Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

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sunynp
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby sunynp » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:17 pm

LAWYER2 wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:LOL at asking practicing attorneys about what to do about a bad grade in 1L.



TLS wisdom is: Bad grade = limited practice prospects.

So one would think the advice of actual practicing attorneys would outweigh advice from law students.


One might think that- but it depends on how recently the actual practicing attorney went through OCI. The market has changed so much that most practicing attorneys don't know what students face or even how much debt students are carrying. It was never good for the bottom of the class anyway, but now it is really difficult/impossible. Look through the employment forum threads and see what you think.

OP - find out for sure where you are in the class. I assume you've already paid next semesters tuition. I'm also assuming that you still want to be a lawyer. It looks like you can do well in school, just figure out what happened and go from there. I wouldn't give up yet if I were you. I would talk to all my professors to go over exams just so you know what you did right and what you did wrong. Then correct the stuff you did wrong, and focus on doing well this semester.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Metaread » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:30 pm

OP, how were your other grades?

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Grizz
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:32 pm

Metaread wrote:OP, how were your other grades?

magicman554 wrote:I got a C in torts. Drop out, or killself? (A-s and B+s in the other classes, and a P for LRW. I go to a T20-25).


magicman554 wrote:Bottom third, probably.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:33 pm

Metaread wrote:OP, how were your other grades?

Not reading is fun.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Metaread » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:04 pm

One C won't kill you, OP. A-'s and B+'s is quite decent, though that depends on how many A-'s you got. Don't drop out, just improve your grades and take on a meaningful legal internship this summer that you can talk about in later interviews. Several 2Ls told me they got a lot more offers in their 2L year after they did nicely on their 2nd semester 1L and 1st semester 2L (they all had sucky or mediocre 1st semesters 1L).

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Green Crayons » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:45 pm

T30 here. I know several students who got a C in one of their first semester classes and their GPA suffered for it. Their first summer job prospects were not great (e.g., there was no summer job) unless if they had family connections. Summer classes helped bump their GPA up, so consider that if it is an option and you stay enrolled. From what I am aware their current job prospects (going into Spring 2L year) range from nothing to securing a 2L summer associate position at a mid-to-small-ish sized firm.


A C in a 1L class at a T25 sucks and will not do you any favors. If you're really a A-/B+ student, so that a second semester will put you around the B+ range in terms of a final 1L GPA, you're going to have a difficult time at getting a job come Fall 2L year. It's not impossible, but you will be working uphill and the odds are not stellar. Unless if you pull out some really amazing A/A+ next semester, you should consider the fact that Biglaw prospects are pretty much gone.


If you went into law school to become a lawyer and do ______, you should think long and hard about your situation. If you went to law school to become a Legal Superstar Because You Are A Snowflake, you should save yourself 15K.

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LAWYER2
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby LAWYER2 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:58 pm

sunynp wrote:
LAWYER2 wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:LOL at asking practicing attorneys about what to do about a bad grade in 1L.



TLS wisdom is: Bad grade = limited practice prospects.

So one would think the advice of actual practicing attorneys would outweigh advice from law students.


One might think that- but it depends on how recently the actual practicing attorney went through OCI. The market has changed so much that most practicing attorneys don't know what students face or even how much debt students are carrying. It was never good for the bottom of the class anyway, but now it is really difficult/impossible. Look through the employment forum threads and see what you think.

OP - find out for sure where you are in the class. I assume you've already paid next semesters tuition. I'm also assuming that you still want to be a lawyer. It looks like you can do well in school, just figure out what happened and go from there. I wouldn't give up yet if I were you. I would talk to all my professors to go over exams just so you know what you did right and what you did wrong. Then correct the stuff you did wrong, and focus on doing well this semester.



Understood.

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ben4847
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby ben4847 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:11 pm

OP: It is most probable that the C is an aberration, since your other 3 grades were so closely clustered. I imagine that if you get a mix of A- and B+ next semester, you will not suffer significantly because of the one bad grade.

I don't mean to exaggerate the job prospects at a T25 generally, I'm just saying I don't think you will be worse off than you expected going into school.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:27 pm

YourCaptain wrote:o ok buddy "just do" PI and gov't right? because there's so much hiring there right?


You should change your screename to "straw king". I never said that PI/government or anyone was "hiring much". And I'm pretty sure that that wasn't the OP's question. His question is whether he is employable, you said that he wasn't--which is garbage. I know people from Tier 4 law schools who are employed at major metro district attorney's offices.

