Does anyone have a below-median success story?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:30 pm

I'm a non-URM female with a 3.1 at a lower T-14. I know that it is possible for me to get a 2L SA, but that I have to hustle really hard (mass mailing, contacting alumni, etc.) in order to get anything. However, I'm wondering if people previously in my shoes can speak about their experiences. It's kinda difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel from my position, and I would be extremely grateful for any advice/reassurance.

User avatar
ronanOgara
Posts: 1554
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:40 pm

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby ronanOgara » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:36 pm

No, there are no feel good stories from anyone who has graduated below median at a T14.

Why? Because they all died.

user has been outed for anon abuse

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a non-URM female with a 3.1 at a lower T-14. I know that it is possible for me to get a 2L SA, but that I have to hustle really hard (mass mailing, contacting alumni, etc.) in order to get anything. However, I'm wondering if people previously in my shoes can speak about their experiences. It's kinda difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel from my position, and I would be extremely grateful for any advice/reassurance.


I was below median at a t20 after 1L. going to a nlj250 firm paying market + DPW bonus in the fall. Had offers from another mid law and 1 other nlj250 firm too. got the current offer well into my 3L second sem.

personal advice based on what I did:
1) raise your grades as much as possible during 2L and 3L. If youre well outside a firm's cut-off, you have no shot. I graduated top third. 2L and 3L are easier because the smartest kids (top of the curve) tend to transfer out.
2) Target a practice area. your grades suck so you don't have the luxury of just going "litigation" and applying wide. Pick 1 practice area (e.g. tax, executive compensation, immigration, etc). Then build a resume targeting that field. If you're at 3.3 gpa and you have a smattering of random internships you'll never beat the kid with a 3.5. But if youre applying to nixon peabody for affordable Housing, and you have all affordable housing internships, then you have a good shot of beating the kid with a 3.5 but no real interest.
3) network! i had like 100+ emails which led to 20+ informational interviews, which led to like 3 real connections over 2 years, which led to 1 great job offer.

User avatar
J9ofDiamonds
Posts: 3367
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:06 pm

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby J9ofDiamonds » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:15 am

Bid large classes in NYC and tell them you want transactional. I personally know a few people from lower t14 who landed big law below median.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:49 pm

Yes. I am a non-trad (finance and transactional paralegal background), Stanford ugrad, Ivy MBA then T-30. I was below median after 1L. A few B-s will do that to you. I landed an interview for a biglaw firm hiring off cycle for their transactional practice in Dec, offer in Jan. During 2L, I rocked it out and came in 14th in my class of 200+. I am now at top third. I am a 2L summer and hoping to change geographies to get back to the other coast. So yeah, I'm a unicorn, it happened.

BTW, I don't think I really got better at law school. I just took transactional classes my 2L year that worked well with my business background. I don't think I have law school nailed yet, and still get nervous in big survey classes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:40 am

multiple friends at my lower t14 landed stuff below median.

bid well, spend the summer making sure your interview skills are perfect, and know your resume. It also helps to be good looking and in shape, so if you need to hit the gym between now and OCI, do it. I'm being completely serious.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:40 pm

Have a good story, be proactive. I am At or below median at T25. Multiple offers at V20 firms in NYC and Chicago and all the top firms in my target market. I'm still young. Only took 2 years off between ug/Law school but spent time starting/selling my own company and in investment banking, so my story was all transactional. I also called/mass mailed firms not coming to Oci and walked into Oci interviews which I didn't get a pre-select. I actually landed offers at all 4 firms I did that with, all were v15 firms.

gaddockteeg
Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:33 pm

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby gaddockteeg » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have a good story, be proactive. I am At or below median at T25. Multiple offers at V20 firms in NYC and Chicago and all the top firms in my target market. I'm still young. Only took 2 years off between ug/Law school but spent time starting/selling my own company and in investment banking, so my story was all transactional. I also called/mass mailed firms not coming to Oci and walked into Oci interviews which I didn't get a pre-select. I actually landed offers at all 4 firms I did that with, all were v15 firms.


this is pretty awesome.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:08 pm

Yours is a numbers game. I was below median at B and did 40+ interviews. I think the only way to do it is to go big, and your goal is to leave the interview with the screener looking for am excuse to give you a CB. As far as I can tell there a few categories of firms, and noone can tell you what firm falls into what bucket.

1. Firms that look at your grades/resumes during/before the screener interview. You are almost certainly out of the game in those interviews, and will know in the first few moments. Use the interview to test drive some of your stories and narratives, as well as to relax a bit. There is no stress in a Gibson Dunn interview if you are bottom 25%, so enjoy yourself, be professional, and act like a mock interview.

2. Firms where a good interview can get you in the running, but you cannot make a good connection with the interviewer. I had one interview like that where people with worse grades than me got CBs, but I hated my interviewer, for the first time since middle school I had the urge to give him a wedgie and remind him that the kids who picked on him in HS are probably still fucking his gf. The key here is to keep your cool and not let it get to you. Luck is a fickle beast, and not everyone will like you.

3. Firms where you have a shot and get along with the interviewer. Try to tell a lot of personal stories with selling points in them. You want the screener to think that you are interesting, competent, and bad at being a law student. More importantly, you want him/her to want to hang out with you. Make sure you ask them a lot of questions about themselves and the firm, and otherwise treat it like a first date (minus the footsies).

