Classes for Grades or Practice?

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ryegye87
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Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:52 am

I'm a 1L who will be scheduling classes for the 2L fall in the near future. I am looking to work at a firm post-graduation. I know firm jobs are overwhelmingly based on first year grades. That being said, I would like to schedule my courses in a way that plans for the situation that I graduate jobless and will have to be sending out resumes (although I'll be doing everything to make sure this doesn't happen). So, what is better for that situation: scheduling “easy” courses to pad my GPA, or scheduling courses in areas I would like to practice in (Antitrust, MA) etc.

Real world experience preferred.

target
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby target » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:29 pm

ryegye87 wrote:I'm a 1L who will be scheduling classes for the 2L fall in the near future. I am looking to work at a potato post-graduation. I know potato [ERROR: 404] are overwhelmingly based on first year grades. That being said, I would like to schedule my courses in a way that plans for the situation that I graduate [ERROR: 404] and will have to be sending out resumes (although I'll be doing everything to make sure this doesn't happen). So, what is better for that situation: scheduling “easy” courses to pad my GPA, or scheduling courses in areas I would like to practice in (Antitrust, MA) etc.

Real world experience preferred.


How do you which class is easier than others? I mean beside classes that are famously filled with gunners, other classes are just somewhat the same, no?

ryegye87
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:48 pm

I mean, there are numerous ways of telling. Some professors are known to be easier than others, some classes are below the curve as opposed to others, etc. Also, some schools inform students of grade distributions for certain courses.

So, for example, if class X with Professor Y is known to be easy but not applicable whatsoever to my future as opposed to class A with Professor B which is known to be one of the hardest courses in the entire school, but applies spot on with what I want to go into, then which would be better to take?

target
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby target » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:59 pm

I see your point, but I don't see why an easy professor would make a big difference. You know that professor is easy, so do your classmates. What would happen then is everyone just end up taking that easy class and gun hard in it and make it a hard class. But back to your question, how much of a grade boost do you need? Do you want a fi-rm jerb after law school? How is 3L OCI at your school like? There's no point of boosting your grades in your 2L but end up not benefit from it.

ryegye87
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:00 am

Yes, I want to work at a firm after lawl school. In terms of 3L OCI, I'm not sure how it is, but I imagine it is the same here as it is at most schools--worthless. I apologize if I did not convey this in the original post, but what it boils down to is this: Assuming I go into 3L without an offer of employment, would it be better 2L year to take notably easy classes in areas which are of little to no interest in what I would like to practice, or notably difficult classes which directly apply to what I want to go into?

As for your point about everybody knowing the easy classes and taking them, I don't necessarily concede that. If that was the case, I wouldn't really be here posting about this would I? Furthermore, in everyone that I have spoken with about class selection, the overwhelming majority of students at my school take classes largely centered on the areas of practice which they are looking to pursue.

I guess I'll say it one more time: If I'm applying to firms during 3L year, and sending my transcript to them, does it look better to have a 3.7 GPA with courses 2L year such as "Law and the Literature" or "Street Litigation", or would it be better to have a 3.3 with courses like "Business Associations, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Administrative Law".

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iShotFirst
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby iShotFirst » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:09 am

I'm a 2L, and from the interviews and offers I've had already, seems like the higher GPA would be better. Very few employers wanted to look at my transcript. Resume is king.

As a sidenote, you said you wanted real world experience. Why are you discounting clinics? My school has a ton and I know not every school does, but clinics are great real world experience + generally easy grades (B+ or A- pretty much guaranteed). This is something that I am focusing on and have had good feedback in interviews and from other professionals about that choice.

ryegye87
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:25 am

I'm a little confused by your post. Given your a 2L, employers wouldn't really need to look at your transcript would they? Depending on when you applied, 2/3 of your classes, and possibly 100% of your grades, are already known.

But either way, that is interesting to know. Are you applying to firms?

I didn't say I wanted real world experience. I meant "Real World Experience" in terms of someone who has gone through this situation, not a 1L who heard from his cousin's cousin that the classes you take matter.

