Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

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Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:43 pm

I'm going to keep this short and to the point:
1L year sucked. I did very poorly. A smattering of Bs/Cs/Ds. My GPA was 2.1 at the end of the year. Anything less than 2.0 gets you kicked out of law school, whew.

--I was extremely depressed and didn't do anything in the summer.

2L year - I'm in the second semester of my 2L year. Better mental health. Grades were B/Cs in the fall. But I have a new strategy and I'm projecting A/Bs for this spring semester.

What are my options for work? I'm basically really interested in startups and M&A. How do I land some kind of unpaid internship for the summer? How do I pitch my story and account for my grades? I'm really nervous. I know I'm smart, can work hard, and I think I've found my stride this semester.

Not here for negativity and bashing. Just be helpful if you can. Thanks.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:50 pm

To be as helpful as possible, it would be good to know your school (or school rank or range, if uncomfortable sharing), your debt level (current and projected total at graduation), how much you really want to be a lawyer, and what kind of position you could fall back on if not law (what you studied in undergrad or where you worked before law school). Honestly, it's not looking good for you. There is a big disparity between the number of law school graduates and the number of them employed in long term, full-time legal employment. I would seriously consider dropping out, unless you are going to a very good school for free or close to it, want to be a lawyer in any capacity, and have no other options.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby gdane » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:01 pm

If you're getting those kinds of grades it's pretty likely that this law thing just isn't for you. One C is understandable. Things happen. Multiple C's, D's, and nothing higher than a B for three semesters isn't an accident. Knowing the details that the above poster asked for would be very helpful to best asses how you should go forward, but in all honesty, and I never advocate this, I think you should drop out.

Your grades aren't good and it appears that you have no relevant experience.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:56 pm

I'm going to a fourth-tier school. Undergrad was at a top 5 public university with a 3.5 gpa in English.

Getting C and Ds has been a real shock to my system, and I've gone through some very tough times personally that coincided with the start of my law school.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family; talking about term sheets and acquisitions was dinner-time conversation. This is the area I want to work in. VC firms and startup lawyers. Prior to law school, I worked in Marketing.

--Quitting law school is not an option for me. Besides: I don't want to, I'm finally really into my classes and enjoying myself. The school has given me a scholarship (I'm a minority), and my debt is pretty much paid off. How do I proceed moving forward? What's the best option for damage control at this point? Ideally, I'd love to hear from someone who was in similar shoes.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby badaboom61 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to a fourth-tier school. Undergrad was at a top 5 public university with a 3.5 gpa in English.

Getting C and Ds has been a real shock to my system, and I've gone through some very tough times personally that coincided with the start of my law school.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family; talking about term sheets and acquisitions was dinner-time conversation. This is the area I want to work in. Prior to law school, I worked in Marketing.

--Quitting law school is not an option for me; the school has given me a scholarship (I'm a minority), and my debt is pretty much paid off. How do I proceed moving forward?


How is quitting law school not an option? You have terrible grades from a 4th tier school. You're most likely not going to have anyone offer you a job as a lawyer. Internships, unpaid or otherwise, probably won't help you in that quest. Your grades may also be a signal that you're going to have trouble passing the bar exam, and if you don't pass that, you're definitely not going to be a lawyer.

How do you feel about going back to marketing? You're in a great position since you have previous experience and little debt. Marketing will probably pay a lot better and provide more interesting work than anything you're going to be able to find in law at this point.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby hichvichwoh » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:08 pm

if finances aren't an issue, then just focus on getting a job through channels that aren't grade selective. Based on what you've said your best bet is probably a personal connection

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby gdane » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:08 pm

Well, if you're not gonna have much debt then you may as well ride things out. I like your positive attitude, I'm a very positive person myself, but you need a little honesty here. With your grades you will almost very certainly not be able to work in acquisitions or mergers or any kind of business oriented practice area.

I'd say try to look for government agency jobs, like at the FTC, to boost your resume up a bit. Although, these aren't a sure bet either. Go to your school's career office and see if they have a list of places that need someone for the summer. At this point get work experience and try to make connections.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby hiima3L » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:53 pm

You need to drop out. Being at the bottom of the class at a T4 school means you are never going to get a remotely decent job unless you have incredible connections. There is no way to sugar coat that.

It is an objectively horrible decision for you to not drop out (barring independent wealth/connections).

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby NYstate » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to a fourth-tier school. Undergrad was at a top 5 public university with a 3.5 gpa in English.

Getting C and Ds has been a real shock to my system, and I've gone through some very tough times personally that coincided with the start of my law school.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family; talking about term sheets and acquisitions was dinner-time conversation. This is the area I want to work in. VC firms and startup lawyers. Prior to law school, I worked in Marketing.

