The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

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nukid2010
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The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby nukid2010 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:29 am

I saw this issue discussed while I was trying to decide whether to attend NU or somewhere else. The issue concerns the new accelerated JD program and its affect on the class of 2011's Fall OCI.

At the time, I remember people supporting the program saying that 1) the AJD students would be current professionals and would likely not be looking for the same jobs as the regular 3 year students and 2) the 27 [sorry not 37] AJD students wouldn't really affect the callback spots available. There were other ideas thrown around that I've forgotten and hope may come up in this discussion if it gets off the ground.

Now, with the recent meltdown at OCI which ended up with a noteworthy amount of students not getting a single callback, I can't help but wonder what the effects of the new AJD program were on NU's OCI.

First, I have only heard from other people about this, but apparently the AJD's have been getting numerous callbacks. So there apparently isn't any stigma around them for having only spent one summer as a law student versus a whole year as a law student.

Second, and what I believe is most unfair to NU's 3 year JD population, the AJD's classes are below the 40 seat requirement for the mandatory curve. This means that all of the AJD's first year classes are uncurved. There is some word around the school that a certain prestigious civil procedure prof stated that nobody in the class would make below a B+. If we consider the median GPA at NU as 3.33, this means that all of the AJDs will come out with GPAs at least above the regular JD's median (assuming their professors don't elect to institute a curve).

Third, the incoming JDs apparently had lots of soft factors (mainly work experience) on top of stellar LSAT scores/GPAs that many regular JD's did not. Especially the 3 year JDs coming directly out of undergrad. As many of us have seen this past OCI, employers are eating substantial past work experience up.

Finally, with all this in mind, I'm wondering what all of you think. I'm especially hoping to hear discussion from past, present, and future NU students. Myself, the AJD situation has not affected me as I am in a competitive position GPA wise. However, as I see my fellow regular JDs, ones above median but not quite high enough, struggle to get just one or two callbacks, I can't help but feel some spite towards NU for making their situation 27 [sorry not 37] AJD interviewers worse.

For an idea of what NU regulars were up against in OCI, see http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile/AJDprofile.html.

Edits:
changed number of AJDs to actual number of 27, not 37. Thanks rayiner!
Last edited by nukid2010 on Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pearalegal
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Pearalegal » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:38 am

I understand why it sucks but....essentially you're upset because these people have better work credentials than a lot of other NU students?

Can you really blame a firm for wanting someone who has really strong work experience? They know that person has a lower chance of flaking.

illuminated
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby illuminated » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:14 am

Second, and what I believe is most unfair to NU's 3 year JD population, the AJD's classes are below the 40 seat requirement for the mandatory curve. This means that all of the AJD's first year classes are uncurved. There is some word around the school that a certain prestigious civil procedure prof stated that nobody in the class would make below a B+. If we consider the median GPA at NU as 3.33, this means that all of the AJDs will come out with GPAs at least above the regular JD's median (assuming their professors don't elect to institute a curve).



This is the problem. Employers have no idea the AJDs aren't curved, so their GPAs look incredible.

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:47 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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rayiner
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby rayiner » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:11 pm

I do find it amusing that when NU instituted this program, everyone on ATL, etc, griped that the AJDs would be second-class citizens nobody would want.

The way I see it, there are two potentially legitimate grips here:

1) Employers see AJDs as some sort of elite group within the school. Actually, they are to an extent --- the AJD class has U of Chicago numbers. Now, while all schools will have their internal distribution (people who got in with $$$, people who squeaked in), now part of that distribution is made explicit.

2) If AJD classes are indeed uncurved, that would be unfair to the other NU students. On the other hand, if AJDs were curved against each other, that would be unfair to the AJDs...

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:23 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby rayiner » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:24 pm

FYI, the AJD class is 27 people, not 37: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissi ... ofile.html

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animalcrkrs
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby animalcrkrs » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:38 pm

Sorry, not to belabor a relatively small point, but there are only 27 of them, not 37 right? Am I off here?
While I think their collective experience and slightly higher #s may give them a reasonable leg up on many of the 3 year JDs, the no curve thing is a little ridiculous. I take the point why this would be good for the school to have the first class showing high out of the gate...but it does seem pretty unfair to the other 200+ people facing 1L curves and in the same job pool.

