GPA needed for gov. honors?

(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.
ConfusedL1

Bronze
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:53 pm

GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby ConfusedL1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:32 am

Anyone know a good source with some hard data for GAP ranges for gov honors programs? I know a lot of them don't have cutoffs, but it would be nice to see some numbers if they're available. Of particular interest are:

DOJ
CFPB
FTC (antitrust)
SEC

Btw, t14 with a 3.5

Thanks!

User avatar
Jakobe

New
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:10 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby Jakobe » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:15 am

Just so you know, a 3.5 at Columbia isn't the same thing as a 3.5 at Cornell/Northwestern. Schools in the T14 have pretty varying curves.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:20 am

It's going to depend on a lot of factors, including for DOJ which component you're applying to. If you dig up the past years' application threads, people who get interviews often post their stats so you can see some examples. (This probably only works for DOJ, actually, because I don't know that we have a critical mass of applicants for the other programs posting here, but it's worth checking out for that program.) And class rank is as always more helpful than GPA.

User avatar
zot1

Gold
Posts: 4474
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:24 am

Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.

User avatar
bretby

Bronze
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby bretby » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:38 am

zot1 wrote:Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.


What qualifies as substantial relevant experience for the DOJ?

TransferHopeful17

New
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:46 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby TransferHopeful17 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:58 am

Varies way too much for a generic answer here. Even certain sections within participating components will be more class rank and school-selective than others. Civil and ENRD are the two I have heard that are slightly more selective about school and class rank. Clerkships and relevant experience will help, particularly the former. I would think that interning for X component during law school would help more than working in the practice area of X component.

You don't know until you try, though.

User avatar
zot1

Gold
Posts: 4474
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:47 am

bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.


What qualifies as substantial relevant experience for the DOJ?


Well, think about it. DOJ has a lot of components and each will vary in what you'd need. If you're in one of the immigration components, having substantial experience in immigration would help.

User avatar
bretby

Bronze
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby bretby » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:08 pm

zot1 wrote:
bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.


What qualifies as substantial relevant experience for the DOJ?


Well, think about it. DOJ has a lot of components and each will vary in what you'd need. If you're in one of the immigration components, having substantial experience in immigration would help.


I should have been clearer, sorry - can work done during law school ever amount to substantial work? Or are we talking prior work experience in immigration. I understand there are gradients, but I wasn't sure where the bar was generally set.

User avatar
grand inquisitor

Gold
Posts: 3768
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:21 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby grand inquisitor » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:18 pm

bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:
bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.


What qualifies as substantial relevant experience for the DOJ?


Well, think about it. DOJ has a lot of components and each will vary in what you'd need. If you're in one of the immigration components, having substantial experience in immigration would help.


I should have been clearer, sorry - can work done during law school ever amount to substantial work? Or are we talking prior work experience in immigration. I understand there are gradients, but I wasn't sure where the bar was generally set.

its definitely a positive to have done extracurriculars or externships, etc. in the area you are applying for, but it generally won't be enough to move the needle enough to counteract non-qualifying grades.

User avatar
zot1

Gold
Posts: 4474
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:42 pm

grand inquisitor wrote:
bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:
bretby wrote:
zot1 wrote:Class rank is generally what they go by (top 30%, top 15%, etc). However, whatever their requirement may be, agencies will go lower if you have substantial relevant experience.


What qualifies as substantial relevant experience for the DOJ?


Well, think about it. DOJ has a lot of components and each will vary in what you'd need. If you're in one of the immigration components, having substantial experience in immigration would help.


I should have been clearer, sorry - can work done during law school ever amount to substantial work? Or are we talking prior work experience in immigration. I understand there are gradients, but I wasn't sure where the bar was generally set.

its definitely a positive to have done extracurriculars or externships, etc. in the area you are applying for, but it generally won't be enough to move the needle enough to counteract non-qualifying grades.


I see what you mean now. I mean, it depends on two factors. First, who the interviewer is, and second, what kind of experience we are talking about.

My office liked me particularly because of my extensive brief writing and trial experience, all of which I acquired in law school through multiple clinics, internships, and classes. That was, of course, sufficient to the needs of the particular office. For another office, maybe they need someone who has extensive experience in one specific court. I obviously wouldn't have made the mark there.

But the above poster is correct, a bad gpa can hardly be saved through a lot of experience. When I said they would go lower, I only mean by a few points. For example, if the cutoff is 30% and you're 35% but you have relevant experience, the interviewer might be willing to pick you over the guy who's 30% and has no relevant experience.

