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.