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:41 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Merrill
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Merrill » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:41 pm

TTT-LS wrote:Another point I failed to raise in my earlier post that seems relevant: The AJDs are competing for at least a few jobs that (most?) regular JDs likely would not be hired for (this is to some degree Rayiner's first point), some AJDs are self-selecting into more business-oriented jobs that (virtually all?) regular JDs do not target, and some AJDs are not out in the job market at all, since they plan on returning to their previous employer. In other words, there is not a 1:1 degree of competition between JDs and AJDs. Thus, while the added presence of the AJDs may negatively affect a few regular JDs, the number of JDs so affected is likely much smaller than 37.


From my experience at OCI, most AJDs were competing for the same legal jobs I was. Current estimation is that the 2Ls each likely lost at least one interview slot because of the AJDs added to the pool. One interview slot is a big deal in this economy.

I think the original idea was to accept people who had more business-oriented goals or who would be returning to their former employers. Maybe enough people like that didn't apply, because most of the AJDs are just law students looking for firm jobs when they're done with school.

I will confirm that their 1L classes aren't curved. I really resent having my grades from curved 1L classes being compared to their inflated GPAs.

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rayiner
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby rayiner » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:49 pm

The curving issue is a bit complicated. Yeah, it's unfair to not curve them at all. On the other hand, it's a bit unfair to curve them against each other. From the perspective of the AJDs, would you really want to be curved against a specific subset of the class that was substantially more qualified than the whole?

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animalcrkrs
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby animalcrkrs » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:51 pm

TTT-LS wrote:At any rate, the 1Ls and 2Ls should absolutely raise hell about the curve issue now, such that it gets fixed for next summer, when many current 2Ls will be trying to do 3L OCI (if the economy rebounds) and the 1L class is in 2L OCI.


How would this actually be accomplished? SBA raising issue/ individual petition etc? I can see why it isn't curved becuase of the class size but I think there should be an exception to the class size-curve put them on the level with the rest of those they are competing for jobs with (however, if I were an AJD I'd be pretty psyched about it lol)

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:58 pm

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:59 pm

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rayiner
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby rayiner » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:02 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
rayiner wrote:The curving issue is a bit complicated. Yeah, it's unfair to not curve them at all. On the other hand, it's a bit unfair to curve them against each other. From the perspective of the AJDs, would you really want to be curved against a specific subset of the class that was substantially more qualified than the whole?

Well, the counter is that this happens in upper level classes all the time. Fed Jur, Admin Law, Civ Pro II, and other classes like that are self-selecting in such a way that I gurantee the median GPA in the class is far, far higher than that for the whole student body. And yet those classes are all curved.


Fair enough, but 1L GPA is by far the most important for those not doing clerkships, etc, which is the majority of the class.

iamlife1001
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby iamlife1001 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:23 pm

rayiner wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:
rayiner wrote:The curving issue is a bit complicated. Yeah, it's unfair to not curve them at all. On the other hand, it's a bit unfair to curve them against each other. From the perspective of the AJDs, would you really want to be curved against a specific subset of the class that was substantially more qualified than the whole?

Well, the counter is that this happens in upper level classes all the time. Fed Jur, Admin Law, Civ Pro II, and other classes like that are self-selecting in such a way that I gurantee the median GPA in the class is far, far higher than that for the whole student body. And yet those classes are all curved.


Fair enough, but 1L GPA is by far the most important for those not doing clerkships, etc, which is the majority of the class.


sorry to butt in on what seems to be an intra-nu issue, but
rayiner- you have no basis for suggesting that the AJD class has better credentials and that it would be unfair to AJDs to be graded on a curve.
The profile numbers are higher than NUs regular 3yr/jd but
a. that doesn't have to mean that there should be NO curve, you can have a less strict curve, maybe with a median slightly higher, say 3.3 instead of the 3.2 to reflect the "better" credentials.

b. as far as the basis for your inference that the class is more "qualified" the LSAT range can be set by a ridiculous small number of people, with the rest being GMAT that no comparison to the regular JDs can be made. As a whole the ajd class may be less traditionally (lsat+gpa) qualified that the regular 3-yr class.

IMO as an outsider, it is completely bullshit for them not to be on a curve.

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chadwick218
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:29 pm

rayiner wrote:The curving issue is a bit complicated. Yeah, it's unfair to not curve them at all. On the other hand, it's a bit unfair to curve them against each other. From the perspective of the AJDs, would you really want to be curved against a specific subset of the class that was substantially more qualified than the whole?


