CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

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CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:41 am

At lower T14 on big scholarship. Didn't do as well as I'd hoped to this fall - looks like just below median. Worked day and night from beginning to end of semester, so grades not commensurate with effort or entering stats (99th percentile, 4.0).

Slow legal thinker, prone to absent-mindedness and narrow analysis on exams; I had difficulty comprehending and applying BLL. Didn't use any supplements, which was a mistake, I guess: got bogged down in the cases/outlines/irrelevant details. Out of school for 5 years, with no marketable skills, really. Worked in fine arts before LS. Decent ties to CA. Strong writer, this post notwithstanding.

Is CA corp possible from median at lower T14? If not, by how much do I have to raise my grades to be competitive? Interesting resume, but not a techie, and I have a generic BA from top public UG. I know I want corp, though, and I'm willing to bid NYC as well as LA/SV/SF.

Thinking also about JD/MBA, as a way to access non-legal (and non-finance/IB) jobs. LS might have been a bad decision, but is it salvageable without strong aptitude for the law? Dropping out not an option. No debt.

Grateful for any advice!

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:At lower T14 on big scholarship. Didn't do as well as I'd hoped to this fall - looks like just below median. Worked day and night from beginning to end of semester, so grades not commensurate with effort or entering stats (99th percentile, 4.0).

Slow legal thinker, prone to absent-mindedness and narrow analysis on exams; I had difficulty comprehending and applying BLL. Didn't use any supplements, which was a mistake, I guess: got bogged down in the cases/outlines/irrelevant details. Out of school for 5 years, with no marketable skills, really. Worked in fine arts before LS. Decent ties to CA. Strong writer, this post notwithstanding.

Is CA corp possible from median at lower T14? If not, by how much do I have to raise my grades to be competitive? Interesting resume, but not a techie, and I have a generic BA from top public UG. I know I want corp, though, and I'm willing to bid NYC as well as LA/SV/SF.

Thinking also about JD/MBA, as a way to access non-legal (and non-finance/IB) jobs. LS might have been a bad decision, but is it salvageable without strong aptitude for the law? Dropping out not an option. No debt.

Grateful for any advice!


Anecdata alert, so take with a heavy grain of salt:

It is possible to get CA corp from median IMO, but you need to have strong ties for Norcal. Norcal was tougher than LA for me. I nearly got both (2 CBs in SF/SV and 2 CBs in LA), with ironclad ties to SF, very strong local work experience, deadset on Corp and had a compelling explanation for why and just slightly below median GPA from a lower T14. Ended up striking out in both markets. Don't think it was an interviewing problem, because I went 6 for 6 in NYC on my CBs. I think it was just that I wasn't competitive enough in either market, because of my grades. So I do think CA corp from median is possible, but it is tough. If you are still around median come August, then you must bid heavily NYC on non selective firms with largish class sizes 10-15+.

Really work on getting your grades up this semester. Obviously working hard isn't by itself the answer. If burn out was a problem, which it sounds like it might have been, then take more time for yourself. Working less may actually be beneficial. Try to figure out what kept you from earning higher marks on your exams. See if you can review your exams with profs. Focus more on exams this semester and block out the bullshit that doesn't matter. Seek out your friends that did well and ask them if they might be willing to share some tips.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Nynaeve » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:34 pm

I have no specific stories or anecdotes to help you, but plenty of people at median or slightly below at my lower T14 landed corp biglaw in Cali, so don't be dejected.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:47 pm

Is the school Berk? If it is you may be better off. Norcal is hard. If you have a big scholarship then you're not in bad shape. Interviewing skill is probably going to be most important. Grades fluctuate slightly, but it isn't likely you'll get to top third. You're unlikely to get/not get a job because your gpa is a 3.36 vs. a 3.31. I think any networking/improving you can do is as beneficial as study changes. On the grades front: I don't really get why applying BLL is hard for you with your numbers. It may just be that you're reading cases hard and harder. If this isn't working for you then don't read cases. Do something else, and experiment with what makes you feel like you could apply the BLL to a client's story. The syllabus is a guide, not the old testament. Repeating what you've done is unlikely to get you the grades you want. It's likely you can work less hard, and get better grades by reshaping how you study.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby cookiejar1 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:01 pm

Definitely work on improving your grades - I have the feeling that you might be going too in-depth on isolated issues while skipping on the extreme breadth that are law school exams. Remember that A exams aren't necessarily "smart" exams but the exams that identified the most issues and that the A+ exams just added some creative analysis on top. If you can fit every single fact that you read into some kind of legal analysis or element or defense then you're doing good so focus on making sure every single fact is accounted for unless your professor is known for red herrings (what an asshole!).

