Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

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bobtyme
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:00 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm currently a third year associate at a "reputable" mid-sized firm of 100+ attorneys in a secondary, but still large, market. Reputable in the sense that it has a full range of practice areas and has former biglaw types. Over the past three years, I have practiced almost exclusively in labor & employment law and now looking for new opportunities. In my search, I keep finding that most good firms seem to want "stellar academics" and "top 15%" credentials. How important the stated GPA requirement? I graduated at the bottom 30% of my class from a locally respected tier 2 (I'm a sorority girl from big public U...that phase lasted too long and into my law school years).

Can anyone advise me on what firms I should apply to or steps I should take in order to overcome this GPA problem? Are there certain respected firms that don't care about GPA and don't ask for transcript from a 4th year lateral? Do I need to stay longer?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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ChardPennington
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby ChardPennington » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:52 pm

I would just leave your GPA off your resume, focus on your experience, and hope for the best. It's kinda your only move.

Also you must be smoking hot to land the job you did with the grades you have so I guess play that up too.

oblitigate
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby oblitigate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:52 pm

ChardPennington wrote:I would just leave your GPA off your resume, focus on your experience, and hope for the best. It's kinda your only move.

Also you must be smoking hot to land the job you did with the grades you have so I guess play that up too.


This. And physical looks play a big part in hiring, especially if you're in the south or CA.

Have a bad ass-looking résumé with a lot that you can put on your atty bio, even if it's pointless stuff. But don't throw your hat in @ work just yet.

bobtyme
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:14 pm

Thanks for the posts guys! I'm actually I'm the northeast. But yes, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I suppose physicality plays a role. I actually try to tone things down so employers don't think I'm a dumb blonde. Awful.

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ph14
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:19 pm

I'm interested in hiring you. Pm me your credentials. Please include no less than 3 headshots (no deceptive camera angles either).

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patogordo
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby patogordo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:20 pm

bobtyme wrote:Thanks for the posts guys! I'm actually I'm the northeast. But yes, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I suppose physicality plays a role. I actually try to tone things down so employers don't think I'm a dumb blonde. Awful.

#thestruggle

coocoonuts
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby coocoonuts » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:50 pm

I'm interested in hearing more on this topic...

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:37 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:18 pm

bobtyme wrote:Hi everyone,

I'm currently a third year associate at a "reputable" mid-sized firm of 100+ attorneys in a secondary, but still large, market. Reputable in the sense that it has a full range of practice areas and has former biglaw types. Over the past three years, I have practiced almost exclusively in labor & employment law and now looking for new opportunities. In my search, I keep finding that most good firms seem to want "stellar academics" and "top 15%" credentials. How important the stated GPA requirement? I graduated at the bottom 30% of my class from a locally respected tier 2 (I'm a sorority girl from big public U...that phase lasted too long and into my law school years).

Can anyone advise me on what firms I should apply to or steps I should take in order to overcome this GPA problem? Are there certain respected firms that don't care about GPA and don't ask for transcript from a 4th year lateral? Do I need to stay longer?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


You're obviously hot. You will be fine.

bobtyme
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:07 pm

Can I get any real advice here? Thank you!

NYstate
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:11 pm

If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades or school may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?

Why do you want to leave where you are? It sounds like a good job. Don't underestimate the benefit of staying with your firm if you can.


Why did you put "reputable" in quotes?

bobtyme
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:26 pm

NYstate wrote:If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?


How do you demonstrate you're a stellar lawyer? On a resume, junior-mid level attorneys do about the same thing. Plus, no partner at my current firm would give me a reference after I leave. Are there other specific strategies?

NYstate
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:44 pm

bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?


How do you demonstrate you're a stellar lawyer? On a resume, junior-mid level attorneys do about the same thing. Plus, no partner at my current firm would give me a reference after I leave. Are there other specific strategies?


I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?

bobtyme
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:45 pm

NYstate wrote:
bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?


How do you demonstrate you're a stellar lawyer? On a resume, junior-mid level attorneys do about the same thing. Plus, no partner at my current firm would give me a reference after I leave. Are there other specific strategies?


I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?


I have talked to one head hunter actually...he said that i have no chance whatsoever at a "biglaw" type firm and that most headhunters/recruiters don't really work with non-biglaw firms. Also, I have no idea how I would get a partner to give me a reference...since...the firm is likely going to be pretty annoyed by my intended departure. I think highlighting my specific experience will be good. Is anyone aware of specific bigger firms that don't care about grades as much? I heard Duane Morris was one of them.

NYstate
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby NYstate » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:05 am

bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:
bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?


How do you demonstrate you're a stellar lawyer? On a resume, junior-mid level attorneys do about the same thing. Plus, no partner at my current firm would give me a reference after I leave. Are there other specific strategies?


I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?


I have talked to one head hunter actually...he said that i have no chance whatsoever at a "biglaw" type firm and that most headhunters/recruiters don't really work with non-biglaw firms. Also, I have no idea how I would get a partner to give me a reference...since...the firm is likely going to be pretty annoyed by my intended departure. I think highlighting my specific experience will be good. Is anyone aware of specific bigger firms that don't care about grades as much? I heard Duane Morris was one of them.



