B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

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PennLawGal
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B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby PennLawGal » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:13 pm

So, obviously I am very disappointed with my fall grades. I went to every class, studied the material, finished outlining a little before thanksgiving, and started practice tests the last week of class up through reading days (4-6 per class). Generally thought I understood all the material well, read all the E&Es, and thought I could take a law school exam. What's most disheartening is the B- is in the class I thought I would do best in.

Have a less than half tuition scholarship, probably take in around $50k-$55k of debt a semester. If I dropped out, I'd probably only be looking at a pretty crappy job paying around $45k.

I am really kind of biglaw or bust, because of the debt load and wanting the exit options into decent public interest/public service jobs. I'd be happy at an ADA's office but my resume screams private practice so that will be an uphill battle (plus I'm only interested in major cities, so grades probably matter just as much as demonstrated dedication to the cause). No connections whatsoever.

So basically, if I didn't get anything through OCI, I would probably drop out, considering the immense uphill battle I would be facing by having to network my ass off while accruing substantial debt.

Next semester is worth 14 credits as opposed to 12 credits this semester.

I'm thinking of sticking it out one more semester and then seeing if I get anything from OCI, if not, definitely dropping out in the fall. Of course I plan to meet with professors about these exams, and see what I can improve, but I really thought I did nearly as much as I could last semester, besides perhaps mastering the art of taking an exam a bit more than I did.

Is this a good plan, or am I basically screwed?

Thanks for the help y'all. Super depressed here.


ETA: 3 years work experience, but nothing prestigious.

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smaug_
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby smaug_ » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:18 pm

PennLawGal wrote:I'm thinking of sticking it out one more semester and then seeing if I get anything from OCI, if not, definitely dropping out in the fall. Of course I plan to meet with professors about these exams, and see what I can improve, but I really thought I did nearly as much as I could last semester, besides perhaps mastering the art of taking an exam a bit more than I did.


Do you still want to be a lawyer? If so, I think this is a good plan. Some people will get good jobs with bad grades and you'll have a second stab at figuring out law exams. I think it's important to not fixate on the job part right now and just focus on trying to figure out what went wrong with your exams. Once you're through the second semester you can start worrying about job stuff and consider dropping out. (if that's what you want to do)

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LexLeon
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby LexLeon » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:04 pm

Being at median or below is not a death sentence.

The hype on TLS about dropping out is blown way out of proportion (though that's not to say dropping out is never warranted).

Look at all the available data and do the actual math: Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

And, yes, I expect this post to arouse ignorant anger. Before one responds, please:

Keep ad hominem to a minimum (or, better, don't use it at all); and

if you have them, provide actual grounds for disagreement or data that cast doubt on what I say.

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jbagelboy
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Stick it out. You still have a lot of grades to come in. Two A-'s next semester and you'll square off near median. Also, you go to a school where below median can land biglaw. So there's that. Aren't about 30-35% of your peers where you are or worse? I agree with smaug.

Unless you absolutely detest law school and dont want to practice. Doesnt sound like thats the case.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:19 pm

LexLeon wrote:Being at median or below is not a death sentence.

The hype on TLS about dropping out is blown way out of proportion (though that's not to say dropping out is never warranted).

Look at all the available data and do the actual math: Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

And, yes, I expect this post to arouse ignorant anger. Before one responds, please:

Keep ad hominem to a minimum (or, better, don't use it at all); and

if you have them, provide actual grounds for disagreement or data that cast doubt on what I say.


You don't think a healthy chunk of those below median bros who snag big law are people with good work experience, people with connections, URMs, and hot chicks? I think the "drop out if you're below median" advice is generally sound if you're a regular schmo. It's not that it would be impossible for a regular schmo at a school like Penn, just that it would be very, very difficult and probably unlikely enough to not warrant the additional debt.

What data do you have brobro?

As for the OP- I think sticking it out for another semester is certainly defensible, especially if you like law school and really want to become a lawyer.