Although all employers are struggling right now, some do not base what hiring decisions they do make entirely or almost entirely on grades (unlike biglaw and DOJ). PI and state government fall into that category. Many of those types of employers don't even ask for transcripts. They hire based off of interview ability, personal connections, experience, demonstrated interest, connections to the community and commitment to PI. Are you an 0L or 1L? Getting a C in one class, or even being bottom 50 percent probably won't disqualify you from even most district attorney's offices in the country (as an example of a PI job). Non biglaw/non DOJ legal jobs just don't work like that.

Frankly, if the OP is interested in non DOJ PI and non big firm work, his C is almost immaterial.

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itsirtou
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby itsirtou » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:00 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:o ok buddy "just do" PI and gov't right? because there's so much hiring there right?


You should change your screename to "straw king". I never said that PI/government or anyone was "hiring much". And I'm pretty sure that that wasn't the OP's question. His question is whether he is employable, you said that he wasn't--which is garbage. I know people from Tier 4 law schools who are employed at major metro district attorney's offices.

Although all employers are struggling right now, some do not base what hiring decisions they do make entirely or almost entirely on grades (unlike biglaw and DOJ). PI and state government fall into that category. Many of those types of employers don't even ask for transcripts. They hire based off of interview ability, personal connections, experience, demonstrated interest, connections to the community and commitment to PI. Are you an 0L or 1L? Getting a C in one class, or even being bottom 50 percent probably won't disqualify you from even most district attorney's offices in the country (as an example of a PI job). Non biglaw/non DOJ legal jobs just don't work like that.

Frankly, if the OP is interested in non DOJ PI and non big firm work, his C is almost immaterial.


i'm a 2L doing public interest

and DAs offices are extremely competitive. these PI jobs that you think don't look at grades are harder than BigLaw, because usually not only do you have to have great grades but also commitment/dedication/demonstrated interest. It's not like PI looks at those things instead of grades. They look at them in addition to your grades. While I'm not saying the OP is pooched, his C is in no way "almost immaterial" for PI work.

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magicman554
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby magicman554 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:43 pm

Thanks for all the input. To answer some questions:

Our school has a B+ curve. So I'm anywhere from bottom 33-50%. If I get all As next semester, I'll be about top third to top 20%.

My debt, now that I remember, is a wild card. I had a stip on my scholly, so if I fall below top third (i.e., don't get basically all As next semester), I lose my scholarship and will have to pay sticker (about 60K/year). If I lose my scholarship, I'm dropping out, no question.

Two questions: First, if I want to go to a different graduate program (drop out of law and do, for example, a master's), how will that affect my government loans? Second, if I'm able to retain my scholly and stay, what would be my most promising job plans?

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:53 pm

itsirtou wrote:i'm a 2L doing public interest

and DAs offices are extremely competitive. these PI jobs that you think don't look at grades are harder than BigLaw, because usually not only do you have to have great grades but also commitment/dedication/demonstrated interest. It's not like PI looks at those things instead of grades. They look at them in addition to your grades. While I'm not saying the OP is pooched, his C is in no way "almost immaterial" for PI work.


I'm not pulling this out of my ass; I know from personal experience. And FYI just because the Manhattan DA's office is obsessed with it doesn't mean that all of them are.

And when did I say that DA's offices weren't competitive? I never said that. But, by and large (again not talking about Manhattan DA--which is becoming similar to biglaw in terms of hiring model) they do not hire in the same way. They are not "Harder" than biglaw or "easier" than biglaw. That is a misnomer conjured up by people who are too entrenched in the TLS top law school mindset. The DA's offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, San Fran, Houston, Dallas, Chicago-- I could go on and on-- do not cut people solely based off of getting a bad grade on a 3 hour law school exam (especially not someone at a top 25). They care A LOT more about experience in mock trial, clinical work, and community service work. They care about how you can handle the stress of working on 40 cases at once and working at odd hours with tough defendants. They are well aware that typing up a crap ton of stuff in 3 hours has little to do with that. They also know that the type of person who thinks getting a C in one law school class at a "lowly" top 25 is exactly the type of person who cannot relate to the sorts of individuals and situations you will be in as an ADA in a tough city.

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itsirtou
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby itsirtou » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:27 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
itsirtou wrote:i'm a 2L doing public interest

and DAs offices are extremely competitive. these PI jobs that you think don't look at grades are harder than BigLaw, because usually not only do you have to have great grades but also commitment/dedication/demonstrated interest. It's not like PI looks at those things instead of grades. They look at them in addition to your grades. While I'm not saying the OP is pooched, his C is in no way "almost immaterial" for PI work.


I'm not pulling this out of my ass; I know from personal experience. And FYI just because the Manhattan DA's office is obsessed with it doesn't mean that all of them are.

