Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

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Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:50 pm

We have received 2 of our 3 grades so far and I am very disappointed: B+ and B-. To be fair, the grades thus far correlate with how well I felt I did on each exam. The last grade is for the class I felt I did the best in. However, right now I am really starting to feel like I am screwed. I am fine with NY big law but would prefer D.C. How hard is it going to be for me to find big law employment with that B-?

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby bjsesq » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:We have received 2 of our 3 grades so far and I am very disappointed: B+ and B-. To be fair, the grades thus far correlate with how well I felt I did on each exam. The last grade is for the class I felt I did the best in. However, right now I am really starting to feel like I am screwed. I am fine with NY big law but would prefer D.C. How hard is it going to be for me to find big law employment with that B-?


What is Penn's median GPA after 1L? What is your GPA?

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:54 pm

Penn has historically been 3.2-3.3. I would assume my GPA is a 3.0

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Penn has historically been 3.2-3.3. I would assume my GPA is a 3.0

Wait to see how you did in the last class. Especially if the B- was an anomaly, you can hopefully explain it away in interviews to some extent. It's also worth noting that this semester is technically worth more from a GPA perspective (fall was 12 credits of graded classes, 4 credits of LPS; now it's 14 and 2, and those 14 are spread across four graded classes as opposed to just three.) True we can't weight an officially non-existent GPA, but there is the possibility of bouncing back this semester in time for OCI.

BTW, our section still only has one grade so far. :evil:

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Wholigan » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:30 pm

You have 2 grades in out of 7 total grades for 1L year, so there is a ways to go. Don't panic. Your B- is not a big deal if it's the only one and the rest of your grades on the year are in the B/B+ range, with maybe an A- sprinkled in. Even a couple of B- grades should not be a deal breaker for biglaw in general. Go talk to the prof at some point and try to figure out what you did wrong.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:32 am

Just received my 3rd grade back and it was another B+. So correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sitting at about a 3.1. Does this place me in the bottom 1/3?

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby OutCold » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:46 am

You are not screwed, and I don't think you are in the bottom third. However, you need to figure out what you did wrong and right the problem next semester. You did well enough that a better performance will leave you in a pretty decent position at OCI.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby initech » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:33 pm

To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:47 pm

Penn 2l here with no SA. I ended up year with a couple of As bunch of b+S one B and B-. So your not screwed as I'm sure there are people with worse grades and got a job. But your def not in a great place. I also bid conservatively and only bid NYC and PHL.

Only advice I would give you is when everyone (including CP&P, professors, upperclassmen) tells you, " don't worry your in Penn you will forsure get a job", tell them to shut up. Lots of people don't get jobs and you have to approach it as if you probably won't a job and therefore put every last effort into it. Leave nothing on the table and hopefully you will be from the lucky ones with a job.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:00 pm

initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.


Are you a 1l or a 2l?
A. I have dealt with CP&P for a year straight now, and they are anything but helpful. They will give you a lot of "don't worry, you will be fine" stuff until your not fine. Then they get brutally honest. Like "have you applied to the 35k a year jobs, because that is what you should be doing at this point."

B. Employers do not I repeat Do not take grades with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that everyone can't receive As, that is the whole point on the curve. They do not care how well you know Torts, if they see a B thats all they care about. Yes, there will be the person with amazing grades who doesn't get a job and the one on bottom who gets the job, but those are the exception not the rule. Basically the only thing employers really care about are grades.

C. Penn does have a lot of students who get jobs, but there are also a lot that do not get. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Get amazing grades. Of course there are those that won't get amazing grades. A lot of those people also wont get summer jobs. It sucks (Im there now - despite overall having pretty decent grades, I had a couple of bad ones which sunk me).

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.


Are you a 1l or a 2l?
A. I have dealt with CP&P for a year straight now, and they are anything but helpful. They will give you a lot of "don't worry, you will be fine" stuff until your not fine. Then they get brutally honest. Like "have you applied to the 35k a year jobs, because that is what you should be doing at this point."

B. Employers do not I repeat Do not take grades with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that everyone can't receive As, that is the whole point on the curve. They do not care how well you know Torts, if they see a B thats all they care about. Yes, there will be the person with amazing grades who doesn't get a job and the one on bottom who gets the job, but those are the exception not the rule. Basically the only thing employers really care about are grades.