However, to your point, my school has two clinics--neither in an area I'm interested in.

Renzo
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby Renzo » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:30 am

For the most part, it doesn't matter. My advice is to take some "easy" seminars or clinics if can, to help pad the GPA. But, at the same time, make sure your transcript isn't 100% joke "Law & ______" classes; take some doctrinal classes as well. People don't generally care what classes you take, but some will notice if you haven't taken anything but fluff.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:46 am

ryegye87 wrote:
I didn't say I wanted real world experience. I meant "Real World Experience" in terms of someone who has gone through this situation, not a 1L who heard from his cousin's cousin that the classes you take matter.


If you're expecting multiple practicing attorneys to respond to this post, you're being pretty optimistic. If you also expect these practicing attorneys to have followed the path of --> strike out 2L OCI --> firm job gotten through 3LOLCI or mass mailing as a 3L, then you're going to be disappointed. I don't know any regular poster on TLS who fits that profile.

So that said, I'm a 2L. But based on what i've seen and heard, I would say two things are important to 3L's trying to get firm jobs: 1) practical experience (internships/clinics/working part-time) 2) grades, and 3) other extra-circular stuff.

If you strike out at 2L OCI, you need to hustle to try and a find either a firm-job during the semester or an internship (or both). Clinics can be very helpful too--it's unfortunate your school only has two. Practical experience is really more important that anything else, because you at least can sell yourself as a person who can hit the ground running if they hire you. Doing an internship at a small firm during the school year might also lead to a future offer too (but don't put all your eggs in that basket).

ryegye87
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:24 am

Not looking for multiple practicing attorneys. Looking more along the lines for a person who 1) did not get a job out of 2L OCI and 2) Received a decent job following OCI even though their transcript was filled with fluff classes. Or, in contrast, the opposite. Someone who took fluff classes and was asked to explain them in an interview.

I don't think it is too optimistic for someone to say "I took a large amount of fluff classes my 2L and/or 3L year and it posed problems for me during interviews"--or, again, the opposite.

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DrGuano
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby DrGuano » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:48 am

I'm a 2L summering at a v10 in NYC. We need to keep our grades up at this firm anyway (offer contingent upon continued academic achievement...blah blah), but I'm also safely in the top 5% now, so I'd like to keep my grades up.

I think the best plan of action is a mix. Definitely take one class each semester that will benefit your career. It doesn't even need to be exactly what you want to do, but take something that will give you a better understanding of the field you want to pursue. Very few classes in law school teach something that carries over into practice, but that doesn't mean you can't obtain a better understanding of an area of law you're interested in. My school for example offers separate classes in Venture Capital, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Project Finance - all great classes to bolster your understanding of those industry dynamics/deal structures that can pay off for someone doing M&A.

Get your requirements (Corps, Prof Resp) also out of the way second year. Then take easy classes. This semester I got luck and found three classes all very easy also geared towards transactional work. Do your homework when it comes to knowing what classes to take and you should be able to find that you can take both interest and "easy" classes.

Renzo
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby Renzo » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:33 pm

DrGuano wrote:I'm a 2L summering at a v10 in NYC. We need to keep our grades up at this firm anyway (offer contingent upon continued academic achievement...blah blah), but I'm also safely in the top 5% now, so I'd like to keep my grades up.

I think the best plan of action is a mix. Definitely take one class each semester that will benefit your career. It doesn't even need to be exactly what you want to do, but take something that will give you a better understanding of the field you want to pursue. Very few classes in law school teach something that carries over into practice, but that doesn't mean you can't obtain a better understanding of an area of law you're interested in. My school for example offers separate classes in Venture Capital, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Project Finance - all great classes to bolster your understanding of those industry dynamics/deal structures that can pay off for someone doing M&A.

Get your requirements (Corps, Prof Resp) also out of the way second year. Then take easy classes. This semester I got luck and found three classes all very easy also geared towards transactional work. Do your homework when it comes to knowing what classes to take and you should be able to find that you can take both interest and "easy" classes.


