Class rank on firm bio

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merde_happens

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby merde_happens » Thu May 25, 2017 5:33 pm

I would just stick with coif. I've only ever personally seen coif, latin honors and "3rd in her class!" (though I'm assuming people would also do first and second).

If you're truly bored and curious you can try perusing around law firm websites to get a feel for what's normal and what would be seen as weird (e.g. putting in a percentage).

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jbagelboy

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby jbagelboy » Thu May 25, 2017 6:29 pm

Stick to qualitative recognition (Coif, cum laude, other school-specific awards). No numbers.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Longtimecoming19 » Thu May 25, 2017 6:35 pm

Kind of a related question - I transferred law schools (within T14) and got some awards at my 1L school. Is it weird to list those on your firm bio, with a notation that they're from your 1L school?

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 25, 2017 6:55 pm

merde_happens wrote:I would just stick with coif. I've only ever personally seen coif, latin honors and "3rd in her class!" (though I'm assuming people would also do first and second).


jbagelboy wrote: Stick to qualitative recognition (Coif, cum laude, other school-specific awards). No numbers.


OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby lolwat » Thu May 25, 2017 7:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)


I think it's just a matter of opinion. Honestly I am more of the opinion that you do want to brag a bit. That's why your firm bio even exists -- to brag about how awesome you are. I have seen one partner at QE who still has a "graduated in top 2% from [school]" on his firm bio and one partner at GDC who has a paragraph devoted to how he graduated first in his class at HLS and received x y z awards for being at the top of his class every year. We can all debate whether that's ridiculous, douchey, or whatever, but at the end of the day those firms seem to be fine with it and they're pretty successful attorneys.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby runinthefront » Thu May 25, 2017 7:06 pm

Longtimecoming19 wrote:Kind of a related question - I transferred law schools (within T14) and got some awards at my 1L school. Is it weird to list those on your firm bio, with a notation that they're from your 1L school?

Yes, that would be weird.

Also, why--on your firm bio--would you want to call attention to the fact that you're a transfer student?
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby runinthefront » Thu May 25, 2017 7:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
merde_happens wrote:I would just stick with coif. I've only ever personally seen coif, latin honors and "3rd in her class!" (though I'm assuming people would also do first and second).


jbagelboy wrote: Stick to qualitative recognition (Coif, cum laude, other school-specific awards). No numbers.


OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)

Their opinion is most likely rooted in the fact that listing your % is really, really uncommon on biglaw/midlaw firm bios, so doing so would make you look like a striver to your peers.

Basically, the advice is rooted in the same logic behind the advice counseling you against saying "OP graduated eighth in OP's class."
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby jbagelboy » Thu May 25, 2017 7:09 pm

lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)


I think it's just a matter of opinion. Honestly I am more of the opinion that you do want to brag a bit. That's why your firm bio even exists -- to brag about how awesome you are. I have seen one partner at QE who still has a "graduated in top 2% from [school]" on his firm bio and one partner at GDC who has a paragraph devoted to how he graduated first in his class at HLS and received x y z awards for being at the top of his class every year. We can all debate whether that's ridiculous, douchey, or whatever, but at the end of the day those firms seem to be fine with it and they're pretty successful attorneys.


its not about being "douchey." It's a credibility issue. If you graduated first in your class and your law school provides an award for it (e.g., Sears), by all means, include the award and its significance in your bio. Stating generally that you are in the top X% of your class when that marker is not tied to a recognized commendation is gauche and doesn't help impress anyone looking at your bio

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby lolwat » Thu May 25, 2017 7:17 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)


I think it's just a matter of opinion. Honestly I am more of the opinion that you do want to brag a bit. That's why your firm bio even exists -- to brag about how awesome you are. I have seen one partner at QE who still has a "graduated in top 2% from [school]" on his firm bio and one partner at GDC who has a paragraph devoted to how he graduated first in his class at HLS and received x y z awards for being at the top of his class every year. We can all debate whether that's ridiculous, douchey, or whatever, but at the end of the day those firms seem to be fine with it and they're pretty successful attorneys.


its not about being "douchey." It's a credibility issue. If you graduated first in your class and your law school provides an award for it (e.g., Sears), by all means, include the award and its significance in your bio. Stating generally that you are in the top X% of your class when that marker is not tied to a recognized commendation is gauche and doesn't help impress anyone looking at your bio


I think "gauche" falls under the "or whatever" above that people certainly can debate. And there might or might not be a general consensus in this thread not to use %s/ranks but I would say far from a conclusive answer if you look around firm bios enough. I would readily agree that it's uncommon to see %s as opposed to "recognized commendations" though.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 25, 2017 7:18 pm

jbagelboy wrote:its not about being "douchey." It's a credibility issue. If you graduated first in your class and your law school provides an award for it (e.g., Sears), by all means, include the award and its significance in your bio. Stating generally that you are in the top X% of your class when that marker is not tied to a recognized commendation is gauche and doesn't help impress anyone looking at your bio

I think that makes sense with regard to percentages. Does the thinking extend to a numerical rank (in the top 5, lets say) that is explicitly noted on the transcript under the section reserved for awards/honors, but which doesn't have its own named award?