4. The overwhelming majority of firms will be think you are pleasant, but will ultimately select someone else, don't let them get to you, just realize all you need is one offer, like a 2% success rate. That's very doable.


Some technical hints:

Five of my most chill friends and I booked a room in the OCI hotel. No one slept there, but we kept snacks, extra shirts/ties/resumes, our toothbrushes, a steamer, and some mints in the room. I ended up only using the snacks, but it helped to have a saftey net. The room also served as a good place to listen to music and unwind far away from hospatality suite eyes and overly neurotic law students. We all got along, gave tips about open spaces/interviewer dislikes, and checked each others teeth for stuck food. We all had very different success rates (from 15+ offers to 0 offers) but everyone was discreet about giving congratulations and encouragement. I suggest this a lot.

Also, it helps to cluster your interviews. I found it a lot easier to be "on" for 4 hours straight, then to be constantly switching gears.

Finally, be patient. I had friends getting callbacks the same day as the interview, but I didnt get mine until 2 weeks later. Do not read the tea leaves, anything can happen

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:41 pm

Anon above -- where did you go to school? Congrats on the hustle.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:33 pm

UC-B (where, admittedly, it is a little harder to prove you were below median, but trust me It was clear to employers that I wasn't "good" at law school)

so ambivalent
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby so ambivalent » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:37 pm

Similar to you: non-URM famle at a T15 (I think? like it matters...) and I had a 3.1 when I started 2L year, which I am pretty sure I was around or below meadian (school doesn't rank). I worked my ass off but my GPA did not improve much (3.2 when I graduated). I got interviews at smaller firms but no summer SA and ended up working for a federal agency my 2L summer. I also got interviews for other federal agencies, DA's offices and law firms during my 3L year. No bites.
The day I graduated from law school was the worst day of my life. All my friends had breakfast before we walked and they all had jobs and were genuinely happy. I was just trying to not cry about being jobless and in debt. I guess I put on a good front because, after the ceremony, one of the deans stopped me to tell me how proud of me she was, how I had such a great posivie attitude and I would get something eventually. An hour later I told my family I wanted to kill myself and within 2 days our campus medical center was calling me to make sure I didn't actually kill myself. It seems needlessly melodramatic now, but at the time I could literally not see any light at the end of the law school tunnel and what the point of the last three years of my life was. Within 6 months of that dark moment I had a job in my target market at a very small firm. Now my big concern is finding a job that's the perfect fit, where I can pay off my loans, buy a home, and make babies (if I want to). How quickly things change!
It's hard to give advice without knowing what you are targeting. Do you only want firms? Only firms in certain markets? Only litigation or only transactional? Throughout law school I literally applied for every job, clerkship, fellowship, usajob posting, or symplicity posting page that would take me. That persistence and willingness to work in areas I had previously not considered paid off because it led to a job where I do really advanced and varied work that makes me more marketable for the sorts of jobs I would never have been considered for while in law school with my dismal GPA. Right now, I feel on top of the world, and it's largely because I have this job (and wonderfully supportive friends, family and SO). So I guess I'm just sharing my story with you as a kind of encouragement, rather than all this highly-technical advice TLS is so prone to giving. Like obviously you need to work to improve your grades and prep for interviews and make your bids strategically, but you can do all those things (like I did) and still end up without a job. The only advice that I think really works is the most simple advice and it's applicable whether you want a job in law or elsewhere: apply a lot, everywhere, accept what you get and make the most of it, and try to keep your head up. You may not get something until after graduation (I have classmates who walked with me last year and still don't have jobs) and that is going to truly suck. And, another word of advice, stay the hell away from most of your classmates who have jobs and cultivate your non-law school relationships or relationships with older lawyers or alums or, if you're spiritual, seek reassurance in your faith. You have to tell yourself and have people around you tell you that it will get better. Basically you don't give up because you can't. Keep the faith in yourself and your ability to make things work for you and, seriously, fuck all the stats, they don't mean shit once you have that first job or are outside the realm of TLS. Keep ya head up.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:44 pm

So Ambivalent - I'm not the OP but I really appreciated your post. I graduated jobless in May 2015 and I thought about killing myself throughout the entire graduation ceremony. Since then, I've had one interview, which was more than I had all of last semester of my 3L year. So I think your advice to just keep trying is right - it's basically all that we can do and most people do get something eventually.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone have a below-median success story?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:00 pm

So I'm at a v15 in new york, and over the couple of years i've been here i've had a few chances to interact with people who by their numbers "shouldn't" have gotten this job. People who were not at T6 and not in the top 20%.

Of course, the vast majority of people were to 30% at T6 or top 10-20% from 6 to 14, but there are always people who can demonstrate through EXTENSIVE preparation that they know their shit. I have personally interviewed and pushed for hiring someone from my own school who was far below median, because this person demonstrated exceptional knowledge and active involvement in the school community. She was eventually hired.

Granted, anecdotal and this was only one case, but there are others, and you don't have to be targeting V15s, but if there are such folks who succeeded here, there are definitely much better chances for success below.

I came across this random article from these people who are ultimately trying to sell a guide, but the article isn't incorrect. Note that they say the partner described some individuals as "hungry" and others as not. Partners and interviewing associates definitely take this kind of outward stuff into account. http://www.lawfirminterviews.com/articl ... eading-the




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.