I don't know any firms to recommend. You are going to need references wherever you go. You have to start figuring out who you can get references from. I still don't know why you are leaving what seems to be a good job. If you can stay there a year or two and get more experience and plan for getting another job, that will be a better plan.

bobtyme
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby bobtyme » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:46 am

I have talked to one head hunter actually...he said that i have no chance whatsoever at a "biglaw" type firm and that most headhunters/recruiters don't really work with non-biglaw firms. Also, I have no idea how I would get a partner to give me a reference...since...the firm is likely going to be pretty annoyed by my intended departure. I think highlighting my specific experience will be good. Is anyone aware of specific bigger firms that don't care about grades as much? I heard Duane Morris was one of them.[/quote]


I don't know any firms to recommend. You are going to need references wherever you go. You have to start figuring out who you can get references from. I still don't know why you are leaving what seems to be a good job. If you can stay there a year or two and get more experience and plan for getting another job, that will be a better plan.[/quote]

Mostly just want to know I can get another job if this doesn't end up working out. Like a Plan B.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby anon168 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:56 am

bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:
bobtyme wrote:
NYstate wrote:If you can show you are a stellar lawyer your grades may not be an issue. Emphasize your experience and specific expertise you have developed. Do you have a partner who will give you a great rock solid reference?


How do you demonstrate you're a stellar lawyer? On a resume, junior-mid level attorneys do about the same thing. Plus, no partner at my current firm would give me a reference after I leave. Are there other specific strategies?


I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?


I have talked to one head hunter actually...he said that i have no chance whatsoever at a "biglaw" type firm and that most headhunters/recruiters don't really work with non-biglaw firms. Also, I have no idea how I would get a partner to give me a reference...since...the firm is likely going to be pretty annoyed by my intended departure. I think highlighting my specific experience will be good. Is anyone aware of specific bigger firms that don't care about grades as much? I heard Duane Morris was one of them.


There are actually some Biglaw firms with satellite offices that will be more grade flexible than their main office - think Skadden Wilmington or Sidley Dallas.

But without knowing exactly the market you are targeting, and what practice area you'd like to transition to, it's a bit hard to provide advice.

target
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby target » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:29 am

ph14 wrote:I'm interested in hiring you. Pm me your credentials. Please include no less than 3 headshots (no deceptive camera angles either).


Need more people to sit on the hiring committee? I can definitely volunteer my time.

NYstate
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby NYstate » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:38 am

bobtyme wrote:I have talked to one head hunter actually...he said that i have no chance whatsoever at a "biglaw" type firm and that most headhunters/recruiters don't really work with non-biglaw firms. Also, I have no idea how I would get a partner to give me a reference...since...the firm is likely going to be pretty annoyed by my intended departure. I think highlighting my specific experience will be good. Is anyone aware of specific bigger firms that don't care about grades as much? I heard Duane Morris was one of them.



I don't know any firms to recommend. You are going to need references wherever you go. You have to start figuring out who you can get references from. I still don't know why you are leaving what seems to be a good job. If you can stay there a year or two and get more experience and plan for getting another job, that will be a better plan.[/quote]

Mostly just want to know I can get another job if this doesn't end up working out. Like a Plan B.[/quote]

Then just stay with the job you have, you are probably lucky to get it. You need to have some expertise to sell yourself on. I don't know what else to tell you.

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby unlicensedpotato » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:06 am

NYstate wrote:
I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?


Any one else know about lateral references?
My impression was that your potential new employer wouldn't ask the firm for references because you don't want the firm to know that you're looking for other jobs in case it falls through. And then, once you tell your old firm you're leaving, it's because you already have the job.

NYstate
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby NYstate » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:14 am

unlicensedpotato wrote:
NYstate wrote:
I mean break out specific aspects of your work to highlight the areas you know the best. You must have some specific knowledge to labor and employment. Highlight that instead of typical junior lawyer stuff.

You are going to need a reference from a partner to get another job. Without a reference you will have a hard time.

Are you leaving on your own volition or is the firm cutting back? Because if the firm is cutting back you should be able to ask them directly for help.
I think you should stay if you can and keep focusing on developing an expertise or several core areas that you can confidently say you are knowledgable about.

Have you spoken to head hunters at all?


Any one else know about lateral references?
My impression was that your potential new employer wouldn't ask the firm for references because you don't want the firm to know that you're looking for other jobs in case it falls through. And then, once you tell your old firm you're leaving, it's because you already have the job.


I think big law offers are conditional with getting good reference. I can't imagine a big law firm offering you a job without contacting your current employers. Someone has to vouch for your work.

whereskyle
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby whereskyle » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:44 am

Nooooooooooo......... It really does matter that one be pretty, eh?

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cinephile
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby cinephile » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:58 am

whereskyle wrote:Nooooooooooo......... It really does matter that one be pretty, eh?


A person is only young and pretty for so long, you can't rely on that forever.

But seriously, wishing you good luck.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:00 pm

Also, if people can stick with offering advice rather than speculating on the OP's looks, that would be great.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:26 am

1) Biglaw reference checks in lateral situations happens after conflicts and other checks. It's literally the last thing in the process and if you ask someone who has supervised your work and you trust, you'll be fine.

2) Not all biglaw firms check references. Mine did not when I lateraled (and they definitely asked for them).

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objecion
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Re: Lateraling with a bad law school GPA

Postby objecion » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:04 am

The odds of a “yes” here are probably only 1%, but I’ll ask anyway. In your three years do you have a track record of creating rain or a compelling story that you can?




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