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BruceWayne
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:34 pm

You are going to have an extremely difficult time landing biglaw unless you get all A's next semester. If you want a job doing something else you are going to have to start tailoring your resume towards it right now and rack up internships/externships. You also would need to do a journal or moot court/mock trial to make yourself appealing to non biglaw employers. Still there are no guarantees of any employment whatsoever.

Consider how you feel about all of that and go from there.

Personally, I think that your scholarship is too small to stick with it unless you genuinely want to be a lawyer over everything else.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:38 pm

LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.

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BruceWayne
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:41 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:58 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


Cant speak to Penn, but at CLS up to 45% of grades can be B or below on the 1L curve. Many profs adhere to, some even push 50% Bs and below (my Ks prof apparently did last semester). So a B average (3.0) from one semester could feasibly place one a little below median, but above bottom third.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:04 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


Cant speak to Penn, but at CLS up to 45% of grades can be B or below on the 1L curve. Many profs adhere to, some even push 50% Bs and below (my Ks prof apparently did last semester). So a B average (3.0) from one semester could feasibly place one a little below median, but above bottom third.

That only works if more than a third of the class is getting discretionary grades, which would be impossible. Don't know if the bottom of the curve is easier to reach at Penn, but either way a 3.0 certainly puts OP in the bottom third. Now, given that there are only 3 grades (and just 12 credits out of 26) the 85th percentile probably isn't meaningfully different from the 65th, but as it stands OP isn't in a great spot.

That said, Penn put 77% of the class of 2012 into biglaw or fed clerkships, so straight A's are far from necessary. Just figure out what went wrong, especially with that B-, and work as hard as possible this semester. Practice interviewing and land as many interviews as possible out of OCI. It only makes sense to drop out if nothing has materialized after that.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby daleearnhardt123 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:05 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


Gross exaggeration. I know of MANY of people at T10s who are bottom 1/3 and get employment, and in biglaw too. OP is going to have to bid extremely conservative at on campus interviews, and go heavy NY, but i think she is in no position to be thinking she must drop out at this point. This is the point of going to a T10 - you get margin for error. You don't have to drop out because you missed median.

Now, granted, if OP is a regular joe schmo, it's going to be particularly difficult. But if OP even just deviates from that classification insofar as she is a girl (which OPs TLS name would seem to indicate) then I think she's still got at least a coin flips chance at BigLaw assuming she doesn't fall further.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Penn16 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:23 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


As others have mentioned, this is a pretty bad exaggeration. Here is Penn's grade distribution:

A = 15%
A- = 15%
B+ = 27.5%
B = 27.5%
B- = 10%
Cs = discretionary

With 65% of the class getting B-'s to B+'s, I think OP is probably just slightly below median, which, given Penn's placement numbers, is far from being a death knell.

Unfortunately I might find myself in a similar situation as OP once my last grade comes in. I'm sitting at a B+ and a B and am really worried about what the third grade might be. Unlike OP, though, I'm paying sticker, so I hope the third grade will save me more angst. If not, I'll just have to work even harder this semester to make sure second semester grades turn out better and hope the strength of Penn's placement will still be able to land me biglaw in NY or DC.

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jbagelboy
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:32 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


Cant speak to Penn, but at CLS up to 45% of grades can be B or below on the 1L curve. Many profs adhere to, some even push 50% Bs and below (my Ks prof apparently did last semester). So a B average (3.0) from one semester could feasibly place one a little below median, but above bottom third.

That only works if more than a third of the class is getting discretionary grades, which would be impossible. Don't know if the bottom of the curve is easier to reach at Penn, but either way a 3.0 certainly puts OP in the bottom third. Now, given that there are only 3 grades (and just 12 credits out of 26) the 85th percentile probably isn't meaningfully different from the 65th, but as it stands OP isn't in a great spot.