--Quitting law school is not an option for me. Besides: I don't want to, I'm finally really into my classes and enjoying myself. The school has given me a scholarship (I'm a minority), and my debt is pretty much paid off. How do I proceed moving forward? What's the best option for damage control at this point? Ideally, I'd love to hear from someone who was in similar shoes.

VC is a cut-throat competitive area and the clients don't waste time on anyone who isn't the best. You will be up against students with better grades from better schools. Unless you can find someone you know to give you a job, I don't see that you will get work in this area.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:09 pm

hiima3L wrote:It is an objectively horrible decision for you to not drop out (barring independent wealth/connections).

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:20 pm

thsmthcrmnl wrote:
hiima3L wrote:It is an objectively horrible decision for you to not drop out (barring independent wealth/connections).

This. In addition to the debt you're going to incur between now and graduation, you have to factor in the opportunity costs of remaining in law school. You could be doing better things with your time, like going back to your marketing career. Your lost income for the next year and three months should be important to this decision. I would recommend applying to (non-legal) jobs right now, and dropping out the second you get one. At least then you could spin your interview answers around law school not being "right" for you.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:22 am

Thanks guys for all the input - much appreciated. I don't really enjoy Marketing and it wasn't much of a career for me--just a stint before law school.

I'm going to stick around and finish up law school and then report back to let you know how things fared.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby bdubs » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:33 am

No one in a start up is going to care about your grades in law school, but you won't be a lawyer. If you can find a group of people who think you're smart and add value to their team, you will have some opportunities.

Do you go to school in an area with much of a startup scene (Bay Area, NYC, PNW, Chicago, LA, etc..)? Go to some entrepreneurial events and talk to people.

The main thing that you need to understand is that you'll probably need other substantive experience outside of law to be valuable to a startup. You aren't really capable, nor should they trust you, to do all of their legal work. A startup also won't have much legal needs in the early stages either.

Sounds like UG was not the place for you to develop marketable skills (English degrees aren't highly sought after) but if you have some other talents, areas of interest, or experience you can build on those.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:53 pm

I'm in a similar situation as OP, but at a T30.

Sub-3.0 GPA--no Ds, but a smattering of A's, B's, and C's. Failed a class that I am retaking. Wildly erratic grades, though fall 2L was the best--just shy of a 3.6.

No debt because of merit scholly, outside scholly, and parents helping out with living expenses.

Unlike OP, had a PI jerb 1L summer (Legal Aid/PD) and have a paid 2L PI summer gig lined up, also Legal Aid/PD.

Hustlin' like cray to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Interning at 2 places this year--at an immigration gig and at probate and family court. Proficient in Spanish and continuing to refine my proficiency, as I know that Spanish language ability is valued by PD/Legal Aid.

HALP ME!!! OP, your post gave me relief b/c it's comforting to know someone in almost the same boat. :|

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby northwood » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm in a similar situation as OP, but at a T30.

Sub-3.0 GPA--no Ds, but a smattering of A's, B's, and C's. Failed a class that I am retaking. Wildly erratic grades, though fall 2L was the best--just shy of a 3.6.

No debt because of merit scholly, outside scholly, and parents helping out with living expenses.

Unlike OP, had a PI jerb 1L summer (Legal Aid/PD) and have a paid 2L PI summer gig lined up, also Legal Aid/PD.

Hustlin' like cray to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Interning at 2 places this year--at an immigration gig and at probate and family court. Proficient in Spanish and continuing to refine my proficiency, as I know that Spanish language ability is valued by PD/Legal Aid.

HALP ME!!! OP, your post gave me relief b/c it's comforting to know someone in almost the same boat. :|



You should stay. Your GPA is better than OP, and the onl reason its hard is because of that failed class. You also have a 2L SA job lined up, and you are keeping your options open (and you have no debt). Focus on each day as it comes. and keep bustling to do better in your classes.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby hiima3L » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm in a similar situation as OP, but at a T30.

Sub-3.0 GPA--no Ds, but a smattering of A's, B's, and C's. Failed a class that I am retaking. Wildly erratic grades, though fall 2L was the best--just shy of a 3.6.

No debt because of merit scholly, outside scholly, and parents helping out with living expenses.

Unlike OP, had a PI jerb 1L summer (Legal Aid/PD) and have a paid 2L PI summer gig lined up, also Legal Aid/PD.

Hustlin' like cray to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Interning at 2 places this year--at an immigration gig and at probate and family court. Proficient in Spanish and continuing to refine my proficiency, as I know that Spanish language ability is valued by PD/Legal Aid.