Definitely. Get everything you need done as a 2L. I killed myself to do it, and it was the best decision I ever made, because I could not give two fucks about school right now.

ryegye87
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby ryegye87 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:49 pm

Thanks for the responses. Yeah, basically I wasn't sure whether to balance it out, or to hit up a semester of Antitrust, Business Associations, Fed Tax and Administrative Law all at once in order to show firm employers more value. I'll try and space it out a little better though.

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DrGuano
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby DrGuano » Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:21 pm

ryegye87 wrote:Thanks for the responses. Yeah, basically I wasn't sure whether to balance it out, or to hit up a semester of Antitrust, Business Associations, Fed Tax and Administrative Law all at once in order to show firm employers more value. I'll try and space it out a little better though.


You'll certainly impress once your working if you can apply what you've learned in a tax class, but it is doubtful that an employer will see your schedule as offering value. You don't want to give off the impression that your slacking off (taking all BS classes), but on the same token don't expect to gain an edge against other candidates based on what your transcript says your taking that semester.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:09 pm

ryegye87 wrote:Thanks for the responses. Yeah, basically I wasn't sure whether to balance it out, or to hit up a semester of Antitrust, Business Associations, Fed Tax and Administrative Law all at once in order to show firm employers more value. I'll try and space it out a little better though.


That would be an awful semester. Don't kill your GPA trying to look like a badass. People pay much less attention to transcripts than they do to overall GPA.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby iShotFirst » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:11 pm

ryegye87 wrote:I'm a little confused by your post. Given your a 2L, employers wouldn't really need to look at your transcript would they? Depending on when you applied, 2/3 of your classes, and possibly 100% of your grades, are already known.

But either way, that is interesting to know. Are you applying to firms?

I didn't say I wanted real world experience. I meant "Real World Experience" in terms of someone who has gone through this situation, not a 1L who heard from his cousin's cousin that the classes you take matter.

However, to your point, my school has two clinics--neither in an area I'm interested in.


Well when I applied for OCI of course it was just my first year grades. I didnt get anything from that. However since then I have continued to apply to firms and other organizations, got an internship in-house with a corporation for 2L summer.

All I meant is that few places asked for transcripts, and ones that didn't say anything about it, even though my first semester of 2L year was: two seminar classes and two clinics. No substantive classes or exams.

My transcript for applications made this semester also included a list of this semester's classes, with one typical substantive class- federal tax, and then clinics and seminars.

I was never asked about my transcript.

MoltenWings
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Re: Classes for Grades or Practice?

Postby MoltenWings » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:56 pm

DrGuano wrote:I'm a 2L summering at a v10 in NYC. We need to keep our grades up at this firm anyway (offer contingent upon continued academic achievement...blah blah), but I'm also safely in the top 5% now, so I'd like to keep my grades up.

I think the best plan of action is a mix. Definitely take one class each semester that will benefit your career. It doesn't even need to be exactly what you want to do, but take something that will give you a better understanding of the field you want to pursue. Very few classes in law school teach something that carries over into practice, but that doesn't mean you can't obtain a better understanding of an area of law you're interested in. My school for example offers separate classes in Venture Capital, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Project Finance - all great classes to bolster your understanding of those industry dynamics/deal structures that can pay off for someone doing M&A.

Get your requirements (Corps, Prof Resp) also out of the way second year. Then take easy classes. This semester I got luck and found three classes all very easy also geared towards transactional work. Do your homework when it comes to knowing what classes to take and you should be able to find that you can take both interest and "easy" classes.

do you actually know for a fact that your firm cares about your grades? That is, do you know of people whose drop in grades has been a factor in getting a no-offer (or close to no-offer)? After all, I thought the concensus on TLS was that 2L grades don't matter for offers.
I would think that most upper Vault firms (especially V10) would not care about your grades after being accepted into its summer associate program.




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