2L with Summer SA but awful grades

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
AntiNerd
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:44 am

2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby AntiNerd » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:48 am

Current 2nd semester 2L here. I have concluded that I am a mediocre law student. I seem to be a B/B- student and have accepted that. However, I was lucky enough (t18 student) to get offered a summer SA at a large firm in a secondary market. At this point, the firm has seen my transcript from 1L year (filled with B's and B-'s) and still offered me. However, I was told at the end of the summer SA that they view the transcript again. Will they care that I still have a shit ton of B's and B-'s?

Also, law school sucks.

TIA for the comments.

User avatar
stillwater
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby stillwater » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:51 am

they could use it as a reason to putsch you if they need to eliminate an SA for financial reasons.

AntiNerd
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:44 am

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby AntiNerd » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:53 am

I could see that. However, it is a huge firm and they are expanding so I do not think finances are an issue. The firm also stated they take as many people as they hope to keep on for permanent employment pending solid work results.

BeenDidThat
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:18 am

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby BeenDidThat » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:02 am

Just work hard this year. Try to grab some species of A and not drop any C's or worse. The firm obviously likes you; just maintain a good attitude during the summer, don't leave early, write good memos (you'll have tons of time if you're not lazy about it), and you'll probably sail into a full associateship.

This stuff really isn't rocket science. Firms buy legal thinkers wholesale and slang their time retail. If you're willing to work hard, are fairly normal (socially-speaking), and want to learn how to be a good lawyer, you're good from here.

EKR11
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:33 am

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby EKR11 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:12 am

Regardless of your grades, congrats on the Summer SA. I'm a 1L so unfortunately I have no real knowledge to offer. However, reading this made me feel like there may be some hope for me after all. The school I attend is similarly ranked to yours and my first semester grades are far from impressive (B-, B-, and B+ in my substantive classes. A- in LRW) placing me .31 below the curve. If you do not mind me asking, is there anything in particular you did that you found helpful in snagging your Summer SA despite your grades??

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby delusional » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:12 am

You didn't mention their offer rate, which is arguably the most important question. You're probably not the first person to get hired with those grades, so if they have an offer rate in the 90%+ area, you likely won't be in grave danger.
I question your belief that you're "simply not a good law student". That is not something you should accept, or at least, you should be addressing how you will deal with it if it also turns out that you're simply not a good summer associate, or lawyer.

AntiNerd
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:44 am

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby AntiNerd » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 am

delusional wrote:You didn't mention their offer rate, which is arguably the most important question. You're probably not the first person to get hired with those grades, so if they have an offer rate in the 90%+ area, you likely won't be in grave danger.
I question your belief that you're "simply not a good law student". That is not something you should accept, or at least, you should be addressing how you will deal with it if it also turns out that you're simply not a good summer associate, or lawyer.


Offer rate is around 95% from what I can tell. As for my grades, I killed the LSAT and took a large scholarship at my school. I study my ass off but do not seem to click on all cylinders come finals time. For example, I just got a grade back for a class (MC test) and it was... a B-. I studied my ass off for the class and felt grade after the test.

EKR11 wrote:Regardless of your grades, congrats on the Summer SA. I'm a 1L so unfortunately I have no real knowledge to offer. However, reading this made me feel like there may be some hope for me after all. The school I attend is similarly ranked to yours and my first semester grades are far from impressive (B-, B-, and B+ in my substantive classes. A- in LRW) placing me .31 below the curve. If you do not mind me asking, is there anything in particular you did that you found helpful in snagging your Summer SA despite your grades??


Thanks. My advice is to get involved in extracurricular activities, be normal, and have a nice suit for interviews. I am serious about the suit, walk in and looking confident and speaking with confidence is crucial. I focused all of my interviews on my pros and grades were never really brought up. Take that for what it is worth.

BeenDidThat wrote:Just work hard this year. Try to grab some species of A and not drop any C's or worse. The firm obviously likes you; just maintain a good attitude during the summer, don't leave early, write good memos (you'll have tons of time if you're not lazy about it), and you'll probably sail into a full associateship.

This stuff really isn't rocket science. Firms buy legal thinkers wholesale and slang their time retail. If you're willing to work hard, are fairly normal (socially-speaking), and want to learn how to be a good lawyer, you're good from here.


Great Post. I do have a few A grades here and there but nothing too great. As for the firm, I am going in with a "first one in, last one out" mindset.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby delusional » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:37 pm

AntiNerd wrote:
delusional wrote:You didn't mention their offer rate, which is arguably the most important question. You're probably not the first person to get hired with those grades, so if they have an offer rate in the 90%+ area, you likely won't be in grave danger.
I question your belief that you're "simply not a good law student". That is not something you should accept, or at least, you should be addressing how you will deal with it if it also turns out that you're simply not a good summer associate, or lawyer.


Offer rate is around 95% from what I can tell. As for my grades, I killed the LSAT and took a large scholarship at my school. I study my ass off but do not seem to click on all cylinders come finals time. For example, I just got a grade back for a class (MC test) and it was... a B-. I studied my ass off for the class and felt grade after the test.


First of all, if it makes you feel any better, the consensus of people with whom I discussed it is that MC tests are the opposite of useful in law school. I also killed the LSAT and I think that that's why MC tests are so impossible. After you master the incredible precision of the LSAT questions, none of the answers on an exam the professor slapped together in a couple hourse are any better/worse than the others. Furthermore, the whole point of studying law is to address hypotheticals from different perspectives - but MC questions claim there is only one right answer.