I tend to agree with rayiner's point here ... however, it's my understanding that OCI for the 2-year AJD program has not been as promising as some might have hoped.

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Merrill
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Merrill » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:47 pm

TTT-LS wrote:Interesting points, Merrill. Re: the # of interview slots, I think the problem there is still mostly the economy, and not the AJDs. Last fall, for instance, taking 1 slot away from everyone wouldn't have been a big deal at all. Two years ago, people wouldn't have even noticed. Point being, absend the crunch from the economy, I don't think the AJD impact on that front would be all that substantial. And if the point is the effect of the AJDs, aside from the economy, then you need to look at it that way.

As far as the type of jobs most AJDs are looking for, that comes as a surprise to me. Certainly the program was intended to attract the business-oriented type people I was talking about. But if most don't fit that category, then I agree the conflict between JDs and AJDs is worse than I claimed above.

What are 2Ls doing to raise the GPA issue?


Well, it's not just the economy. Regardless of the economy, the AJDs would have taken the same proportion of interview slots. This year we had 13 interviews instead of 14; last year you would have had 18 instead of 20.

I know there have been numerous talks between the administration and student leaders, but I'm not sure what's come of them. The 2Ls are generally pretty angry--granted, the scarcity of jobs ITE makes it worse, but in any year I think the grade inflation in their classes would have been a pretty serious issue.

What makes it even worse, imo, is the fact that one summer of law school, no matter how intensive, hasn't really given them much knowledge of the law. One of my classes has a ton of AJDs in it, and the professor keeps having to stop and explain basic legal concepts. It's pretty frustrating. Of course, the class is curved, and I think the relative legal knowledge of AJDs and regular students will probably be reflected in the grading. Taking curved classes with the regular students will hopefully lessen the advantage the AJDs are getting from grade inflation in 3L OCI.

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TTT-LS
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby TTT-LS » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:59 pm

Edit: point became moot.
Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Merrill
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Merrill » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:00 pm

I'd also like to dispel the myth that the AJDs' numbers are so much better than the traditional students'. The median LSAT is the same for both groups (170), and the traditional students' median undergrad GPA is higher (3.7 versus 3.61). Also, 83% of my class has more than 2 years of work experience, and many of us have more than that. So pointing to the "exceptional" nature of AJD students as a rationale for their different treatment is just wrong.

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile/

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animalcrkrs
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby animalcrkrs » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:30 pm

Some of the work experience of the AJDs is INSANE (Vice President, Deutsche Bank; Manager of International Finance & Distribution, Weinstein Company; Manager, Ernst & Young etc.) if we just go by the list on the site...not to say some of the JDs don't have great experiences too, however.

I'll throw out something a little different, which is that while the AJDs may be 'taking' some of the JD interview spots, it may also be for SOME of them that their experiences may make them less desirable because they may be seen as not the right fit for a beginning associateship...in my previous job as a consultant we routinely turned down masters/doctoral candidates applying for associate positions becuase they didn't fit with the level (right out of college usually) that we wanted for that job (even though some of them may have taken it and been good at it) and due to lack of experience in the relevant field couldn't come it at a higher pay-grade or position. Just a thought.

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Merrill
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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Merrill » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:44 pm

animalcrkrs wrote:Some of the work experience of the AJDs is INSANE (Vice President, Deutsche Bank; Manager of International Finance & Distribution, Weinstein Company; Manager, Ernst & Young etc.) if we just go by the list on the site...not to say some of the JDs don't have great experiences too, however.

I'll throw out something a little different, which is that while the AJDs may be 'taking' some of the JD interview spots, it may also be for SOME of them that their experiences may make them less desirable because they may be seen as not the right fit for a beginning associateship...in my previous job as a consultant we routinely turned down masters/doctoral candidates applying for associate positions becuase they didn't fit with the level (right out of college usually) that we wanted for that job (even though some of them may have taken it and been good at it) and due to lack of experience in the relevant field couldn't come it at a higher pay-grade or position. Just a thought.


Regardless of whether they get hired, they still took that initial interview, which means one of us didn't even have a chance.

This might not have mattered in the old days when people with strong resumes could apply to firms outside of OCI and get interviews anyway. But this year many firms aren't looking outside of OCI at all, so an OCI interview lost is likely a completely lost opportunity.