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby elendinel » Thu May 25, 2017 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:OP mentioned that his/her law school doesn't do latin honors. I know it seems silly, but you shouldn't put "top 10%" on your bio even though it's fine to put "Order of the Coif" on your bio.

So your position is that one should forego indicating that she graduated in the top 1-2% of the class (either by referencing percentages or numerical rank) because there isn't a way to do so using latin for a particular school? (not being sarcastic, just trying to clarify). Only putting Coif seems to clearly understate my academic performance, which is what the firm told me I should highlight in my bio.


I think part of your problem is that you sound like you're still in OCI/interview mode where you're throwing out every accolade you have in the hopes one will stick and get you a job interview. The firm bio doesn't function the same way a resume does, so the idea that you should be concerned about "understating" your academic performance because you put Coif instead of, say, "Top 5%" just doesn't make any sense.

Examples of what the firm bio is actually for:

(1) to explain to others in the firm who you are and what your expertise is in
(2) to explain to clients who you are and what your expertise is in
(2a) to justify your billing rate to those clients
(2b) to make yourself interesting to those clients
(3) to explain to legal hiring what you do in case they need to hire more people like you/to help legal hiring inform how they hire in the future
(4) to impress future employers/recruiters who may call you up once you have some experience, after skimming bios from firms such as yours (if you're lucky/into that kind of thing)

When you remember that, your exact class rank or percentage starts becoming less and less important, unless it's exceedingly impressive (e.g., top student, top 1%), in which case there is usually some sort of award or latin honor you'd get for that (such as summa cum laude, valedictorian, etc.). Anything that doesn't come with an award or honor is probably not worth explicitly noting (or in other words, if it doesn't come with an award or honor, that's probably your cue that it's not that important outside of OCI). Your future software start-up client is going to care less that you were 10/350 and more that you did an internship in tech transactions for a year; your future supervisor may care that you were summa cum laude but is probably more interested in your SA and your school. Etc.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby rpupkin » Thu May 25, 2017 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
merde_happens wrote:I would just stick with coif. I've only ever personally seen coif, latin honors and "3rd in her class!" (though I'm assuming people would also do first and second).


jbagelboy wrote: Stick to qualitative recognition (Coif, cum laude, other school-specific awards). No numbers.


OP here. I am not disputing that this is good advice, but I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind it (sorry if I am beating a dead horse). Does this stem simply from the fact that using a numerical indicator seems braggy/gauche, whereas using a latin honor doesn't? (maybe due the fact that only an informed reader would understand the (quantitative) significance of the ("qualitative") latin honor?)

Some things are normal; some things aren't. Why don't lawyers list their LSAT score on their law firm bios? Because lawyers generally don't do that. Why don't people list high schools on professional bios? Because they just don't. There's no abstract "reasoning" behind these norms. The point is that you should generally conform to the norm.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby rpupkin » Thu May 25, 2017 8:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:its not about being "douchey." It's a credibility issue. If you graduated first in your class and your law school provides an award for it (e.g., Sears), by all means, include the award and its significance in your bio. Stating generally that you are in the top X% of your class when that marker is not tied to a recognized commendation is gauche and doesn't help impress anyone looking at your bio

I think that makes sense with regard to percentages. Does the thinking extend to a numerical rank (in the top 5, lets say) that is explicitly noted on the transcript under the section reserved for awards/honors, but which doesn't have its own named award?

Trust me. Listing "4th in class" looks worse than "Order of the Coif." It just does.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Jchance » Thu May 25, 2017 8:37 pm

rpupkin wrote:Trust me. Listing "4th in class" looks worse than "Order of the Coif." It just does.


Agreed. You might narrow the range of percentile you're in (within Coif), but you're showing that you're socially inept.

When you're already out of law school, less is more in this profession.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 25, 2017 8:41 pm

rpupkin wrote:Some things are normal; some things aren't. Why don't lawyers list their LSAT score on their law firm bios? Because lawyers generally don't do that. Why don't people list high schools on professional bios? Because they just don't. There's no abstract "reasoning" behind these norms. The point is that you should generally conform to the norm.

Fair enough. I understand the general value of conforming to the norm, I just wanted to probe further to see if there was a principled reason that I was missing.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby rpupkin » Thu May 25, 2017 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Some things are normal; some things aren't. Why don't lawyers list their LSAT score on their law firm bios? Because lawyers generally don't do that. Why don't people list high schools on professional bios? Because they just don't. There's no abstract "reasoning" behind these norms. The point is that you should generally conform to the norm.

Fair enough. I understand the general value of conforming to the norm, I just wanted to probe further to see if there was a principled reason that I was missing.

If there's a principle at play here, it looks something like this: When promoting oneself based on academic achievement in a professional setting, it's particularly important to follow the herd, lest you come off as a douche.

