Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

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jamman
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Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:45 pm

So I bombed one of my 1L semesters (personal stuff), and pretty much no one would talk to me at OCI. My gpa was pretty shitty which pretty much ruled me out of a lot of jobs. But I did a lot of things that got me back on track and landed a job at a large federal agency that deals directly with the type of law i wanted to get into. I'm in my first year of practice and pretty happy with how things played out.

Not here to brag, just want to give some hope to anyone who wants it and who might be in a similar situation that I was in when I was in law school.

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AlanShore
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby AlanShore » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:47 pm

jamman wrote:So I bombed one of my 1L semesters (personal stuff), and pretty much no one would talk to me at OCI. My gpa was pretty shitty which pretty much ruled me out of a lot of jobs. But I did a lot of things that got me back on track and landed a job at a large federal agency that deals directly with the type of law i wanted to get into. I'm in my first year of practice and pretty happy with how things played out.

Not here to brag, just want to give some hope to anyone who wants it and who might be in a similar situation that I was in when I was in law school.

What things did you do to get back on track and land that job? (besides better grades I'm assuming or maybe not?)

J90
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby J90 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:49 pm

jamman wrote:So I bombed one of my 1L semesters (personal stuff), and pretty much no one would talk to me at OCI. My gpa was pretty shitty which pretty much ruled me out of a lot of jobs. But I did a lot of things that got me back on track and landed a job at a large federal agency that deals directly with the type of law i wanted to get into. I'm in my first year of practice and pretty happy with how things played out.

Not here to brag, just want to give some hope to anyone who wants it and who might be in a similar situation that I was in when I was in law school.


What general sector of work is the federal agency in, if you're not willing to mention the agency itself?

And like the other poster said, what exactly did you do to get back on track?

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Danger Zone
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:07 pm

What year did you graduate?

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stillwater
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby stillwater » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:39 pm

what tier/what law school did you go to?

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:33 pm

AlanShore wrote:
jamman wrote:So I bombed one of my 1L semesters (personal stuff), and pretty much no one would talk to me at OCI. My gpa was pretty shitty which pretty much ruled me out of a lot of jobs. But I did a lot of things that got me back on track and landed a job at a large federal agency that deals directly with the type of law i wanted to get into. I'm in my first year of practice and pretty happy with how things played out.

Not here to brag, just want to give some hope to anyone who wants it and who might be in a similar situation that I was in when I was in law school.

What things did you do to get back on track and land that job? (besides better grades I'm assuming or maybe not?)


I did improve my grades. My gpa was by no means stellar when I left law school, but it was certainly respectable. This was the result of some strategy. I deliberately avoided the hardest classes my school offered despite being interested in many of them because I didn't want to risk the possibility of not doing well enough to keep my gpa ticking upwards semester to semester. I didn't take Disney classes either. I stuck with moderately hard classes (admin law, law & econ, etc etc) and studied my ass off for them, and eventually pulled my gpa up.

I think there were 2 other things that helped me overcome my gpa, which was networking and internships, which kind of went hand in hand. Starting with networking, as a 2L I used to google firms, non-profits, companies, and agencies that dealt specifically with my practice area and combed through their websites looking for someone who was an alum of my undergrad or law school. When I found one, I would cold email them, telling them that I'm interested in the work they did and asked if they'd be willing to get coffee sometime. When I got the chance to get coffee with them, I would just ask them about their work and what I could do to get myself in the door of the industry. Note, I never asked them to forward my resume or if they could get me a job. However, if the convo went well enough, they almost always at least offered to forward my resume along. This led to me meeting other people in my practice area, to the point where I had sat down for coffee or had phone conversations with every major player in the industry in my region.

Eventually, one of those connections led me to getting my first internship, which was in my current practice area. It wasn't a prestigious job and didnt pay much, but whatever. I kept thinking of it as a stepping stone to the next big thing. I think the biggest factor in me getting my current job though was that I took on too much during law school. To explain, during law school, I had 3 internships and also worked for my school...all at the same time, on top of 13 credits. I was pretty miserable but I figured I would rather be miserable knowing that I had done everything i possibly could, rather than miserable because I didn't do everything I could have. I used my three internships to completely stack my resume, which ultimately, in my opinion, got me my job in DC.

Basically, I just hustled as hard as I could and kept the end result in the mind. Also, I kind of thought of getting into my agency as a sort of competition to use as motivation. Because I'm uber-competitive, I couldn't stand the thought of not getting in.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:35 pm

J90 wrote:
jamman wrote:So I bombed one of my 1L semesters (personal stuff), and pretty much no one would talk to me at OCI. My gpa was pretty shitty which pretty much ruled me out of a lot of jobs. But I did a lot of things that got me back on track and landed a job at a large federal agency that deals directly with the type of law i wanted to get into. I'm in my first year of practice and pretty happy with how things played out.

Not here to brag, just want to give some hope to anyone who wants it and who might be in a similar situation that I was in when I was in law school.


What general sector of work is the federal agency in, if you're not willing to mention the agency itself?

And like the other poster said, what exactly did you do to get back on track?



Cant give away too much, but my agency is the main regulator of an industry and is pretty reputable. Most lawyers that leave it end up in biglaw.

