AlvinJames wrote: vanwinkle wrote:
AlvinJames wrote:Also, does being jobless upon graduation at Cornell amount to any serious long-term risk of not being able to find a good BigLaw job? What if I really want the Cornell "name" above all else? Can I leverage a risk of being unemployed for 1 year, or can my career consequences be more severe from not getting an SA / unemployed upon graduation?
If you don't get BigLaw for 2L summer, you should assume that you will never have a chance at BigLaw. 3L and lateral BigLaw hiring is almost exclusively focused on people who already have BigLaw and are trying to move up/around. The only chance that you would have of getting a BigLaw job after striking out as a 2L would be to get a prestigious clerkship. At Cornell that would at least be possible, but far from guaranteed (and if the administration is that hostile to transfers they're not going to help you get a clerkship).
Wow... I never knew it was THAT bad... So basically, the OCI at my current school is my only shot at BigLaw, aside from any of my mass-mailings hitting -- the chances of which from a T2 would be almost a miracle. And while I may
get into BigLaw through a prestigious clerkship (assuming I want to go that way), being at Cornell would only slightly increase my odds of that happening. Did I get that about right?
Unfortunately, yes, it is true that your shot at BigLaw basically comes down to 2L interviewing. Effectively, you're either in or you're out based on how that goes. Big firms are much more likely to take laterals from other big firms than from smaller firms; it's almost as if they treat it as part of the "club." Cracking the BigLaw nut if you strike out in 2L interviews is very difficult if you don't have some real connection. The volume of mass mailing resumes that these firms get from kids who didn't get interviews with them is absurd. There is no way that they really sort through those things. However, firms will look through the resumes they get in a resume drop when they interview at a school (usually where the firm can only interview 20 kids on they day they interview, but it willing to look at resumes from kids at that school who tried but couldn't get an interview with that firm; this is much more likely at schools that use a lottery system for OCI and not the "employer-choice" method or "merit" method of assigning interviews). If you're shut out of OCI at Cornell, I can only assume you'd be shut out of the resume drops as well, but that may be something to look into.
Getting into BigLaw via a prestigious clerkship, while possible, is also a long shot. First, prestigious clerkships typically go to kids who had the qualifications to get a BigLaw job in the first place but elected to either seek out clerkships instead or kids who got offers from BigLaw firms, but are deferring starting at those firms in order to do the clerkship first. Second, competition for prestigious clerkships is as intense as that for BigLaw jobs. Both pools are overflowing with qualified kids and few will be lucky enough to grab the brass ring.
That is why, if BigLaw is your immediate goal out of school, this is really an odds game for you - you need to pick the situation that is going to give you the best odds of getting the job you want, even if that chance is small. At your current school, given that you are top 10%, you at least have potential access to those BigLaw employers, even if not a ton of them are interviewing at your school. You at least may have the opportunity to get interviews, show them that you were good enough for Cornell to accept you but you thought staying at your current school was the smarter move. You'll at least give yourself a shot, and the rest is up to you to wow them. Contrast this with the Cornell situation where you won't get your face in front of those employers, your mailed resumes will go into the huge pile at every firm marked "to be shredded", and you'll scramble for your 2L year and potentially your 3L year to get a firm to notice you somehow from among the sea of other clamoring students out there. This is not to say that you won't end up in that sea at your current school; but at least you'd have the chance before that to interview and try to win those employers over face-to-face. Again, this is all about numbers and percentages - which situation gives you the better odds of getting to where you want to be right out of school, even if it's only a 10% chance (as opposed to 1%)? Rolling the dice on a long-shot is fun in Vegas, but when your future and career and financial solvency are at risk in the real world, it's best to play it safe. At least that's my opinion.
I understand the sex appeal of a Cornell law degree. Having been a 0L, 1L, and a 2L in the past, I understand the allure of a more prestigious school, of carrying your head high when you say where you attend law school, of being able to say you are an Ivy League graduate for the rest of your life. However, when you're making huge loan payments each month to lenders, or struggling to come up with the cash to pay those lenders, or wondering why the universe didn't give you a job due to your ivy degree, the prestige is only going to keep you so warm at night. Once 3L hits (and then graduation) and you realize the size of your debt and the real inability to pay it off if you don't have a well-paying job, you will look at the whole law school experience differently. Being in debt totally sucks, and it is a difficult concept for 0Ls and 1Ls to really grasp because they are often too enchanted with the glitter of USNWR rankings.