw ship has pretty much sailed.

4) My final piece of advice is related to #3. Don't think of all small shops as the same and start identifying the small firms you'd like to work for early. I focused on trying to get biglaw/midlaw or gov't honors all of 3L fall and didn't really start thinking about cultivating relationships with small firms until spring, and probably should have. Doing something even like family law where you're going to go to court sometimes and writing briefs that require some thought is going to be more enjoyable for a lot of people than doing traffic tickets. Not so for other people. There are solo plaintiff attorneys who win somewhat big cases fairly regularly and if you get in with them you might get a piece of that pie eventually. At the very least they're taking depositions, working with experts, etc. There are 2-3 partner firms with sunlit, airy offices and nice people and good paralegals who may only pay you 35k (which sucks) but the quality of life is better than other "shitlaw" places. Look for the reputable small firms in any given smaller town because they'll be good, respected people with a healthy, established practice. So don't just apply to things you have no chance of getting. Really investigate your REALISTIC options and know small firms may not hire until you have bar results but you still need to be laying the groundwork. I know DA/PD in tiny towns is another potential avenue to explore (and then you get public interest IBR) if you can shape your resume that way.

Best of luck.

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:19 pm

OP here. Thank you both, especially the second response, for taking the time to offer really sound advice. I actually had an interview with a litigation boutique that pays a very decent salary in June (but haven't heard back from them yet), so I'm definitely targeting small firms.

I know two kids at my school who are below median and got Biglaw gigs because they were paralegals at those firms -so I was thinking of trying to ask a firm if I could clerk during 3L (like Anon 1:57 PM suggested) and see if that helps make an impression.

Yeah I saw the Vale of Tears thread and decided not to read it. Better to focus on the positive! Stay hopeful everyone.

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:20 pm

School year clerk is basically my plan too. I'm top 15% at a lower TT, EIC of secondary journal, quarterfinalist in national specialized moot court. Struck out at OCI and ended up with state government internship for the summer. Just got interview for Biglaw school year clerk--here's hoping!

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:13 pm

Question: who do u write to to apply for 3L biglaw clerk?? Is it H.R or partners that u want to work for?

It is my plan to do this but Idk what process is

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deebs
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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby deebs » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah I saw the Vale of Tears thread and decided not to read it. Better to focus on the positive! Stay hopeful everyone.


The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward

There's good advice in that thread, mainly going into detail about points 1 and 2 from the anon above. Everyone is still hopeful in that thread...and most have better credentials than yours. However, firms outside of big law don't really seem to care about the school, class rank, etc. They want to know your genuine interest in the work, backed up by experience. Sure, there's doom and gloom in that thread, but there's also plenty of advice on what people wished they had done differently during 3L.

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Re: 3L Biglaw hiring without 2L SA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:33 pm

deebs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Yeah I saw the Vale of Tears thread and decided not to read it. Better to focus on the positive! Stay hopeful everyone.


The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward

There's good advice in that thread, mainly going into detail about points 1 and 2 from the anon above. Everyone is still hopeful in that thread...and most have better credentials than yours. However, firms outside of big law don't really seem to care about the school, class rank, etc. They want to know your genuine interest in the work, backed up by experience. Sure, there's doom and gloom in that thread, but there's also plenty of advice on what people wished they had done differently during 3L.


OP here again. Just saw this (spent the last couple weeks really hustling and working), and I will probably check out that thread then, thanks.

To update other hopeful or despairing rising 3Ls in the same position as me (no 2L SA), here is what I've been up to the past couple weeks. Since the partners I've been working on have been extremely hesitant about helping - which I expected, I guess, given my GPA and all - I networked through the alumni of my school and found an ex-Biglaw lady who had gone in house, then solo. She is a tax attorney and agreed to let me be her free intern. We've bonded over stuff we have in common, and she has been sufficiently impressed with my work that she is writing me a letter of recommendation and going to introduce me to contacts she still has at firms.

I'm not necessarily expecting miracles out of this, but I'm hoping that if I get my foot in the door through her (ie an interview) I can make something happen.

I also mass mailed a bunch of small and mid size firms, and have 2 interviews coming up. 3L OCI at my school is a joke so I don't even know if I'll participate - I feel like they'll take one look at my GPA and say bye.




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