See my previous post for an answer to your second question.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:36 pm

Danger Zone wrote:What year did you graduate?


Recently.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:36 pm

stillwater wrote:what tier/what law school did you go to?


T25 in the northeast.

adonai
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby adonai » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:43 pm

How receptive were those that you cold-emailed for coffee? It just seems to me most wouldn't want to be bothered because they're so busy with work, but obviously it worked for you. Btw, congrats, your hustle is to be admired.

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kapital98
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby kapital98 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:56 pm

adonai wrote:How receptive were those that you cold-emailed for coffee? It just seems to me most wouldn't want to be bothered because they're so busy with work, but obviously it worked for you. Btw, congrats, your hustle is to be admired.

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Gamecubesupreme
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:51 pm

jamman wrote:
stillwater wrote:what tier/what law school did you go to?


T25 in the northeast.


Well, that could be a major factor.

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stillwater
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby stillwater » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:56 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:
jamman wrote:
stillwater wrote:what tier/what law school did you go to?


T25 in the northeast.


Well, that could be a major factor.


chu mean?

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:38 pm

adonai wrote:How receptive were those that you cold-emailed for coffee? It just seems to me most wouldn't want to be bothered because they're so busy with work, but obviously it worked for you. Btw, congrats, your hustle is to be admired.


Thanks. Just want to offer some rays of light to people who think that striking out at OCI is the end of their biglaw hopes and dreams.

As for your question, a lot of my emails went unanswered for sure. But I didn't really care if they went unanswered because I had nothing to lose by sending them in the first place. You'd be surprised by how open and willing some attorneys are to wanting to speak. If you're truly and genuinely interested in what they do, a lot of them will make time to talk to you. Most lawyers like to hear good things about themselves, so one thing that I often did was research who some of the best attorneys in the practice area were in my state and then shoot them an email saying something to the effect of "Dear Lawyer, I am currently a student at [law school] and am hoping to get into [practice area] but would like to learn more about it. I know that you have a great reputation in this area of law and I was wondering if you'd be willing to meet with me or talk on the phone, as I am hoping to get into the type of work that you do." This was surprisingly effective, I think because many attorneys are willing to help fledgling law students and because I subtly stroked that lawyer's ego in the first two sentences of my email.

When I eventually got the chance to meet with someone, I'd always email them afterwards thanking them and asking that if they see any internships or jobs open up that they think I'd be qualified for, if they'd be willing to let me know. Eventually, that's how I got my first internship.

Overall, I think you just have to put in the time. If you send out 5 emails, don't expect much of a response. I sent out a lot of these emails and eventually some of them stuck. It was also very time consuming meeting with all these people on top of my other responsibilities, but when you dont have a job lined up, you kinda just gotta HTFU. I also found out that the legal industry is fairly small, and everyone knows everyone, so when I started meeting more and more people, I was able to start name-dropping, saying things like, "Oh, you know so-and-so? I got to speak with him last week." This helps with your credibility, i.e., you're actually serious about getting into the field, and that person may be more likely to hook you up with another one of their connections.

Most important, be genuine. If you dont know what field of law your passionate about, figure that out first, and then start doing the whole networking thing.

HTH.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:50 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:
jamman wrote:
stillwater wrote:what tier/what law school did you go to?


T25 in the northeast.


Well, that could be a major factor.


You'd be surprised how little people care about what school you went to (myself included). To be honest, I don't think my school really played much of a part in my landing in DC. Rather, I think it was that I took on 3 internships in one year to get thorough and substantial experience in my practice area, and the connections I made. I guess my point is that I can't imagine a situation where I would be in an interview and the interviewer would say "Jamman, you have some great experience, but you go to a school ranked 65th, so I don't think you're capable." Thats the type of bullshit that people like Elie Mystal write on their retarded blogs. If you think you go to a "shitty" school, compensate for it somehow. Become smarter than your peers in that specific field of law. Show more interest to potential employers. Be the most enthusiastic person in the office. When you get shitty assignments, smile at your supervisor like its the most interesting fucking thing you've ever worked on. So on and so forth. There's not one pivotal or crucial thing (e.g., a T25 school) that will get you to where you want to be, but rather it's a lot of little things that eventually form a foundation that will get you what you want.

Do I think schools play a part in where you land? Absolutely...if you're trying to land at a big firm on wall street. But if you're in the position I was in as a 2L-and 3LOL (namely, jobless), your resume becomes much more than just your school.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:52 pm

kapital98 wrote:
adonai wrote:How receptive were those that you cold-emailed for coffee? It just seems to me most wouldn't want to be bothered because they're so busy with work, but obviously it worked for you. Btw, congrats, your hustle is to be admired.


thank ya.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:47 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

jamman
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby jamman » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:56 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Did you get in through your agency's honors program? I'm assuming you were an entry-level hire. How'd you get hired?


usajobs

Pokemon
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby Pokemon » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:45 pm

Dude, people will appreciate more this thread if placed under Legal Employment. Maybe mods can move it.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Bombed 1L, Now practicing at DC agency Taking Questions

Postby Danger Zone » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:51 am

Pokemon wrote:Dude, people will appreciate more this thread if placed under Legal Employment. Maybe mods can move it.

Good thing he did.




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