Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

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Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:54 pm

Title says all. Little bit about myself. I'm currently a 2L at a lower T14. Slightly below median and on a secondary journal. K-Jd with nothing special or extraordinary or impressive work experience. I ended up striking out at OCI and thus mass mailed. I was able to land myself a 2L summer associate position at a mid size firm in my home market. However, my end goal is Big Law in NYC. I spoke with my Career Services Office for advice on how to transition to Big Law for 3L but they weren't very helpful and told me that it's just a few students who didn't have Big Law their 2L summer that were able to snag Big Law right after graduation and that most who don't have Big Law 2L summer usually have missed out and won't get Big Law. This scares me and I was wondering what should my next steps be here on out to maximize my chances of securing Big Law by the time I graduate. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:27 pm

I am currently a 3L at lower T14, that had struck out during 2L OCI and am going to a BigLaw firm in a non-NYC major market. I am not in a journal, had slightly above median grades during 2L OCI, and I am an international student, which made the process even scarier.

I will say you are in a better spot than most, in that you will have a law firm experience when 3L comes around. Most people that strike out at OCI do not end up working at a law firm in the summer; they do mostly something in-house for a company or do something related to public interest. I had split my summer between an in-house position at my target city and mid-size firm at a much smaller market. The only other person in my year that has made the leap to BigLaw had similarly been at a mid-size firm during their summer. So, you are in a better position than most to get BigLaw as a 3L. What you can do to put in yourself in a better spot:

1) I know it is an obvious thing to say, but your grades will matter a lot. My grades went up considerably during my 2L year (almost up by 0.2), and that allowed me to both build a positive narrative. Sometimes I even got a favorable comment about that improvement from an interviewer even without prompt. So, especially for next semester, be strategic about the classes you take, your interviewers won't know which classes are easier than others or which are curved differently, and any increase you can get on your GPA will help you.

2) Not sure if you are looking for litigation or transactional law, but keep in mind that most openings in 3L will be for transactional practices. Some people will recommend that you specialize (such as in tax or real estate, where a good amount of openings are), but I will also recommend that you cast a wide net within transactional law. It is hard to know where the openings will be beforehand, and some openings are truly general corporate law (my firm has sort of a free-market system, so that was what I was effectively recruited to do). I would also take a bankruptcy class, just to be on the safe side, if that is an option.

3) Finally, one good thing about being in a T-13 means that lots of your friends are going to be SA's at BigLaw firms. You can use that to your advantage. Ask them to ask around towards the end of their summer positions both to forward your resumes to recruiters and to at least see if they might have an opening. They can tell you whom to network at their firms at well. It probably helped that a friend at the office I got the job in forwarded my resume to the firm recruiters early on in the summer and was willing to even talk to recruiters about me personally. I was just lucky that they had a position too. But even when my friends just got back to me and said their office/firm is not going to be hiring 3L's, it just saved me time and allowed me to put my attention to places with more promise.

Good luck!

notinbiglaw

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby notinbiglaw » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:49 pm

OP, when I was at GULC, quite a few people had success during 3L trading up from mid law. I’d guess still less than half of those that tried succeeded but there was definitely a lot more trading up than career services would like to admit because a lot of that trading up involves reneging on offers already accepted.

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:28 pm

Seconding getting good grades during 2L. I was in a very similar position to you, slightly below median at OCI and ended up having to take an offer at a mid size firm in my small home market. I got good grades during 2L and brought myself above median, was able to land interviews in August/September at major market big law firms (including V10s) and big firms in tough markets. Ended up with an offer that career services said I was very unlikely to get (though they were optimistic about my chances for generic NYC biglaw). My position is general corporate, but I also interviewed for private equity and structured finance positions. Executive comp and employee benefits groups and structured finance groups seemed to be the the most likely to he hiring. Best of luck, definitely not impossible to trade up to biglaw law from midlaw.

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:01 pm

You’re going to have to mass mail, and you should be open to other markets if you would prefer Big Law in a non-NYC market over returning to your mid-sized firm. Also make sure you do good work at your firm this summer so you get an offer to return - it is much less stressful to go through the 3L mass mailing process knowing that you already have an offer in hand, even if it isn’t with your dream firm or in your dream city.

I had a similar experience - median at a T-14, striking out at OCI, going to a mid-law firm in my small home market, etc. I mass mailed probably 300 firms in at least a dozen different markets, and followed up every 3 weeks or so with the firms who had not rejected me yet. I was approaching 1,000 total emails sent in October when I was contacted about interviews by multiple firms and ended up accepting an offer from a firm that had rejected me at OCI the previous summer.

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trmckenz

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby trmckenz » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:56 pm

Certain grades are necessary for 3L success in biglaw. You have to fit a firm's profile (i.e., be above its GPA cutoff) to even be eligible for an interview. There is a lot of information on TLS about firms' cutoffs for the T14.

Assuming you pass the grade threshold, a partner's request gets you an interview. Having a partner pass along your materials to recruiting is ideal. Being able to copy a partner to your emails with recruiting is similarly helpful.

To get partner connections, you have to network. Start with family, friends, and alums. Also use your connections from 2L OCI... For example, you can follow up with your interviewers saying, roughly, "Hey, I really enjoyed meeting you, and I love your firm / practice. Since we last spoke, my grades have improved to X, placing me in the top Y of my class. Do you anticipate any new associate hires for Fall 2021? If so, I would love to learn more. Thanks!"

Sell a (true) story of improvement.
Last edited by QContinuum on Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

notinbiglaw

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Re: Any advice on how to acquire Big Law 3L?

Postby notinbiglaw » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:22 am

Lean on your mid law experience. Talk about experiences that show you got same training biglaw SAs got.

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