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3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:18 pm
by joycool9567
The posted average of my school is 3.35 (B plus average I guess) but I know that's bs and median is somewhere above that. I do think given that the median can't be above 3.5 my grade is a hair above the median grade.

But do I have a shot at Big law with a slightly above the average grade in Cornell? It's a lower T 14 so I know this grade may not cut it.

I am really frustrated about the result. Typically how high should you rank to get into big law?

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:07 am
by UVA2B
What basis do you have that the median GPA after one semester is higher than the stated median GPA for Cornell's curve? Even if the median strayed from the stated median, it would be relatively minor because statistically forced curves ensure a result very near to the desired outcome, if not exactly the desired outcome. Your suggestion that the median is somewhere at/below 3.5 is true, but it should be substantially below a 3.5 if Cornell actually uses a forced curve. Assuming your assumption that the median GPA is higher than a 3.3 is true (or 3.35 if that's how Cornell treats a B+ curve), it's more likely to be something like a 3.38 rather than a 3.5 or 3.48. As such, I would venture a guess that you're not just slightly above median, but probably around top 1/3.

Beyond all of this assumptive nonsense, you can ask your career services about all of this. They can address where you would historically place based on previous years, and can inform you about how to successfully land biglaw. But considering Cornell places ~65% of its graduates into biglaw+FC, you're very squarely competitive for biglaw. If your post history is accurate, you're international, so you may have to deal with some complications due to VISA stuff, but with biglaw they'll at least support you so far as they can to get you an H1B.

You're fine. Do well in your second semester like you did in the first and you're likely to be competitive for biglaw.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:24 am
by Libya
Don't know too much about Cornell OCI but it seems like solidly above median in a school where the around 2/3 go into (or could go into) biglaw is a solid place to be.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:20 am
by QContinuum
UVA2B wrote:Beyond all of this assumptive nonsense, you can ask your career services about all of this. They can address where you would historically place based on previous years, and can inform you about how to successfully land biglaw. But considering Cornell places ~65% of its graduates into biglaw+FC, you're very squarely competitive for biglaw.

It's actually 75% based on the class of '18 data. So, unless OP's in the bottom third, they should be in a pretty safe position. That said, non-U.S. citizens do face much more of an uphill slog than U.S. citizens. I think this is in (large) part due to visa issues, which is unavoidable. But, in some cases, language may also be an issue. From my personal observations, international students with discernible accents (other than British accents) tend to underperform at OCI especially badly. On the flip side, international students who speak Spanish and/or Portuguese fluently are very competitive for firms with LatAm practices.

Regardless, as far as grades go, being anywhere in the top ~67% should be as safe as it gets for NYC BigLaw.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:07 am
by rew98
joycool9567 wrote:The posted average of my school is 3.35 (B plus average I guess) but I know that's bs and median is somewhere above that. I do think given that the median can't be above 3.5 my grade is a hair above the median grade.

But do I have a shot at Big law with a slightly above the average grade in Cornell? It's a lower T 14 so I know this grade may not cut it.

I am really frustrated about the result. Typically how high should you rank to get into big law?


They don't release the actual mean but your unofficial transcript should come with a document that notes the GPA for top 10%, which will give you an idea of where you stand in comparison. The transcript should also say whether or not you made Dean's List which I believe has a cut off of top 30% (not sure about this). As it stands, you're probably sitting slightly above median, which is a fine place to be especially with another semester to try to improve. When it comes time to bid for AJF, you'll be able to see how grade-sensitive firms are in terms of who they offer callbacks to. There are plenty of firms where a 3.53 is just fine.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:19 pm
by uncle_rico
I understand that this is obviously a nervous 1L who doesn't know much but come on dude. Yes the curve at Cornell can be up to 3.5 in some classes but people here get big law jobs even with a 3.0 as long as you have any semblance of interviewing/social skills. Just relax and stop beating yourself up about it.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:26 pm
by Summerheightshigh
Just about everyone I knew with a GPA arounds your got a job at AJF a few years ago. You are fine.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:35 pm
by exdeanrod
If you don't get big law from Cornell with a 3.53, your GPA is not the problem. Keep working on grades, but don't neglect networking and not being weird during interviews.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:21 pm
by plurilingue
I had a mentee from Cornell with this exact GPA who went through last year. He was from the PRC. He was presentable, pleasant and a nice person; however, he has a stronger than usual accent in English (relative to other PRC nationals). He got a large law firm offer, but just one. It was a at a V25 firm in New York. The visa issue played a part in his difficulties. If you are a U.S. national, then it will be easier for you and I would expect multiple offers from good, if not excellent, firms.

Good luck.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:18 am
by Sackboy
For future reference, I had this GPA at one of DNC (aka lower T13), and I got offers from SullCrom and Cravath. I punched above my weight, but only marginally so according to my schools numbers. NY V10s are surprisingly easy to land. The real difficulty, in my experience, is trying to get into almost every other market. A V50 headquartered/with a sizable presence in DC/Chicago/LA/SF can often be much more difficult, or at least as difficult, to land as a NYC V10.

Re: 3.53 GPA @ Cornell law. Do I have a shot at big law?

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:05 pm
by ProbablyWaitListed
QContinuum wrote:
UVA2B wrote:On the flip side, international students who speak Spanish and/or Portuguese fluently are very competitive for firms with LatAm practices.


Any chance you could elaborate on this? I'm an American citizen who speaks fluent Spanish and a dream of mine would be to practice in a firm's LatAm office for a few years. Is this realistic?