C. Penn does have a lot of students who get jobs, but there are also a lot that do not get. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Get amazing grades. Of course there are those that won't get amazing grades. A lot of those people also wont get summer jobs. It sucks (Im there now - despite overall having pretty decent grades, I had a couple of bad ones which sunk me).


Agreed.

To OP: Your grades right now mean nothing. You are neither in a good spot nor a bad spot. Sure, a B- isn't going to look great to Skadden or Cravath but that is pretty much the only thing you can conclude at this point.

As a fellow upperclassman with no job, I agree with the posts above. Do not listen to people who say "you will be fine." They are probably saying that because they are fine and making conversation. Do not listen to your classmates who joke about how little work they do. They are either liars or have no self awareness. Grade importance is severely under-rated at Penn. Maybe its the Kool-aid to help maintain the collegiality.

Take nothing for granted and work your ass off for grades especially if you don't have

1. work experience (straight through)
2. diversity
3. a hard science degree
4. connections

For everyone who says "Oh my grades were not good but I still landed a job," they probably fit one of the above four categories and their work experience was probable finance.

Getting an H in legal writing helps. So does making law review. You don't have to have amazing grades for law review just decent grades with a combo of knowing how to bluebook. It will be annoying as fuck, but it DOES help.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.


Are you a 1l or a 2l?
A. I have dealt with CP&P for a year straight now, and they are anything but helpful. They will give you a lot of "don't worry, you will be fine" stuff until your not fine. Then they get brutally honest. Like "have you applied to the 35k a year jobs, because that is what you should be doing at this point."

B. Employers do not I repeat Do not take grades with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that everyone can't receive As, that is the whole point on the curve. They do not care how well you know Torts, if they see a B thats all they care about. Yes, there will be the person with amazing grades who doesn't get a job and the one on bottom who gets the job, but those are the exception not the rule. Basically the only thing employers really care about are grades.

C. Penn does have a lot of students who get jobs, but there are also a lot that do not get. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Get amazing grades. Of course there are those that won't get amazing grades. A lot of those people also wont get summer jobs. It sucks (Im there now - despite overall having pretty decent grades, I had a couple of bad ones which sunk me).


Agreed.

To OP: Your grades right now mean nothing. You are neither in a good spot nor a bad spot. Sure, a B- isn't going to look great to Skadden or Cravath but that is pretty much the only thing you can conclude at this point.

As a fellow upperclassman with no job, I agree with the posts above. Do not listen to people who say "you will be fine." They are probably saying that because they are fine and making conversation. Do not listen to your classmates who joke about how little work they do. They are either liars or have no self awareness. Grade importance is severely under-rated at Penn. Maybe its the Kool-aid to help maintain the collegiality.

Take nothing for granted and work your ass off for grades especially if you don't have

1. work experience (straight through)
2. diversity
3. a hard science degree
4. connections

For everyone who says "Oh my grades were not good but I still landed a job," they probably fit one of the above four categories and their work experience was probable finance.

Getting an H in legal writing helps. So does making law review. You don't have to have amazing grades for law review just decent grades with a combo of knowing how to bluebook. It will be annoying as fuck, but it DOES help.


Another upperclassman with no job. Above is all true. Grades are the most important thing out there! I cannot stress that enough! I hated all the faculty and students that said Grades don't matter your at Penn - that is 100% wrong. Employers are looking for reasons not to hire you, and grades are the best reason. Bust your ass second semester get good grades, and that still might not be enough. I did and am now looking at 30k a year jobs - cannot describe to you how much it hurts.

Law review obviously is nice, but its really really hard to get and good chance you wont get it so do not rely on it.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.


Are you a 1l or a 2l?
A. I have dealt with CP&P for a year straight now, and they are anything but helpful. They will give you a lot of "don't worry, you will be fine" stuff until your not fine. Then they get brutally honest. Like "have you applied to the 35k a year jobs, because that is what you should be doing at this point."

B. Employers do not I repeat Do not take grades with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that everyone can't receive As, that is the whole point on the curve. They do not care how well you know Torts, if they see a B thats all they care about. Yes, there will be the person with amazing grades who doesn't get a job and the one on bottom who gets the job, but those are the exception not the rule. Basically the only thing employers really care about are grades.