HALP ME!!! OP, your post gave me relief b/c it's comforting to know someone in almost the same boat. :|


If you're PI/PD, your grades don't matter too much. What will matter is a demonstrable interest and dedication, as well as ability. It sounds like you're doing the right stuff, i.e., getting experiencing and networking. In my anecdotal experience, if you can get a few people to go to bat for you and attest to your ability, it can make up for a poor GPA.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:34 pm

hiima3L wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm in a similar situation as OP, but at a T30.

Sub-3.0 GPA--no Ds, but a smattering of A's, B's, and C's. Failed a class that I am retaking. Wildly erratic grades, though fall 2L was the best--just shy of a 3.6.

No debt because of merit scholly, outside scholly, and parents helping out with living expenses.

Unlike OP, had a PI jerb 1L summer (Legal Aid/PD) and have a paid 2L PI summer gig lined up, also Legal Aid/PD.

Hustlin' like cray to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Interning at 2 places this year--at an immigration gig and at probate and family court. Proficient in Spanish and continuing to refine my proficiency, as I know that Spanish language ability is valued by PD/Legal Aid.

HALP ME!!! OP, your post gave me relief b/c it's comforting to know someone in almost the same boat. :|


If you're PI/PD, your grades don't matter too much. What will matter is a demonstrable interest and dedication, as well as ability. It sounds like you're doing the right stuff, i.e., getting experiencing and networking. In my anecdotal experience, if you can get a few people to go to bat for you and attest to your ability, it can make up for a poor GPA.


thank you both. it is just hard to shake off the feelings of inferiority and lowliness to my classmates. :oops: :cry:

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby hiima3L » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks guys for all the input - much appreciated. I don't really enjoy Marketing and it wasn't much of a career for me--just a stint before law school.

I'm going to stick around and finish up law school and then report back to let you know how things fared.


Look, to be blunt, you need to think clearly about this and be honest with yourself. It seems like you're not doing that. Going to a T4 is already an incredibly risky decision. Graduating in the bottom of the class from a T4 is downright perilous. You are setting yourself up for having almost no possibility of getting a job after spending 3 years in school. Even if you get a job, it's going to be terribly low paying, temporary, long hours and high stress, or a combination of all of these.

This is just the way the legal market is. It's abysmal and, to be blunt again, you clearly have no idea how bad it is. If you did, you wouldn't have gone to a T4 and you would have dropped out the second you saw a C grade come in.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of unemployed or underemployed grads from the past few years from much higher ranked schools with much better grades than you. Why do you think there's any likelihood you'll be better off than them? The JD is a scarlet letter. If you drop out now, you can honestly and reasonably say to future employees that law school wasn't for you. That is completely fine. There is absolutely no shame in dropping out. I think everyone respects someone who can suck up their ego and drop out instead of someone who wastes 3 years and a shit ton of money to go to a crappy law school. The latter is not respectable; it's willful ignorance and cognitive dissonance.

I assure you I'm not trying to be a jerk. I graduated 2 years ago yet still have dozens of friends with no jobs and no job prospects. They uniformly regret their decisions to go to law school. I'm honestly just trying to help someone anonymous on the internet.

Get out while you still can.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:46 pm

OP at a 4th tier with poor grades, no legal work, etc. you're not going to get a job. If dropping out isn't an option then your best bet is to utilize your marketing skills and start a firm. You're probably in better shape hanging a shingle, and just taking whatever clients you can find. It's no secret that most law firms aren't great at marketing, particularly the small ones. Hanging a shingle has tons of liability and can be tough, but I think it's your best bet of making anything in law. Essentially, people hiring will have too many questions about your ability to do the work. You don't have to be a genius to work at any firm, but your grades from even a top school would raise eyebrows.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
hiima3L wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm in a similar situation as OP, but at a T30.

Sub-3.0 GPA--no Ds, but a smattering of A's, B's, and C's. Failed a class that I am retaking. Wildly erratic grades, though fall 2L was the best--just shy of a 3.6.

No debt because of merit scholly, outside scholly, and parents helping out with living expenses.

Unlike OP, had a PI jerb 1L summer (Legal Aid/PD) and have a paid 2L PI summer gig lined up, also Legal Aid/PD.

Hustlin' like cray to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Interning at 2 places this year--at an immigration gig and at probate and family court. Proficient in Spanish and continuing to refine my proficiency, as I know that Spanish language ability is valued by PD/Legal Aid.

