1L GPA 3.08, what to do this summer and next semester?

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Rox1994

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1L GPA 3.08, what to do this summer and next semester?

Postby Rox1994 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:31 am

Hi all --

I am taking out a large chunk o' loans (150k) at lower T14. I ended up with a 3.08 (B, B, B, B+) for my first 1L semester.

Granted, I got attacked and suffered a concussion midway through the semester. I ended up missing about 1.5 weeks of class, but I muddled through without dropping any classes, etc.

My grades are a disappointment, to say the least. My school curves to about a 3.35-3.45. So I need advice.
1. How do I get my grades up next semester? I have appointments with all my professors but beyond that?
2. What kind of job should I be trying to pin down this summer? I have a screener in a secondary market that I received before my grades, but who knows now.
3. My goal was biglaw, but I was .... thrown for a loop this semester. I know my LSAT was at the bottom of my class as well. However, I have a stellar UGPA. I'm good at studying when I know what I'm doing. When should I jump the biglaw ship?

Thanks for any and all advice!

NoDayButToday

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Re: 1L GPA 3.08, what to do this summer and next semester?

Postby NoDayButToday » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:57 am

I'll let biglaw folks speak to #3. My feeling is that if you can make a big jump this semester, e.g., to 3.4+, big law could still be on the table, but I don't know your school outcomes, what markets you're targeting, or much about how biglaw hiring actually works since I didn't do OCI/got my SAs through mass mailing/direct app.

#1
When I see straight B's, my sense is that you might have understood the content pretty well (at least enough to not make B-'s, C+'s, and lower), but you didn't understand how to apply the information you learned in the context of law school exam hypotheticals. For that reason, I think a big part of your preparation for this semester is going to be learning/understanding what you're being asked to do on law school exams and developing that skill.

I found 1L of a Ride and Getting to Maybe very helpful in this area. (I was top 10% first semester, dropped to top 20% second semester) Friends have said great things about LEEWS, and another friend managed a 3.9 our first semester and swore by Open Book by Goldberg & Friedman.

Debrief as individually as possible with your professors in the meetings. If you can't meet with professors, see if you can compare your answer to a "perfect" answer rubric or an answer written by someone who made an A. Meeting with a TA is also fine, if the other options aren't available.

For this semester, talk with upperclassmen who had your professors. Get outlines, sure, but more importantly talk with them about the exam. Try to find people who did very well and people who didn't do as well, to hear what they think the professor was expecting that they either delivered or failed to.

If practice exams are administered in any of your classes this semester, do them, and get close feedback.

At the end of the semester, do as many practice exams on your own that you can, if they're available.

You're going to have to put your nose to the grindstone, work-wise if you want to bring your GPA up significantly, but you're obviously a very intelligent, hard worker to have gotten where you are today, so you can do it. Your LSAT can predict but doesn't define your law school performance. Make sure to balance the work with friends/family time and hobbies that you enjoy so that you don't burn out.

#2
You definitely don't have to do an SA your 1L year to land one at OCI. Most of my classmates did PI/Gov internships or judicial externships their 1L summer before landing biglaw at OCI, including the people who went to top ranked firms. Give the secondary market SA interview a solid effort if you're wanting to go there, but don't be discouraged if you end up at a DA/Public defender's office or a nonprofit this summer. They important thing is to take a job that gives you legal experience and a good writing sample for OCI.
Last edited by NoDayButToday on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

sparkytrainer

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Re: 1L GPA 3.08, what to do this summer and next semester?

Postby sparkytrainer » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:59 am

The obvious advice is work hard this next semester and do the best you can. I had something similar happen health wise my second semester of 1L that trashed my GPA. It happens and it really sucks.

As for this summer, you should still be able to find something you like. It likely won't be as a summer associate, but I would apply to a ton of government jobs and I am sure you will find something. It really doesn't matter what, as long as its something legal.

As far as OCI and biglaw, assuming your grades stay about the same in the spring, you are gonna have a tough time, but not impossible. I was able to pull biglaw in a hard to get market (think DC/Boston) by getting a summer job in that city as a 1L and networking every single day. I would cold email alumns at every possible firm to get coffee/lunch with. Most days I was having coffee before work and either lunch or after work coffee with someone, plus attending all the recruiting events. I will be honest- this part sucks. It was really tiresome and I had literally no free time between work and networking. However, I was able to pull off 3+ callbacks before OCI while I was in the city (my t13 law school and target market were in different places) before heading back to OCI. One of these turned into an offer. It was the only offer I got, but did get a few more callbacks from OCI that I cancelled because they were in NYC and not my target market.

The common advice is that you will have to target NYC in OCI given they have the vast majority of summer associates in the country and some firms will reach below median. That is what my career office told me. I struck out on my own in my target city and networked my way into a job. It is possible, but it will not be easy. Be prepared to strike out. Have an alternative career path in mind in case you dont get a biglaw gig. But my personal recommendation is get a summer job in your target market and start networking the second you get there. Do it all summer. Meet every single person you can because you might get lucky.

Good luck, I am rooting for you!

Rox1994

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Re: 1L GPA 3.08, what to do this summer and next semester?

Postby Rox1994 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:14 pm

Thank you both!

Indeed, I had no clue how to write for professors. Adding some exam-prep 1L books to my grind is a top priority. Thanks all! Great advice.

My LRW class was the worst disappointment. My absence in that class was exacerbated by missing the one opportunity for extra credit. I'm def. taking that grade with a grain of salt because of it, but I think improving on exams (and future briefs) is do-able.



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