(As a side note, I want to emphasize that none of this is the AJDs' fault--my classmates and I have an issue with the administration, not with the AJDs themselves.)

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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby bahama » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:44 pm

iamlife1001 wrote:IMO as an outsider, it is completely bullshit for them not to be on a curve.


The problem is a group of 27 it is really too small statistically to apply a curve to. This is why so many small upper level classes are also uncurved.

Plus, don't the AJDs also have less grades so far than the traditional 2Ls? This would make their grades less statistically significant.

It is not like the info that the AJDs are not on a curve with the rest of NU is not out there. I am sure the employers that care are aware of it and factor it in.

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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby joshuach » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:01 pm

illuminated wrote:
Second, and what I believe is most unfair to NU's 3 year JD population, the AJD's classes are below the 40 seat requirement for the mandatory curve. This means that all of the AJD's first year classes are uncurved. There is some word around the school that a certain prestigious civil procedure prof stated that nobody in the class would make below a B+. If we consider the median GPA at NU as 3.33, this means that all of the AJDs will come out with GPAs at least above the regular JD's median (assuming their professors don't elect to institute a curve).


This is the problem. Employers have no idea the AJDs aren't curved, so their GPAs look incredible.


Grades
Actually, that professor isn't known to inflate grades. What ended up happening was that he was freed from following the mandatory curving guidelines set by the registrar and gave grades out according to his own judgment. In fact, a grade that netted an A+ in the previous semester only got a B+ in the AJD class. Also of note is that this particular professor thought the AJD class as a whole was the best class he's taught in his entire teaching career at NU.

Here are some things to consider:
    * Individual AJDs received more attention from professors/TAs given the smaller class size
    * Over the summer, the AJDs were immersed in the material, covered a lot more per class, and took more classes per week
    * Everyone in the class gave up a strong career (many as managers) in order to go to law school; which means the students are (1) highly motivated and (2) aren't daunted by the Socratic method of teaching/learning
    * The AJDs are a pretty cohesive group and everyone is willing to help each other out if needed in regards to tutoring or notes
    * Some AJDs had significant background knowledge and experience in particular fields that boosted their understanding of some of the first-year material (property/finance)

General Preparedness
Somebody seemed to claim that the AJDs were underperforming in a certain mixed class or that they would be expected to underperform once mixed with the regular population (something about asking basic questions ...). I'm a bit baffled by where this idea comes from since the only mixed classes with substantial AJDs are legal ethics and business associations ... both classes which so far haven't required very much knowledge of substantive law. The only other classes with AJDs are legislation and tax ... in both of these classes, you have some of the top AJD performers so be advised not to underestimate them.

OCI
OCI results were very favorable for the top performers in the AJD section. Those with advanced degrees and work experience in finance or technology also found favor with specialty firms. Middle of the pack did not do so well. Some members of the class did not participate in OCI.

OCI's been difficult for everyone this year and it's easy to place too much importance on minor perceived or real inequities. The question of whether the AJD class negatively impacted the OCI experience of the regular 2Ls seems like a moot discussion since obviously every callback they get is one that is out of a regular 2L's hands. However, it is deceptive to imply that their OCI gains were undeserved and to this notion I have two things to say:

(1) You are in effect comparing apples to oranges. The advantage (or disadvantage in the case of the class mentioned above) of not having a curve in some of the 1L classes is offset by the fact that the AJDs take more classes overall per semester and had a shorter amount of time to absorb the material over the summer. Also important to note is that the AJDs had much less time to prepare for OCI (bidding, research, networking).

(2) I say this with respect - tough cookies. You're a budding professional entering into a highly competitive and often contentious field of practice so better get used to the inequities life will throw at you. If the AJDs took a callback from a regular 2L, then it's probably the case that the AJD has a better chance of wrangling that summer position from a candidate from a competing school due to a combination of industry-relevant work experience and professional soft skills. You should support your fellow NU classmates.

Integration
You'll find that most of the AJDs are friendly and non-competitive and most will readily grab a beer with you. So much of professional life depends on the network that you form in school and at work. Let's not create a chasm between the traditional JDs and the AJDs.

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Re: The New Northwestern AJD Program's Effect on OCI

Postby Oblomov » Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:06 pm

Merrill wrote:3L OCI.

Hahahahahahahahaha.




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