Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas? **Update**

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gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:34 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
gnuwheels wrote:
bartleby wrote: I don't think my "improved grades" got me anywhere. You'll just have to 1.) give up the big law dream if that was even a dream, 2.) not be picky with what you can get - hopefully paid but if not, it's okay too


So even if I do much better this semester i'm pretty screwed in terms of getting a job? Are employers going to ignore good grades this semester and just focus on the bad ones?


What type of job are you aiming for? Bartleby is right that big law is probably out of the question even with a 4.0 this semester. If that is what you really wanted, then of course you should apply but you realistically need a backup. During 2L and 3L (if you decide not to drop out), you should work various jobs during the school year to make connections and get experience.

It is not that employers look only at the bad grades and not the (hypothetical) good ones; it is that in this market employers are inundated with resumes from people who did well both semesters of 1L, so why should they hire the person who only had one good semester? This is only applicable to grade-conscious employers, though (grade-conscious = big law, federal government, clerkship, prestigious PI).


But, say I fixed whatever my problem is and got hypothetically A-, A-, A, i'd be just above median, which I thought didn't make big law out of the question. I have heard from some that employers are concerned more with the actual GPA than the individual grades, and surely having the better semester second rather than first should help, or am i just being naive?

Or, put succinctly, if i manage to pull myself above median could I have a shot at a job, even with these current grades?

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby somewhatwayward » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:28 pm

gnuwheels wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:
gnuwheels wrote:
bartleby wrote: I don't think my "improved grades" got me anywhere. You'll just have to 1.) give up the big law dream if that was even a dream, 2.) not be picky with what you can get - hopefully paid but if not, it's okay too


So even if I do much better this semester i'm pretty screwed in terms of getting a job? Are employers going to ignore good grades this semester and just focus on the bad ones?


What type of job are you aiming for? Bartleby is right that big law is probably out of the question even with a 4.0 this semester. If that is what you really wanted, then of course you should apply but you realistically need a backup. During 2L and 3L (if you decide not to drop out), you should work various jobs during the school year to make connections and get experience.

It is not that employers look only at the bad grades and not the (hypothetical) good ones; it is that in this market employers are inundated with resumes from people who did well both semesters of 1L, so why should they hire the person who only had one good semester? This is only applicable to grade-conscious employers, though (grade-conscious = big law, federal government, clerkship, prestigious PI).


But, say I fixed whatever my problem is and got hypothetically A-, A-, A, i'd be just above median, which I thought didn't make big law out of the question. I have heard from some that employers are concerned more with the actual GPA than the individual grades, and surely having the better semester second rather than first should help, or am i just being naive?

Or, put succinctly, if i manage to pull myself above median could I have a shot at a job, even with these current grades?


The answer to your first question depends (sort of) on the school. Median at a T14 (especially upper T14) has a good chance at big law. Median at T50...not so much. The caveat, though, is that even for CCN, some firms have absolute no B- policies or, at the very least, they are skeptical of B-s, and you have a B- and a C+. I am not sure how a firm would handle someone who got a 2.7 first semester and a 3.7 the next semester. I have known people making big jumps like 3.1 to 3.7 or 3.3 to 3.8, and they were more or less treated as their overall GPA as you suggest. But at least at T14 a 3.1 is worlds away from a 2.7 because a 2.7 is rock-bottom of the class (this may not be true on your curve if you are not at a T14), and I think you would have some obstacles overcoming it. Is a C+ discretionary at your school? If so, most people won't have them, which can make you stick out. This is not to say that you shouldn't apply to big law if big law is what you want, but you better have a backup.

The good news is the answer to your second question (whether you can get a job). I sort of already said this but once you get outside the grade-conscious jobs, as implied by the name, your grades will matter less. Relevant experience and connections will matter more. That is why working during the school year (in addition to during the summer) is crucial: you get extra experience and connections as compared to the people who only work during the summer. There is a poster named Matthies who has posted a lot about how to get a job through networking. You should look for his posts (not now! now you should be studying like crazy) and follow the advice he has. There is also a book called Guerilla Tactics for Getting a Legal Job (or something like that) which should be helpful to you.

I can't remember if I already recommended going to all your professors and going through your exams in painstaking detail, but do that. You need to figure out what the A person did right and you did wrong on the actual exam-taking. Also, the person who recommended memorizing your outline is on the money. You should barely be referring to it at all.