That said, Penn put 77% of the class of 2012 into biglaw or fed clerkships, so straight A's are far from necessary. Just figure out what went wrong, especially with that B-, and work as hard as possible this semester. Practice interviewing and land as many interviews as possible out of OCI. It only makes sense to drop out if nothing has materialized after that.


Please do correct me if Im wrong Tiaggo - they really dont tell us much about this - but my understanding was B-'s were only discretionary on the 2L/3L curve, and they constitute a meaningful portion of the 1L curve (with Cs as truly discretionary). Several emails from profs have intimated this, and anecdotally this range makes sense.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:34 pm

jb on the right side of the lawnet grades screen there should be a link that shows the 1L grading guidelines.

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jbagelboy
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:jb on the right side of the lawnet grades screen there should be a link that shows the 1L grading guidelines.


Thanks much

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Law Sauce
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Law Sauce » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:51 pm

Stick it out. Work hard on OCI. Also go to cities ahead of time and let firm's know you are coming and they can interview for free. Hit hard all the cities you would accept. Obviously, try to bring your grades up by figuring out how to take exams smarter, but you're not totally screwed at all. People get big law from below median every year at this level school by hustling and doing lots and lots of job search work (obviously not everyone, but its not a crazy impossible long-shot either). Keep your head up. Good luck

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby OutCold » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:40 pm

I'm a 3L at Penn. I wouldn't drop out until you go through OCI. Yeah, you are below median, and the B- doesn't help things, but a good showing can still put you in a good spot. Employers go really deep into our class. Even slightly below median is a relatively safe place to be, and I know many who were significantly below that landed biglaw. Pull a mix of B+s and A-s next semester and you'll be fine. I would focus on figuring out what exactly went wrong for you. I would also choose your two electives based off of the grade distributions in the registrar's office. Shoot me a PM if you have more specific questions.

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BruceWayne
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:40 am

daleearnhardt123 wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


Gross exaggeration. I know of MANY of people at T10s who are bottom 1/3 and get employment, and in biglaw too. OP is going to have to bid extremely conservative at on campus interviews, and go heavy NY, but i think she is in no position to be thinking she must drop out at this point. This is the point of going to a T10 - you get margin for error. You don't have to drop out because you missed median.

Now, granted, if OP is a regular joe schmo, it's going to be particularly difficult. But if OP even just deviates from that classification insofar as she is a girl (which OPs TLS name would seem to indicate) then I think she's still got at least a coin flips chance at BigLaw assuming she doesn't fall further.



Like I said--I don't know how Penn ranks. If he's not bottom 1/3 he doesn't need to consider dropping out. That being said, having graduated from a top 10 and knowing many many people who were bottom 1/3--the ONLY one I know that landed a firm job went to one of the best engineering undergrads in the country; and he/she ended up landing an IP gig in the home market of that undergrad. The reality is that the "margin for error" at a top 10 is basically at/around the median. Anyone telling you otherwise is dreaming. You CAN get a job straight out (maybe even a big firm one) with bottom 1/3 grades from a top 10; but it isn't likely. You're probably going to end up on the school's "fellowship".

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby tpfennin » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:51 am

Penn16 wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Graduating middle of the class or slightly below it at an excellent school like Penn likely leads to favorable employment.

I certainly don't think OP should drop out before the end of the year, but a 3.0 at Penn is not median nor slightly below.


I don't know how they rank. But if it's similar to its peers that's bottom 1/3. Bottom 1/3 ITE from somewhere other than HYS means you're lucky if you are employed at all--biglaw would be nothing short of miraculous.


As others have mentioned, this is a pretty bad exaggeration. Here is Penn's grade distribution:

A = 15%
A- = 15%
B+ = 27.5%
B = 27.5%
B- = 10%
Cs = discretionary

With 65% of the class getting B-'s to B+'s, I think OP is probably just slightly below median, which, given Penn's placement numbers, is far from being a death knell.