Nevertheless, what you're chasing for here won't help you. At the end of the day, hiring can be as random as you could expect (someone picking a candidate because they went to same alma mater. It varies based on the personality of the selecting official and the needs of the office. So trying to guess your chances won't help you much. And if you do have relevant experience, hopefully you highlighted it extensively in your materials.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:22 pm

grand inquisitor wrote:its definitely a positive to have done extracurriculars or externships, etc. in the area you are applying for, but it generally won't be enough to move the needle enough to counteract non-qualifying grades.

I think this is mostly true, but that you can make up for grades somewhat with other academic achievements. I know someone who got DOJ with fairly ordinary grades (I think above median but not tons - top 40% maybe?) who had LR, moot court, won moot court competitions, had awesome softs, interned with DOJ during school, and got a federal clerkship. Maybe it's that DOJ is weirdly holistic.

Re: work, like people said, work during school counts. I have seen people who have additional pre-LS work in their relevant area, too, but while it helps I don't think it's required.

On the flip side, I think many of the honors programs can be fairly ecumenical about school pedigree if you have the other qualifications. I've seen hires from a really wide range of schools (and as for ENRD, I think they will dip lower in terms of school rank if it is an enviro-heavy school and the candidate is qualified - I've seen them hire from Vermont and Pace, for instance, although a lot of top schools too). So I think top grades at an ordinary school can actually be a better position than ordinary grades at a top school.

But it will depend on who's reading the apps in a given year and what they value.

User avatar
pancakes3

Platinum
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:25 pm

^ dat fed clerkship doe

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:41 pm

pancakes3 wrote:^ dat fed clerkship doe

To be honest, the majority of people I know who got DOJ honors did federal clerkships, so that's just something to be aware of, though keep in mind my sample is pretty small. (And you can sometimes get a federal clerkship without tip top grades, when you have other things going for you.)

User avatar
pancakes3

Platinum
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:50 pm

yeah, the lawyers i've met at DOJ all seem to have clerkships under their belt. i was just pointing out that the ordinary grade candidate you cited is pretty much a top candidate save for the GPA.

i'm operating under the assumption that DOJ honors is about as competitive as getting a flyover clerkship - maybe a bit more forgiving gradewise if you can demonstrate interest but that's roughly the caliber of student DOJ looks for.

then after that, depending on how prestigious the agency, the requirements are more or less the same, with more niche agencies willing to dip into lower GPAs for higher WE/interest/etc.

so asking for bigfed requirements is a bit of an unanswerable question not in that it's a black box but because there's so much variance from agency to agency, and so few data points to say anything with much certainty.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:58 pm

Yes, that person was a top candidate except for the GPA - which is why I brought them up, because I think "what GPA is required" is a kind of limited way of looking at it. That person was an awesome candidate regardless of GPA, and someone with a 4.0 from HYS (or whatever grading system equivalent) and none of the rest of it might not be a great candidate at all. So you're right that it's kind of impossible to answer with any specificity. Even within DOJ, what makes you a top candidate for one component may not be of interest at all to another component.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316328
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:20 pm

Anyone speak to benefit of nonfed trial clerkship? Also what about selectivity of civil-commercial and fed programs.

grixxlybear99

Bronze
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby grixxlybear99 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:45 pm

I got DOJ Honors with median from lower t14 with prior experience in the area

User avatar
grand inquisitor

Gold
Posts: 3768
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:21 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby grand inquisitor » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone speak to benefit of nonfed trial clerkship? Also what about selectivity of civil-commercial and fed programs.

there's a DOJ Honors thread that just started up where you can find some info and it will probably be supplemented in the days to come. fed programs is hella difficult; some components at civ are SDNY fed clerkship-level difficult and some are flyover magistrate judge-level difficult.

User avatar
pancakes3

Platinum
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:03 pm

grixxlybear99 wrote:I got DOJ Honors with median from lower t14 with prior experience in the area


did you crush grade-wise in relevant coursework or was it all WE?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316328
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:07 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
grixxlybear99 wrote:I got DOJ Honors with median from lower t14 with prior experience in the area


did you crush grade-wise in relevant coursework or was it all WE?


Just WE. Never took relevant coursework beyond fed courts

Anonymous User
Posts: 316328
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: GPA needed for gov. honors?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
grixxlybear99 wrote:I got DOJ Honors with median from lower t14 with prior experience in the area


did you crush grade-wise in relevant coursework or was it all WE?


Just WE. Never took relevant coursework beyond fed courts


Any chance you can say what the work experience was (internship, non-legal work in the office, etc.)?



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.