And when did I say that DA's offices weren't competitive? I never said that. But, by and large (again not talking about Manhattan DA--which is becoming similar to biglaw in terms of hiring model) they do not hire in the same way. They are not "Harder" than biglaw or "easier" than biglaw. That is a misnomer conjured up by people who are too entrenched in the TLS top law school mindset. The DA's offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, San Fran, Houston, Dallas, Chicago-- I could go on and on-- do not cut people solely based off of getting a bad grade on a 3 hour law school exam (especially not someone at a top 25). They care A LOT more about experience in mock trial, clinical work, and community service work. They care about how you can handle the stress of working on 40 cases at once and working at odd hours with tough defendants. They are well aware that typing up a crap ton of stuff in 3 hours has little to do with that. They also know that the type of person who thinks getting a C in one law school class at a "lowly" top 25 is exactly the type of person who cannot relate to the sorts of individuals and situations you will be in as an ADA in a tough city.


while we're doing the "when did I say" game, when did I say that I was only talking about Manhattan DA or well-known PI gigs? and what kind of personal experience are you talking about here, btw? The the things you just said are why I said that this guy isn't screwed over forever just because he got a C in his class. What I took issue with is the fact that you said grades are basically irrelevant for PI -- and they aren't. And no, I don't just mean for the Bronx Defenders or Manhattan DA. Grades matter. The point is that these places are inundated with people from top 25 law schools (not sure why you put lowly in quotes, as though that was something I said), who have good grades, and who have demonstrated commitment to PI. In that situation -- which is happening in Atlanta, Charlotte, San Fran, Houston, Dallas, and Chicago -- someone with the lower GPA is in a worse position than someone with the same level of demonstrated commitment/experience and a better GPA.

When people say that this kind of PI is harder than biglaw (or at least what I'm talking about when I say stuff like that) is because you not only have to have great grades (like you do for biglaw); you have to have additional factors like demonstrated commitment as well as the grades.
Last edited by itsirtou on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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itsirtou
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby itsirtou » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:27 pm

double post

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BruceWayne
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:51 pm

itsirtou wrote:The point is that these places are inundated with people from top 25 law schools (not sure why you put lowly in quotes, as though that was something I said), who have good grades, and who have demonstrated commitment to PI. In that situation -- which is happening in Atlanta, Charlotte, San Fran, Houston, Dallas, and Chicago -- someone with the lower GPA is in a worse position than someone with the same level of demonstrated commitment/experience and a better GPA.

When people say that this kind of PI is harder than biglaw (or at least what I'm talking about when I say stuff like that) is because you not only have to have great grades (like you do for biglaw); you have to have additional factors like demonstrated commitment as well as the grades.



The reality is that this is rarely the case. TLS tries to paint this picture of there being hordes of high GPA, excellent resume, excellent interview skills, personally connected applicants for every and all jobs. We're only talking about ADA jobs right now but it's a good example because it's something I have experience with and it's a "good" PI job. While there are "superstar" applicants that fit the previous description there are a finite amount and they don't all target the same positions. Frankly, a huge proportion of the people with the stats you described end up biglaw, those that don't and have the option often go DOJ. Then cutting out a SUBSTANTIAL number of people are the soft personality factors. Frankly, the type of people who tend to get top grades at top law schools are exactly the sort of people who don't do well in the type of environment that one will be working in as an ADA in a city like Baltimore, Atlanta, Houston etc (honestly from the people I've met who've worked there this holds true for "sexy" offices like Manhattan as well; Vance is just concerned with prestige so that factors in heavily anyway). The people hiring for these positions know this and they care about it A LOT. I had an interview with the Philly DA and it was obvious how much more important that type of thing is just from the comments I was given. The same sort of thing goes for work as a PD.

Another thing that will matter more than one's grades for these sorts of jobs is they amount of volunteer/clinical work that you do. Offices put a lot of stock in whether someone volunteers to intern at the office (see Cook County). And for cities outside of Philly NYC connections to that area are often FAR more important (Houston and Atlanta come to mind).

These places love receiving applications from people who grew up in the community and want to give back by being an ADA. They are not absurd enough (thank God) to turn down someone who is invested in the community and who has displayed a commitment solely because they didn't type up enough words when asked "how many different issues are raised by Jimmy's car accident with Sally?" Hell having years of mock trial experience on your resume will quickly detract from a C in Torts for your typical DA's office.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby goosey » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:55 am

magicman554 wrote:I got a C in torts. Drop out, or killself? (A-s and B+s in the other classes, and a P for LRW. I go to a T20-25).



i got a B- in torts, which is just a hop and skip away from a C...A-s and B+s in all my other classes and am in the [roughly] top third of my class, so I hardly think you need to drop out. median is a b+ at my school so a B- is significantly below.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby kalvano » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:26 am

I didn't get a C, but I didn't get many A's either, so I was pretty mediany after 1L. Still got a job offer for the summer. You just have to work a little harder.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:03 am

ben4847 wrote:OP: It is most probable that the C is an aberration, since your other 3 grades were so closely clustered. I imagine that if you get a mix of A- and B+ next semester, you will not suffer significantly because of the one bad grade.