Unfortunately I might find myself in a similar situation as OP once my last grade comes in. I'm sitting at a B+ and a B and am really worried about what the third grade might be. Unlike OP, though, I'm paying sticker, so I hope the third grade will save me more angst. If not, I'll just have to work even harder this semester to make sure second semester grades turn out better and hope the strength of Penn's placement will still be able to land me biglaw in NY or DC.


I didnt think Penn released its 1L curve. Assuming by your name you attend... did they release it to students?

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:53 am

OP I'm glad for you that you're at Penn because they have great placement. I think the only plan that makes any sense is to work hard this semester, try and improve your grades, intern over the summer, and then do OCI. If you strike out at OCI then dropping out might make sense. But given how deep firms will go in the class, I bet you will be perfectly fine. I would spend the summer 2014 editing resume, doing mock interviews, and getting honest feedback about how you come across in an interview. People under-perform or over-perform their GPA/school all the time. If you are around median at Penn and are an average interviewer you have a very good chance at big law, from everything I can gather from their numbers.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Penn16 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:27 pm

LexLeon wrote:
I didnt think Penn released its 1L curve. Assuming by your name you attend... did they release it to students?



Yeah I do attend, I'm a 1L. There was an obscure link to an old internal website in the 1L Handbook. Can't know for sure if the school still uses that grading system (which btw also gives profs discretion to adjust the grade ranges up to 2%), but I can't imagine why they wouldn't. At the very least it's good a benchmark to go by for estimation purposes.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:38 pm

No. Figure out what you did wrong & try to get better grades. Practice your interviewing (a lot). Hustle over the summer before OCI.

Waiting till you strike out at OCI is really late in the game to start scrambling. But there's a lot of good you can do for yourself working at it before OCI. If you then strike out at OCI despite your best efforts, at least you can drop out knowing you did all you could.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby Wearthewildthingsr » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:41 pm

I'm gonna agree with LexLeon and say that it's not that bad of a situation in your head. I agree it's definitely disappointing granted how much work you put into it but you can still get a great job with those grades granted you start hustling now and do better next semester. Keep your chin up and pass the whiskey.

PennLawGal
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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby PennLawGal » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:23 pm

Thanks everyone, this has all been really helpful and helped to lift my spirits (while still realizing I face a significant uphill battle). I am going to stick to my plan, and network like hell and do everything I can to improve. Not to mention focus on a conservative bidding strategy when it comes time to work on that.

Overall I actually like law school and do want to be a lawyer. I just have a certain debt level at which that no longer seems to be worth it (not to mention I don't think I'd be happy in a small law firm or working in a non-major city). But don't have to cross that bridge yet/we'll see what happens in August/September.

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Re: B+, B, & B- for first semester at Penn. Drop out?

Postby merica! » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:10 pm

PennLawGal wrote:Thanks everyone, this has all been really helpful and helped to lift my spirits (while still realizing I face a significant uphill battle). I am going to stick to my plan, and network like hell and do everything I can to improve. Not to mention focus on a conservative bidding strategy when it comes time to work on that.

Overall I actually like law school and do want to be a lawyer. I just have a certain debt level at which that no longer seems to be worth it (not to mention I don't think I'd be happy in a small law firm or working in a non-major city). But don't have to cross that bridge yet/we'll see what happens in August/September.


I had worse grades then you first semester last year here at Penn. I worked my ass off second semester and my improvement was off the charts. I did not biglaw, I bid conservatively all NYC. Firms with the lower GPA are hiring less and less summers each year. V10 hire lots of summers but they want the grades. It sounds like you want only Biglaw, then I say drop out. Chances are you wont get it. Amount of debt is ridiculous. I don't think I will ever be able to pay it back. I'm only staying because I really want to be a lawyer, and don't see another way of doing that at this point. But think about drop out now and you have like 30k in debt and thats all. Get a job somewhere even if you don't make a lot of money you can pay that off pretty quickly.

Staying on will make the next few years of your life horrible and possibly the rest of your life. Its not worth for a really small chance of getting biglaw.




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