C. Penn does have a lot of students who get jobs, but there are also a lot that do not get. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Get amazing grades. Of course there are those that won't get amazing grades. A lot of those people also wont get summer jobs. It sucks (Im there now - despite overall having pretty decent grades, I had a couple of bad ones which sunk me).


I am a 1L. It sounds like the consensus is "don't feel comfortable because you go to Penn. Employment prospects are up in the air and could go either way so drastically improve second semester grades and put in tons of work during 2L OCI."

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
initech wrote:To Anon:

Feel free to PM me about this. I had a very similar first semester and think I can provide some advice. Now a 2L with Biglaw SA lined up.

Also just go talk to someone in CP&P. They're pretty helpful. At least they seem helpful...I'll report back when I actually have a job. But they've been at this for a while and do know their stuff.

And that whole thing on the CP&P website about employers taking grades with a grain of salt actually has some merit. When you only admit the A students and then throw them on the same curve, they can't all get A's, even if they know their shit and, in the bigger picture, are still the A students. A quick glance at employment stats confirms that employers know this, regularly find holes in their GPA floors for Penn kids, and go pretty damn deep into the class.


Are you a 1l or a 2l?
A. I have dealt with CP&P for a year straight now, and they are anything but helpful. They will give you a lot of "don't worry, you will be fine" stuff until your not fine. Then they get brutally honest. Like "have you applied to the 35k a year jobs, because that is what you should be doing at this point."

B. Employers do not I repeat Do not take grades with a grain of salt. It doesn't matter that everyone can't receive As, that is the whole point on the curve. They do not care how well you know Torts, if they see a B thats all they care about. Yes, there will be the person with amazing grades who doesn't get a job and the one on bottom who gets the job, but those are the exception not the rule. Basically the only thing employers really care about are grades.

C. Penn does have a lot of students who get jobs, but there are also a lot that do not get. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Get amazing grades. Of course there are those that won't get amazing grades. A lot of those people also wont get summer jobs. It sucks (Im there now - despite overall having pretty decent grades, I had a couple of bad ones which sunk me).


I am a 1L. It sounds like the consensus is "don't feel comfortable because you go to Penn. Employment prospects are up in the air and could go either way so drastically improve second semester grades and put in tons of work during 2L OCI."


Exactly and still be prepared for the worst. I did all of the above and have nothing to show for it but heartache and the remnants of the emotional roller-coaster that has been the last year and a half.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby sammis89 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:13 pm

To Anon: feel free to PM me as well. Was in a similar situation at a T14 and was not "screwed" at all- it just takes a bit more work to make things happen.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:45 pm

The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study. So what you're telegraphing to future employers is "I either didn't do my homework or I had a breakdown during this exam". Neither of which is what folks want to hire (and I say that as someone who interviews).

Obviously, if you lift you grades dramatically second semester, there's a way to spin around it; you say that you made a mistake in judgment in how you approached exams, that you identified your error and fixed it, and your grades improved dramatically. That's a nice narrative. But it requires more than just B+s next term - you need to be consistently A- or higher with maybe one B+ grade, a record that demonstrates that you figured your shit out.

EDIT TO ADD: If the above sounds harsh, the world is harsh. I can promise you that if someone showed up in my office with a B- on their transcript, they're going to get questions about it, and not just of the "oh, what happened here" variety, I'm going to push you to see if you own it.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby NJPitcher » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study.


--ImageRemoved--

You'd do well to learn timing and/or tact.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:40 pm

NJPitcher wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study.


--ImageRemoved--

You'd do well to learn timing and/or tact.



Anon replier here. I think one of the advantages of this forum is that folks can understand what they're really up against and scheme accordingly. You're right - I wouldn't say that to OP under my real name. But he should know that -every- firm that looks at him will have that reaction, and he needs to start now to build a narrative that he can pitch to people to make up for it. The delusion, either self-imposed or pushed on people by schools and career services of "grades not counting" and "you'll do fine!" is very tactful, but it doesn't help people get jobs. If OP thinks I'm an asshole, but he gets a good job because I jolted him up a little bit, then I've done my good deed for the day.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:48 pm

OP here, I definitely appreciate the advice. I agree, sugar coating things does nothing but harm the people seeking help. But the meme did make me laugh. I guess my only question is how universal is your mind set among interviewers at the types of firms I am targeting and how far does 'fit' go in overcoming those concerns.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby HeavenWood » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study. So what you're telegraphing to future employers is "I either didn't do my homework or I had a breakdown during this exam". Neither of which is what folks want to hire (and I say that as someone who interviews).