For what it's worth, the GPA callback numbers at my school for the "emerging companies" firms suggest that these firms care more about fit than grades so I personally don't think median grades will hold you back from firms such as Gunderson, Cooley, Fenwick, and WSGR. These firms, however, will care about your ties to the area and more importantly your interest in the emerging business industry and etc. so while they won't necessarily look at your GPA as closely as a firm like STB / K&E will, they'll choose candidates that can demonstrate a passion for the kinds of work that they do. So network, meet with people who do this kind of work, and learn how to express a huge interest in these firms with the knowledge that they don't have hard GPA floors like a firm like MoFo would have.

After the end of your 2nd semester your CSO should release some data on what kind of GPAs each firm generally expects. You are never going to be "shut out" from the CA market but I'm glad you've expressed an interest in NYC because NYC will always be safer than CA.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:18 pm

OP here: thank you all very much for your helpfulness and encouragement!

My NorCal ties are not great, but I do have some decent connections in the SV. No, I'm not at Berk. I'm even more committed now to bidding NYC.

I especially like the advice to read the cases in less depth. As for applying the BLL, I think my problem was poor comprehension. I'll focus on supplements this semester -- I was too proud for them before, I guess -- and take to heart the recommendation to account for every fact on the exams.

Thanks again, all!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Emma. » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:28 pm

cookiejar1 wrote:
For what it's worth, the GPA callback numbers at my school for the "emerging companies" firms suggest that these firms care more about fit than grades so I personally don't think median grades will hold you back from firms such as Gunderson, Cooley, Fenwick, and WSGR. These firms, however, will care about your ties to the area and more importantly your interest in the emerging business industry and etc. so while they won't necessarily look at your GPA as closely as a firm like STB / K&E will, they'll choose candidates that can demonstrate a passion for the kinds of work that they do.


Cooley, at least, is quite grade selective. And while you are right that it is possible to land Fenwick or WSGR with median grades, I think most of the folks that do have some kind of background (beyond just an "interest" in emerging companies) that makes them stand out.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:34 pm

Is it fair to say, Emma, that 'grade selective' in this context means top third?

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:43 pm

first of all, you aren't a below median student yet -- just a below median performance in fall of 1L. There's still the spring.

moreover, bidding SF/SV heavily as a below median lower T14 is a recipe for striking out. The market has improved, but that's highly concentrated growth in New York. I would not risk bidding entirely in California if your grades held at this level. If you pursue that strategy than you have to mass-mail every non-grade-selective NY firm in July and follow up with hospitality suites as a buffer.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Pikappraider » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:05 pm

jbagelboy wrote:first of all, you aren't a below median student yet -- just a below median performance in fall of 1L. There's still the spring.

moreover, bidding SF/SV heavily as a below median lower T14 is a recipe for striking out. The market has improved, but that's highly concentrated growth in New York. I would not risk bidding entirely in California if your grades held at this level. If you pursue that strategy than you have to mass-mail every non-grade-selective NY firm in July and follow up with hospitality suites as a buffer.


This is on point. If you don't have a great spring and end up around median I would bid heavy on the non-selective New York firms. You would still have room for Cali too but definitely don't put all your eggs in one basket. A good friend of mine was below median at lower t-14 and did exactly this and ended up with a NYC offer and an la offer. He was in La 1L summer and hustled his ass off with networking which probably got him the job.
Last edited by Pikappraider on Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Big Dog » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:12 pm

LA is much easier than SF, so you might want to focus on SoCal.

As others note, bid NYC heavily however. Some of the NY firms have LA offices, so if you get in, you might be able to transfer as an Associate.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:48 pm

Thanks for all the great advice ITT.

I hope to improve my grades, but my performance to date is awfully discouraging, especially considering how hard I worked. I worry that I just don't have an aptitude for the law or enough interest in it to succeed. I know from my pre-LS work (non profit work that required written agreements) that I like negotiation, drafting, and doing deals, which is why I'm focusing on corp.

In hindsight, an MBA would have been a better choice, as I would be perfectly happy in a marketing or non-finance/quant role at a F500. I'm concerned now that the JD might make those jobs harder to get, even if I add an MBA, which I can afford to do b/c of the scholarship. But the grass is always greener. If my grades were better, I doubt I'd have the same concerns about my suitability to law school.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Pikappraider » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for all the great advice ITT.

I hope to improve my grades, but my performance to date is awfully discouraging, especially considering how hard I worked. I worry that I just don't have an aptitude for the law or enough interest in it to succeed. I know from my pre-LS work (non profit work that required written agreements) that I like negotiation, drafting, and doing deals, which is why I'm focusing on corp.