HALP ME!!! OP, your post gave me relief b/c it's comforting to know someone in almost the same boat. :|

As someone with high grades with friends who generally have high grades, I can assure you that almost nobody gives a shit or puts much thought into it. If grades had a correlation with social standing, people on law review would be getting much more women.
If you're PI/PD, your grades don't matter too much. What will matter is a demonstrable interest and dedication, as well as ability. It sounds like you're doing the right stuff, i.e., getting experiencing and networking. In my anecdotal experience, if you can get a few people to go to bat for you and attest to your ability, it can make up for a poor GPA.


thank you both. it is just hard to shake off the feelings of inferiority and lowliness to my classmates. :oops: :cry:


As someone with high grades with friends who generally have high grades, I can assure you that almost nobody gives a shit or puts much thought into it. If grades had a correlation with social standing, people on law review would be getting much more women.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:54 pm

gdane wrote:Well, if you're not gonna have much debt then you may as well ride things out. I like your positive attitude, I'm a very positive person myself, but you need a little honesty here. With your grades you will almost very certainly not be able to work in acquisitions or mergers or any kind of business oriented practice area.

I'd say try to look for government agency jobs, like at the FTC, to boost your resume up a bit. Although, these aren't a sure bet either. Go to your school's career office and see if they have a list of places that need someone for the summer. At this point get work experience and try to make connections.


Dafuq? FTC is craaaaaazy competitive even for kids at top schools with solid grades. Just look at the AZ Government Honors job listings for FTC and other federal agencies. PD/DA/Legal Aid may have been a more feasible goal given this kid's T4 school and modest debt load, but with zero legal WE last summer and during the school year, those too seem out of reach, since they are all about "demonstrated commitment" which OP does not have.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby Question Everything » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to keep this short and to the point:
1L year sucked. I did very poorly. A smattering of Bs/Cs/Ds. My GPA was 2.1 at the end of the year. Anything less than 2.0 gets you kicked out of law school, whew.

--I was extremely depressed and didn't do anything in the summer.

2L year - I'm in the second semester of my 2L year. Better mental health. Grades were B/Cs in the fall. But I have a new strategy and I'm projecting A/Bs for this spring semester.

What are my options for work? I'm basically really interested in startups and M&A. How do I land some kind of unpaid internship for the summer? How do I pitch my story and account for my grades? I'm really nervous. I know I'm smart, can work hard, and I think I've found my stride this semester.

Not here for negativity and bashing. Just be helpful if you can. Thanks.


Start looking for small personal injury firm jobs, if you are interested in that type of work, like litigation, and are at least somewhat of a people person.These firms don't care much about grades and the environment is quite similar to that of a startup. If you really posses the entrepreneurial mindset you've mentioned, and are willing to work hard and hustle your ass off, you could end up out earning the BigLaw bound assholes on here that are telling you to drop out.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby DelDad » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP at a 4th tier with poor grades, no legal work, etc. you're not going to get a job. If dropping out isn't an option then your best bet is to utilize your marketing skills and start a firm. You're probably in better shape hanging a shingle, and just taking whatever clients you can find. It's no secret that most law firms aren't great at marketing, particularly the small ones. Hanging a shingle has tons of liability and can be tough, but I think it's your best bet of making anything in law. Essentially, people hiring will have too many questions about your ability to do the work. You don't have to be a genius to work at any firm, but your grades from even a top school would raise eyebrows.



This is just a personal opinion, but it is one informed by seeing a lot of good and bad lawyering while a clerk (for a court that saw everything from pro se matters through multi-billion shareholder litigation) and in the years since (first at a small 15 lawyer plaintiff's firm and now in biglaw).

Hanging out a shingle when you are straight out of lawschool is not a good idea. Period. No matter what your school is and no what your grades are. New grads don't know enough about the practice of law (especially about the various aspects of the law you need competence in to handle whatever comes in off the street), and certainly not enough about the business of law , either to be of service to their clients or to keep themselves out of trouble. American law schools are not designed to produce competent solo practitioners. It can be done if you have strong , involved mentors, but even then, you are better off associating with those mentors rather than going it alone. Again, just an opinion.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:58 pm

Keep in mind that at the end of 3 years, you're going to still have to pass a bar exam (except unless you're in Wisconsin? not sure if this applies to all schools in Wisconsin though). Are you confident that you can do that? Something to think about as you move forward. If you do stay in, at the very least, stat studying early and very hard for the bar.

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Re: Depressed 1L summer - terrible grades, still want to succeed

Postby DelDad » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:03 pm

Question Everything wrote:
Start looking for small personal injury firm jobs, if you are interested in that type of work, like litigation, and are at least somewhat of a people person.These firms don't care much about grades and the environment is quite similar to that of a startup. If you really posses the entrepreneurial mindset you've mentioned, and are willing to work hard and hustle your ass off, you could end up out earning the BigLaw bound assholes on here that are telling you to drop out.


This is better and more realistic advice if OP intends to finish school and take the bar. Still tough to get in the door with those grades, but you'd be better off working for a firm like this for a few years then going off on your own than starting out on your own.




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