I'll offer a made-up example in another context: Say you're at a professional bar association event and you're chatting with someone you've never met. You ask: Where did you graduate from law school? And then the person answers: "Penn, class of 2014, order of the coif." Now, if I pulled that person aside and suggested that his "order of the coif" disclosure was socially inappropriate, imagine he said: "I don't understand. I put order of the coif on my resume. Hell, I was even told that it's okay to put it on my firm bio. I was awarded it upon graduation, so it seems like relevant information in response to a question about my graduation from law school. What is your reasoning behind your suggestion that my comment tonight was inappropriate?"

You get the idea. When touting academic accomplishments, it's a fine line between appropriate self-marketing and inept bragging. To avoid the appearance of the latter, it's best to do what almost everyone else does in a given context.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby jbagelboy » Thu May 25, 2017 10:50 pm

Jchance wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Trust me. Listing "4th in class" looks worse than "Order of the Coif." It just does.


Agreed. You might narrow the range of percentile you're in (within Coif), but you're showing that you're socially inept.

When you're already out of law school, less is more in this profession.


So much of the bolded.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Pomeranian » Thu May 25, 2017 10:59 pm

I've seen valedictorian (and salutatorian) on firm bios and don't think there's a problem with this as it's a noteworthy accomplishment.

Other than that, it would look kind of strange to put rank on a firm bio.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu May 25, 2017 11:06 pm

I've seen people list graduating first or second in their class (first more than second). I think listing rank beyond that just looks kind of insecure, in a way that listing specific honors doesn't.

I think there also be a pedigree thing going on - I don't remember seeing a lot of T14 people listing class rank, probably because a lot of those schools don't seem to officially rank (though they might give out prizes based on rank anyway). It seems more of a strong regional school thing, and maybe more common at midlaw rather than true biglaw (but this is all totally unscientific).

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby elendinel » Fri May 26, 2017 9:24 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I've seen people list graduating first or second in their class (first more than second). I think listing rank beyond that just looks kind of insecure, in a way that listing specific honors doesn't.

I think there also be a pedigree thing going on - I don't remember seeing a lot of T14 people listing class rank, probably because a lot of those schools don't seem to officially rank (though they might give out prizes based on rank anyway). It seems more of a strong regional school thing, and maybe more common at midlaw rather than true biglaw (but this is all totally unscientific).


I hesitated saying this before, but exactly this.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby sparty99 » Fri May 26, 2017 3:56 pm

lolwat wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Seems conventional to put rank indicators that don't involve numbers. i.e. "Valedictorian," "summa cum laude," etc. Don't see a reason to put I WAS 4TH when you can just throw the summa/coif on there.

OP mentioned that his/her law school doesn't do latin honors. I know it seems silly, but you shouldn't put "top 10%" on your bio even though it's fine to put "Order of the Coif" on your bio.


This is all reasonable enough. I do think top 1% is fine, but that's just me. I definitely agree it's far better to just state any awards/honors received if the school has them.

This is one of the dumbest posts on this site. Why don't you simply focus on doing good legal work, not whether your firm bio says, "order of the coif" or "top 10%," two things that your client won't care about.


Aren't you the same guy that said to focus on "winning" in resumes? Clients generally care about the quality of the attorneys at a law firm because they're smart enough to know that the senior partner they're talking to isn't the one on Westlaw all day researching and analyzing legal issues and isn't the one doing discovery etc. Associates often need to look impressive in the first instance to be given a shot to be impressive.


Your damn right I am the expert on resumes and notably, this thread does not concern resumes. It concerns a firm bio. A client does not select a large law firm because a single Associate wrote that they were "top x%." The client, who often has its own in house counsel that works directly with the law firm, knows the type of people the law firm hires. They will find out the quality of the attorney by the work product and having conversations, not by the fact that the Associate was "top x%" or in law firm. You already have the job. What you did in law school is absolutely irrelevant. How much are you going to charge me and have you been successful in this area of law previously is what is on the client's mind.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby JenDarby » Fri May 26, 2017 5:38 pm

runinthefront wrote:Their opinion is most likely rooted in the fact that listing your % is really, really uncommon on biglaw/midlaw firm bios

I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that 99% of people don't graduate in the top 1% of their class

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 27, 2017 10:56 am

(NOT OP) So, to clarify on one point. Is the consensus here that if strong regional school, and final rank was 1 or 2 in the class, it is not off-putting to list same in firm bio?

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Jchance » Sat May 27, 2017 11:02 am

^not off-putting. But list it as valedictorian or salutatorian, if allowed. These terms exist for a reason.

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Re: Class rank on firm bio

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:24 pm

Resurrecting this thread to keep firm bio advice in the same place.

Soliciting thoughts on:

(1) Firm bio wording: "law clerk to the Honorable Judgeo McJudgerson" vs "law clerk to Judge Judgeo McJudgerson"

(2) including tangentially-relevant pre-law-school work experience (say you worked for a year doing entry-level in-house legal/regulatory compliance work in a somewhat burgeoning industry between undergrad and law school)

(inb4 "it doesn't matter")



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