In hindsight, an MBA would have been a better choice, as I would be perfectly happy in a marketing or non-finance/quant role at a F500. I'm concerned now that the JD might make those jobs harder to get, even if I add an MBA, which I can afford to do b/c of the scholarship. But the grass is always greener. If my grades were better, I doubt I'd have the same concerns about my suitability to law school.


Relax, you have 3-4 grades total. Go over your old exams and see what you can improve. It could be that you tried to fit too much into an answer and didn't go in depth enough on a few major issues. Also just below median isn't terrible, it's not like you bombed out. Did you have one trash grade that dragged you down or were they consistently a little below/at

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:57 pm

Thanks for your encouragement!

Identical grade in all classes, which seems to suggest some kind of systemic deficiency in my execution and approach.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:02 pm

You have to consider volume. Unless it's large numbers of cb's, it's possible they were called back because of law review. It's also possible they were called back because they made the interviewer smile, played d-2 volleyball or like the opera. GPA is probably most important but it's not necessary or sufficient.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:19 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:You have to consider volume. Unless it's large numbers of cb's, it's possible they were called back because of law review. It's also possible they were called back because they made the interviewer smile, played d-2 volleyball or like the opera. GPA is probably most important but it's not necessary or sufficient.


In same boat as you OP. Did terrible this semester and ended up below median. Don't want to drop out but considering appying to the JD/MBA as a backup after 2L OCI. Maybe that's an option for you?

Like other's have said, spring semester is another shot. I thought the advice was great on this thread but think the execution will be harder. I'm not sure how to raise my grades either since they were essentially all identical but I guess it will take a complete overhaul in my methods. I spent all semester reading the cases real hard and studying the outline during finals week. All of this was bullshit. I'm going to synthesize material at the end of each section this time, be done with the outline 2 weeks before finals, and focus more on practice tests.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:You have to consider volume. Unless it's large numbers of cb's, it's possible they were called back because of law review. It's also possible they were called back because they made the interviewer smile, played d-2 volleyball or like the opera. GPA is probably most important but it's not necessary or sufficient.


In same boat as you OP. Did terrible this semester and ended up below median. Don't want to drop out but considering appying to the JD/MBA as a backup after 2L OCI. Maybe that's an option for you?

Like other's have said, spring semester is another shot. I thought the advice was great on this thread but think the execution will be harder. I'm not sure how to raise my grades either since they were essentially all identical but I guess it will take a complete overhaul in my methods. I spent all semester reading the cases real hard and studying the outline during finals week. All of this was bullshit. I'm going to synthesize material at the end of each section this time, be done with the outline 2 weeks before finals, and focus more on practice tests.

Honestly, it may make sense to gloss over a professor's previous test early on or solicit info from others on how they test. Rather than finishing early, you may want to have a perspective on how you should be learning the material (is it why the law is how it is, how to apply the law, a combo, etc.) If there's no tests available, asking a prof which supplement she'd recommend, what makes her like xxx law, etc. will tip you off on how they're going to test.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:You have to consider volume. Unless it's large numbers of cb's, it's possible they were called back because of law review. It's also possible they were called back because they made the interviewer smile, played d-2 volleyball or like the opera. GPA is probably most important but it's not necessary or sufficient.


In same boat as you OP. Did terrible this semester and ended up below median. Don't want to drop out but considering appying to the JD/MBA as a backup after 2L OCI. Maybe that's an option for you?

Like other's have said, spring semester is another shot. I thought the advice was great on this thread but think the execution will be harder. I'm not sure how to raise my grades either since they were essentially all identical but I guess it will take a complete overhaul in my methods. I spent all semester reading the cases real hard and studying the outline during finals week. All of this was bullshit. I'm going to synthesize material at the end of each section this time, be done with the outline 2 weeks before finals, and focus more on practice tests.


Did you also feel as if you have no real aptitude for the law, or was there something you didn't understand? Even when I knew the BLL well and had a good sense of how it should be applied, I missed issues and focused my time and answers in the wrong places. It's also clear that I need to spend more time reading the exam questions and outlining my answers before starting to write.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:You have to consider volume. Unless it's large numbers of cb's, it's possible they were called back because of law review. It's also possible they were called back because they made the interviewer smile, played d-2 volleyball or like the opera. GPA is probably most important but it's not necessary or sufficient.


In same boat as you OP. Did terrible this semester and ended up below median. Don't want to drop out but considering appying to the JD/MBA as a backup after 2L OCI. Maybe that's an option for you?

Like other's have said, spring semester is another shot. I thought the advice was great on this thread but think the execution will be harder. I'm not sure how to raise my grades either since they were essentially all identical but I guess it will take a complete overhaul in my methods. I spent all semester reading the cases real hard and studying the outline during finals week. All of this was bullshit. I'm going to synthesize material at the end of each section this time, be done with the outline 2 weeks before finals, and focus more on practice tests.