Obviously, if you lift you grades dramatically second semester, there's a way to spin around it; you say that you made a mistake in judgment in how you approached exams, that you identified your error and fixed it, and your grades improved dramatically. That's a nice narrative. But it requires more than just B+s next term - you need to be consistently A- or higher with maybe one B+ grade, a record that demonstrates that you figured your shit out.

EDIT TO ADD: If the above sounds harsh, the world is harsh. I can promise you that if someone showed up in my office with a B- on their transcript, they're going to get questions about it, and not just of the "oh, what happened here" variety, I'm going to push you to see if you own it.

Ugh, I know of at least one person with two B-'s who got multiple Vault offers. I can't speak for your firm (whatever it may be) but most care far more about cumulative averages than individual outliers. Should the OP aim to do better in the spring? Of course. Is an isolated B- a "mark of death" at most places? Hardly. A C is another story, but even that can be overcome in the right circumstances.

OP: A- B+ B+ B+ (or something to that effect) will get you back close enough to median that most firms will lump you in with the rest of the middle of the bell curve. As it stands, you're probably scraping the top of the bottom 1/3. Obviously, the better you do in the spring, the better off you will be come OCI. As someone whose 1L spring grades were significantly better than his fall marks, I can tell you that the path to my improvement was based on meeting with professors/pinpointing my strengths and weaknesses and working "smarter" rather than harder. Feel free to PM me if you'd like more info. Best of luck to you either way!
Last edited by HeavenWood on Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study.

Anonymous User wrote:But he should know that -every- firm that looks at him will have that reaction, and he needs to start now to build a narrative that he can pitch to people to make up for it.

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. I don't know what firm the Anon poster works for, but it's simply not the case that "every firm" looks at a B- in the manner that he suggests. Lots of folks in the world of big law understand that you can have a bad day and totally bomb an exam. The thing that matters is overall class rank. If you're above median at a school like Penn, few are going to care about a single B-. And if you're well below median, you're going to have trouble landing a job because, well, you're below median. The "B-" isn't going to make much difference one way or the other.

Law firm hiring can be idiosyncratic and firms value different things. I believe that the Anon poster is sincere when he describes how he views a single B- on a transcript. But is his view representative of how most firms view transcripts? I don't think so.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The B- is the real problem. It means that you submitted one of the worst exams in the class. That suggests not that you're a bad student, but that you have bad judgement; even a moron can get a B if they take notes, make a reasonable outline and study.


So at least 15% of the 1L class at Penn are morons? (I say at least 15% because I assume that most people aren't getting straight B-s).

OP, I don't really think that every law firm or attorney who interviews you will subscribe to the same thinking as Anonymous here. I received a B- as my first semester 1L; I also received an A. I worked equally hard in both classes, and was in fact far more prepared for the class I ultimately received the B- in, but it happened. Many practicing attorneys have received a B- at some point in their law school career, and even more know somebody that they likely respect/like who has.

The rest of the advice on this thread, I think, is very on point. You're not screwed (far from it), but don't let yourself get too comfortable with the "you'll be fine" talk.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:58 pm

B- is on the curve at Penn, right? Maybe a truly discretionary grade, i.e., C or F would raise flags, but if your own the curve it doesnt even necessarily indicate you did anything gravely wrong. You just didnt earn as many pts, or failed to include as much what the prof was looking for than the other extraordinarily intelligent and accomplished people in your class. Don't let this get you that far down: you're not a moron by a long shot.

Anon probably thought B- was a discretionary low grade.

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Re: Penn 1L grades: B+, B-, ? How screwed am I?

Postby Nelson » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:08 pm

jbagelboy wrote:B- is on the curve at Penn, right? Maybe a truly discretionary grade, i.e., C or F would raise flags, but if your own the curve it doesnt even necessarily indicate you did anything gravely wrong. You just didnt earn as many pts, or failed to include as much what the prof was looking for than the other extraordinarily intelligent and accomplished people in your class. Don't let this get you that far down: you're not a moron by a long shot.

Anon probably thought B- was a discretionary low grade.

It's on the curve. A C would be worse. But I think either is going to take you out of consideration (or at least really hurt you) for most grade sensitive employers.




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