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby GertrudePerkins » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:21 am

somewhatwayward wrote:The answer to your first question depends (sort of) on the school.
The OP goes to Michigan.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:33 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:The answer to your first question depends (sort of) on the school. Median at a T14 (especially upper T14) has a good chance at big law. Median at T50...not so much. The caveat, though, is that even for CCN, some firms have absolute no B- policies or, at the very least, they are skeptical of B-s, and you have a B- and a C+. I am not sure how a firm would handle someone who got a 2.7 first semester and a 3.7 the next semester. I have known people making big jumps like 3.1 to 3.7 or 3.3 to 3.8, and they were more or less treated as their overall GPA as you suggest. But at least at T14 a 3.1 is worlds away from a 2.7 because a 2.7 is rock-bottom of the class (this may not be true on your curve if you are not at a T14), and I think you would have some obstacles overcoming it. Is a C+ discretionary at your school? If so, most people won't have them, which can make you stick out. This is not to say that you shouldn't apply to big law if big law is what you want, but you better have a backup.


Yea i'm at a T10. Also the grades were not discretionary, and in fact none of them were the lowest letter grades given in the class (not that that helps me much). Getting myself up to a little above median is possible. So, I'm obviously going to do everything I can to do better this semester, and thus the question thus becomes:

Assume I do well this semester - what are my chances of finding a big law job at just above median at a T10 where my first semester was abismal and my second semester was very good?

TheZoid
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby TheZoid » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:47 pm

I suggest you stop trying to figure out your big law chances after a theoretical good semester. Get to work and crush it this semester and then reevaluate.

WhirledWorld
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby WhirledWorld » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:15 pm

If you're missing issues, it will probably help to condense your outline into a very short (~2 page) checklist, and use that as you go through fact patterns. It's also possible that you aren't reading the fact patterns closely enough--the facts are half the points.

As for Biglaw, I wouldn't be optimistic at all about your chances after a first semester like that. Even if you killed it next semester (and that's a big if--if anything, your performance last semester is indicative of how you'll do this semester), you'd still be around median. Luckily you have a scholarship, but if you went to law school for big law or bust, you might want to consider what your plan B is.

Pokemon
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby Pokemon » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:20 pm

WhirledWorld wrote:If you're missing issues, it will probably help to condense your outline into a very short (~2 page) checklist, and use that as you go through fact patterns. It's also possible that you aren't reading the fact patterns closely enough--the facts are half the points.

As for Biglaw, I wouldn't be optimistic at all about your chances after a first semester like that. Even if you killed it next semester (and that's a big if), you'd still be around median. Luckily you have a scholarship, but if you went to law school for big law or bust, you might want to consider what your plan B is.


+1. An outline without a checklist is useless. The checklist will help you understand the analysis, then the outline is the icing on top of the cake where you can put more detail. The checklist should also be printed not a document on your computer.

Also, people talk too much about memorizing things. I think memorization for memorization's sake is a bad way towards approaching exams; do practice tests and read to get a feel for exam and law, then as you read the issue spotter try to notice the issues, look at your checklist for help in this area, that is why you print it.
When you start writing the answer, you can look at your outline as a reminder of particular nuances: for example, in bla bla case, there was also a helicopter, but that case is different from this because the helicopter was bla bla.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:34 pm

TheZoid wrote:I suggest you stop trying to figure out your big law chances after a theoretical good semester. Get to work and crush it this semester and then reevaluate.


Agreed. Thanks for all the help everyone. I'll check in 7 months from now.

TheZoid
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby TheZoid » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:58 pm

Good luck man go get it.

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Lasers
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby Lasers » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:15 am

i have to say is that using the lsat as any type of meaningful predictor for success in law school is totally misguided.

also, my advice: don't just study hard, study smart. prepare for the EXAM from day one. fuck cold calling. fuck class. i read for the exam, not class. i sometimes looked like an idiot when i was cold called because i didn't waste time reading things i knew were irrelevant. get old outlines or make your own. take practice exams. study model answers or go over exam questions with your professor.

also, to the people saying use checklists, who knows if that will work for OP? i had 60+ page outlines on exams and got a's. for other exams, i made short progressions for issue spotters to make sure i wasn't missing anything. checklists or not, lists or not, memorizing things or not, OP has to focus on what works for him/her. regardless of your method, make sure it makes sense to you. being prepared on exam day is all that matters. everything else during 1L is bullshit.