I don't mean to exaggerate the job prospects at a T25 generally, I'm just saying I don't think you will be worse off than you expected going into school.

We may see OPs C as an aberration and maybe it is, but employers may not see it that way. A C is a pretty big black mark. If OP can get straight As and pull into the top1/4-1/3 range, he'll have a shot at firm or prestigious PI. But median grades, even if caused by an aberration C, are probably not getting a non-URM non-PI student a job.

OP, I'd give it one more semester. If you lose your scholly, drop out. And why chase another worthless degree? Join the real world if law doesn't work out. Unless you have a concrete path and plan, a master's probably doesn't do much for you.

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Grizz
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Grizz » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:45 pm

If the real world doesn't work out, join the French Foreign Legion.

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Always Credited
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Always Credited » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:45 pm

I posted this in another, similar thread, and find it to be of use to the current discussion on DA/PD offices here. Whether or not its directly relevant to the OP, its likely relevant to at least a few readers so I think the re-post is not inappropriate.

If you want prosecution or PD, this can be done with lower than average grades. Don't confuse this with "those jobs are easy to get" - they aren't - the barriers to entry are simply different and not 100% grades based. I'll tell you from firsthand knowledge (as someone who is going to work at a DA office in a major market) that there are three distinct steps in prosecution/PD hiring:
1.) Experience with the target office specifically, and second to that, experience with DA/PD offices generally. Work for free at a particular office for both summers, and the chances of permanent employment skyrocket. This is true for two reasons: first, your genuine interest in the work has been demonstrated. Second, you likely have more experience than the other possible recruits which cuts down the "orientation" period dramatically.

2.) The interview. Unlike other areas of law where the interviews may be mere formalities to weed out serial killers and weirdos, the interview at DA's offices (especially large offices) will be more of a test than an interview. You'll be asked hypothetical questions of criminal procedure and law, the answers to which may determine whether or not you're given an offer. I watched a 3.8+ applicant bomb an interview and be dropped right then and there for someone who had barely a 3.0, but performed much better on the interview. Why? The 3.0 had taken crim pro I and II, as well as other high level criminal classes, while the other hadn't.

3.) Specific grades in certain classes. This ties partly into 2.), but deserves its own slot. Believe me when I say this: no DA office will care about a C in torts or a B in civ pro, because you'll never need to know or use torts or civ pro again in that line of work. They do, however, care to a much greater degree about your grades in: Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I and II, Trial Advocacy, and any other criminal courses you take. A's and A-'s in these courses can make or break you, and can make up for lackluster grades in other courses...they can even make up for an otherwise sub-par GPA. When I asked one of the bureau chiefs what she would rather see, a 3.9 with non-criminal classes and/or average grades in criminal classes, or a 3.2 with stellar grades in all relevant criminal courses, she told me the decision was easy - the 3.2 all day, every day.

So the moral is this: if you really want DA/PD work, you can do it. Just don't f*** up the criminal classes, pick an office and dedicate yourself to it, and do good work while you're there.


Edit: I'd like to add to this that BruceWayne's comments, as posted above, are in line with my experiences and observations as well.

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magicman554
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby magicman554 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:20 pm

I don't want to do PI work. Maybe Biglaw is out, but what about big companies?

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Grizz
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby Grizz » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:22 pm

magicman554 wrote:I don't want to do PI work. Maybe Biglaw is out, but what about big companies?

Inhouse basically doesn't hire straight out of law school.

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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby BlueDiamond » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:23 pm

magicman554 wrote:I don't want to do PI work. Maybe Biglaw is out, but what about big companies?


you cant go in house right out of law school.. or if you can at the big companies like Fortune 500 you need top grades and probably some sort of connection

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magicman554
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby magicman554 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:39 am

So.....jump off a bridge?

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romothesavior
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Re: Just Got a C in Torts - Now what?

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:15 am

magicman554 wrote:So.....jump off a bridge?

Absent a stellar (straight A) second semester, you are going to be looking at smaller firms and PI/government work. There are some great jobs in these areas, as well as some stinkers. You say you don't want to do PI/government stuff, so you need to ask yourself why you are in law school and what you want to do with the degree. Biglaw is looking pretty bleak right now, and in-house is not a realistic goal for full-time post-graduate employment. You need a better idea of what your goal is moving forward. So what do you want to do?




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