Did you also feel as if you have no real aptitude for the law, or was there something you didn't understand? Even when I knew the BLL well and had a good sense of how it should be applied, I missed issues and focused my time and answers in the wrong places. It's also clear that I need to spend more time reading the exam questions and outlining my answers before starting to write.

Sounds like you've both identified the problem, and posited a logical remedy. Good luck. A lot of this is a lack of experience more than anything else. It would probably be beneficial to have 1L's have a 1 or 2 credit low stakes half-term course that ended in mid-October. You'd have identified all the problems you did here before Thanksgiving, and could've amended your approach accordingly.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Pikappraider » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:19 pm

Start preparing for interviews very early. I'd focus hard on school now but i would go hard on interview prep this summer. Have someone who will be blunt and upfront with you do an interview and give you real feedback (not career services). Be honest with yourself about your charisma and interview skills and if they need work, improve them. Slightly below median at ccn is not a terrible place to be for corporate in NYC if you interview well. Cali will be harder but is still possible if you will be there for 1L summer and hustle your ass off networking.

I wouldn't panic and go into drop out mode unless you don't want to be a lawyer. Above median is still readily attainable and even if you stay where you are at, corporate big law is not a huge stretch. It's not guranteed by any means but you have a reasonable shot, especially with hustle.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:07 pm

Pikappraider wrote:Start preparing for interviews very early. I'd focus hard on school now but i would go hard on interview prep this summer. Have someone who will be blunt and upfront with you do an interview and give you real feedback (not career services). Be honest with yourself about your charisma and interview skills and if they need work, improve them. Slightly below median at ccn is not a terrible place to be for corporate in NYC if you interview well. Cali will be harder but is still possible if you will be there for 1L summer and hustle your ass off networking.

I wouldn't panic and go into drop out mode unless you don't want to be a lawyer. Above median is still readily attainable and even if you stay where you are at, corporate big law is not a huge stretch. It's not guranteed by any means but you have a reasonable shot, especially with hustle.


Does bottom quarter at CCN not get corp/biglaw? Even if they bid smartly and choose the lease grade-selective firms and only bid on NYC? I'd need to get an A- in all 3 of my classes to bring up the gpa to 3.3 (median). Alternatively, I could get two B+ and a B for a 3.08. Considering how I got nothing above a B+ this semester, this seems pretty discouraging.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does bottom quarter at CCN not get corp/biglaw? Even if they bid smartly and choose the lease grade-selective firms and only bid on NYC? I'd need to get an A- in all 3 of my classes to bring up the gpa to 3.3 (median). Alternatively, I could get two B+ and a B for a 3.08. Considering how I got nothing above a B+ this semester, this seems pretty discouraging.


2L at CCN, GPA ~3.19 at end of 1L, never got an A or A-. got offers from both NYC and CA firms in V30 range, after expressing interest in corporate group at interviews. granted i didn't land V5 or whatever, but hope this provides some reassurance.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does bottom quarter at CCN not get corp/biglaw? Even if they bid smartly and choose the lease grade-selective firms and only bid on NYC? I'd need to get an A- in all 3 of my classes to bring up the gpa to 3.3 (median). Alternatively, I could get two B+ and a B for a 3.08. Considering how I got nothing above a B+ this semester, this seems pretty discouraging.


2L at CCN, GPA ~3.19 at end of 1L, never got an A or A-. got offers from both NYC and CA firms in V30 range, after expressing interest in corporate group at interviews. granted i didn't land V5 or whatever, but hope this provides some reassurance.


That is comforting. What did you do 1L summer? Also did you have significant work experience or other softs you think helped overcome your lower grades?

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:53 am

Reassuring, yes, but what if you're not at CCN? How does median at MVPDNGCB fare if NYC/CA corp is the goal?

Seems like being above median, even by .1, is important.

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Re: CA corp possible from median at lower T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Reassuring, yes, but what if you're not at CCN? How does median at MVPDNGCB fare if NYC/CA corp is the goal?

Seems like being above median, even by .1, is important.


3L at MVP. Had a 3.2 at end of 1L, which was below median slightly. I split my bids between NYC corp and SV/SF emerging company corp. VERY nearly struck out. Got 2 callbacks at two of the big four emerging company firms but didn't convert to offers. Got two callbacks at V100's in NYC and snagged one of those.

If I could go back and do it again I would not have split my bids and would have gone 100% in on NYC. I would have had more options. Even though I got tantalizingly close to my ideal job of corp work at one of the SV shops, at the end of the day i really wasn't that competitive and i missed out on interviews with more places in NY that are actually hiring people with my stats.

However, the market is noticeably better even two years later so I think my numbers would get more mileage.




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