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tfer2222
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby tfer2222 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:37 pm

Lasers wrote:i have to say is that using the lsat as any type of meaningful predictor for success in law school is totally misguided.

also, my advice: don't just study hard, study smart. prepare for the EXAM from day one. fuck cold calling. fuck class. i read for the exam, not class. i sometimes looked like an idiot when i was cold called because i didn't waste time reading things i knew were irrelevant. get old outlines or make your own. take practice exams. study model answers or go over exam questions with your professor.

also, to the people saying use checklists, who knows if that will work for OP? i had 60+ page outlines on exams and got a's. for other exams, i made short progressions for issue spotters to make sure i wasn't missing anything. checklists or not, lists or not, memorizing things or not, OP has to focus on what works for him/her. regardless of your method, make sure it makes sense to you. being prepared on exam day is all that matters. everything else during 1L is bullshit.


+100

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:24 pm

Lasers wrote: for other exams, i made short progressions for issue spotters to make sure i wasn't missing anything.


what do you mean by this?

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stillwater
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby stillwater » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:41 pm

I actually heard Glannon say something that I thought was spot-on for exams: he said the dirty secret of law exams is that they are mostly complex/competent applications of basic doctrine. Supports was Lasers was saying: prepare for the test. You can really get drowned in the bullshit and noise of 1L.

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Lasers
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby Lasers » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:14 am

gnuwheels wrote:
Lasers wrote: for other exams, i made short progressions for issue spotters to make sure i wasn't missing anything.


what do you mean by this?

property example (disregard the formatting that didn't transfer):

1. AMBGUOUS CONVEYANCES / DEEDS (REMEMBER TO APPLY TO ALL OF THEM)
a. CAN THE CONVEYANCE / DEED BE SPLIT? -> IF YES, SPLIT IT WITH ½ A FUTURE INTEREST AND ½ A FEE SIMPLE WITH COVENANT OR POSSIBLY PRECATORY LANGUAGE (ex. “promise”)
b. IF LIFE ESTATE, BREAK IT DOWN INTO FEE SIMPLE WHEN THE LIFE ESTATE HOLDER DIES -> FEE SIMPLE -> DOES RAP APPLY? -> IF IT DOES, STRIKE OFFENDING LANGUAGE
i. IF NEW STATUTE CHANGES RAP -> DETERMINE HOW -> IF LESS COMPLETE INTEREST IN LAND/VALUE (ex. FSA TO FSSEL) -> APPLY TAKINGS TEST

pretty much just "progressions" to go through during an issue spotter.

gnuwheels
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby gnuwheels » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:40 pm

Just thought I should give an update to this. For those of you unfortunate enough to be in my position after 1L, don't give up hope.

I made a conscious effort to fix my exam-taking techniques, ended up with two A's and an A- my second semester. Going to a V100 in NYC next summer.

So, just because you get a few bad grades your first semester doesn't automatically mean "drop out" like some in this thread said. Hope this offers some inspiration.

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hyakku
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas? **Update**

Postby hyakku » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:58 pm

^ MY MAN! Not saying that everyone who fucks up shouldn't consider dropping out, but I'm glad you didn't bitch out man. Congratulations and enjoy the city next summer. Hell YEA!

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby shifty_eyed » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:44 pm

gnuwheels wrote:Just thought I should give an update to this. For those of you unfortunate enough to be in my position after 1L, don't give up hope.

I made a conscious effort to fix my exam-taking techniques, ended up with two A's and an A- my second semester. Going to a V100 in NYC next summer.

So, just because you get a few bad grades your first semester doesn't automatically mean "drop out" like some in this thread said. Hope this offers some inspiration.

Way to go! As a 1L, I'm inspired!

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spaceman82
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby spaceman82 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:34 am

gnuwheels wrote:Just thought I should give an update to this. For those of you unfortunate enough to be in my position after 1L, don't give up hope.

I made a conscious effort to fix my exam-taking techniques, ended up with two A's and an A- my second semester. Going to a V100 in NYC next summer.

So, just because you get a few bad grades your first semester doesn't automatically mean "drop out" like some in this thread said. Hope this offers some inspiration.


That's awesome--congrats. Out of curiosity, what techniques did you find helped you do better on exams?

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Lasers
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Re: Bad semester. Not sure why. Ideas?

Postby Lasers » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:40 am

gnuwheels wrote:Just thought I should give an update to this. For those of you unfortunate enough to be in my position after 1L, don't give up hope.

I made a conscious effort to fix my exam-taking techniques, ended up with two A's and an A- my second semester. Going to a V100 in NYC next summer.

So, just because you get a few bad grades your first semester doesn't automatically mean "drop out" like some in this thread said. Hope this offers some inspiration.

congrats man!

studying and preparing specifically with an exam in mind never fails.




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