On the other hand, essay exams are learnable. First semester 1L, I had all the tips, but didn't know how to apply them. After the first set of exams, I went over the lower grades with professors, and there was actually a lot of improvable stuff on it. Methodologically, you can get better at outlining, and then recalling and arranging the information on the exam for better results, and substantively, you can go over "A" answers or practice with classmates which reveals the parts of the law that you aren't as aware of. Don't be misled by the small proportion of law school exams that is luck.

My obsession with grades has ended, I think (although come back to me after I find out I got straight Ps/LPs this fall). But more importantly, I found it was worthwhile practice simply to improve on something.

Metaread
Posts: 234
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:57 pm

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby Metaread » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:57 pm

delusional wrote:On the other hand, essay exams are learnable. First semester 1L, I had all the tips, but didn't know how to apply them. After the first set of exams, I went over the lower grades with professors, and there was actually a lot of improvable stuff on it. Methodologically, you can get better at outlining, and then recalling and arranging the information on the exam for better results, and substantively, you can go over "A" answers or practice with classmates which reveals the parts of the law that you aren't as aware of. Don't be misled by the small proportion of law school exams that is luck.


You mentioned there are essay exam tips? Beyond the resources stickied in these forums, what others would you recommend? I've been having trouble getting past initial interviews. I interview well, though not as well as I could. But I think maybe I'm having trouble because my grades are just mediocre (median). More often than not, I don't even get interviews, though all my past summer experiences and field work came out of interviews where I did well.

And OP, what kind of secondary market are you in? I'm not asking for the geographic area so much as the conditions. Outside the firm, is the town/city decent, even if it's not NY or LA?

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: 2L with Summer SA but awful grades

Postby delusional » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:38 pm

Metaread wrote:
delusional wrote:On the other hand, essay exams are learnable. First semester 1L, I had all the tips, but didn't know how to apply them. After the first set of exams, I went over the lower grades with professors, and there was actually a lot of improvable stuff on it. Methodologically, you can get better at outlining, and then recalling and arranging the information on the exam for better results, and substantively, you can go over "A" answers or practice with classmates which reveals the parts of the law that you aren't as aware of. Don't be misled by the small proportion of law school exams that is luck.


You mentioned there are essay exam tips? Beyond the resources stickied in these forums, what others would you recommend? I've been having trouble getting past initial interviews. I interview well, though not as well as I could. But I think maybe I'm having trouble because my grades are just mediocre (median). More often than not, I don't even get interviews, though all my past summer experiences and field work came out of interviews where I did well.

Some tips that worked for me were:
- Using the syllabus as an issue checklist. This is something that a professor suggested in reviewing a 1L fall exam.
- Follow the law to the bitter end, invoking all the tests along the way. Don't say "In this case, jurisdiction seems fair and substantially just because the defendant had a store nearby." Start as early as possible and follow every step that could be relevant. Is there general jurisdiction? What is required and how do the facts relate to the rule? Is there specific jurisdiction? What is the legal test and how do the facts apply? First, are there minimum contacts, second does the claim arise from the contact, etc. One professor described it as a hierarchical menu (and that is a useful way to structure an outline); click on general jurisdiction, and "continuous and systematic" drops down. Click on specific jurisdiction and "minimum contacts" drops down. Click on minimum contacts and the factors for fair play and substantial justice drop down. But don't stop clicking until you've gotten to the bottom of the menu.
Another professor described it as a zoom lens - you keep zooming in closer and closer, applying more and more detailed tests.
- Practice tests help hone the above skill. Another important thing you realize from practice exams is that all exams are essentially the same in terms of issues that they'll address and organization. If you're taking Civil Procedure, there's going to be PJ, SMJ, Venue, etc. and you will have to figure out whether you're going to structure it by party, by issue, by claim, etc. know it in advance. If you're taking Criminal Procedure, there's going to be a series of police actions that are of dubious legality. You're going to have to address whether x is reasonable and if not when it became unreasonable. You're gong to have to address whether something was in Plain View or not. Whether the professor fills in the mad libs with "Acting on a tip from an anonymous informant, police peeked through the window and discerned the silhouette of someone possibly disposing of drugs" or "After seeing the perpetrator's face clearly on the surveillance video, police listened through a vent outside his home and heard the echoes of someone possibly destroying evidence of a bank robbery" the analysis is the same (though not the result). Determine in advance when you will break it up by party and when by action and when by violation.
- Someone posted the following on TLS, and it's been on a sticky note on my desktop ever since:
Sure, apply law to the facts. Know your stuff. But there are three factors that will really make or break you:

1. Understand what your professor is looking for. Old exams are important, but even more helpful is getting your hands on model answers that earned an A or an H on the exam.

2. Quantity over quality. I'm not kidding. This doesn't mean you should write garbage or that you can afford to make multiple typos or grammatical mistakes either. But in my experience, professors will reward you for writing more, not less. Since grading is typically performed on a rubric, you will be better served by hitting every conceivable issue you spot. Being a fast typist is also obviously an asset here. I don't think I've ever had a 3-hour exam where I churned out fewer than 4000 words (assuming no word limit). Of exams in that vein, only once have I earned a P. Everything else was an H. All-day take-home exams or exams with word limits, on the other hand, have been my Achille's heel.

3. Organization counts for a lot. Each paragraph should address a single idea. Make sure the order in which you assess issues makes sense. Emphasize dispositive issues over secondary ones. Use headings and other markers to break up the answer into digestible portions.

Other things that have worked for me are studying in groups so that if I'm weak in an area, I find it out when everyone else is focusing on it. Also, doing old exams and checking them against available answers.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests