Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2017)

Current AJD students: What was the most important factor in your decision?

Lower opportunity cost
15
54%
More mature, experienced student body
6
21%
Job placement
3
11%
Personal reasons
4
14%
 
Total votes: 28

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Leo
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Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby Leo » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:53 pm

Congratulations to all the other AJD admits! I for one am very excited to have been accepted to this program. However, like many, I have some lingering reservations. I created this thread so we could talk about (and hopefully eliminate) our reservations. From reading other threads, it seems like the primary concern is BigLaw job placement.

Sources suggest that job placement for AJDs is as good as, if not better, than their JD counterparts. However, empirical data is lacking to support this claim. Additionally, "as good as, if not better" may not be good enough for prospective AJD students, most of whom have significantly more work experience than their JD counterparts and expect this experience to give them much better job prospects, not just "as good as, if not better."

To help us address this concern, I have invited several current AJD students to give their perspectives. I would ask that current students choosing to engage in this discussion please provide as much information as they are comfortable sharing regarding their backgrounds and post-grad plans.

Thank you,
Leo, '16 hopeful

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wojo98
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby wojo98 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:24 pm

Thanks bud for organizing. To current/past AJD's: curious any color you can provide regarding your (and peers) OCI experience. Anything concrete (beyond the anecdotal) would be invaluable (for comprehensive AJD employment data is scant).

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mirroroferised7
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby mirroroferised7 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:59 pm

A lot of prospective AJD's have the attitude that we're ditching the pointless struggle to find 1L summer legal employment, and doing something purposeful with that time.

Having gone through that schedule, do you feel that way?

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Leo
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby Leo » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:08 pm

Hey if we don't get any responses here, at least we will have an opportunity to ask our questions at the AJD Open House on March 7. I assume you guys got the email as well. I live in Chicago, so I'll be going. Anyone else?

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paglababa
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby paglababa » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:18 pm

Checking in. Hopefully we'll get some answers to our questions.

As far as the AJD day - I don't know if I'd love to fly all the way there for a one day event. Also, did not see anything about helping defray travel costs. I'm going to look more into it though.

NUAJD15
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby NUAJD15 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:19 pm

mirroroferised7 wrote:A lot of prospective AJD's have the attitude that we're ditching the pointless struggle to find 1L summer legal employment, and doing something purposeful with that time.

Having gone through that schedule, do you feel that way?


Yes.

Leo wrote:Hey if we don't get any responses here, at least we will have an opportunity to ask our questions at the AJD Open House on March 7. I assume you guys got the email as well. I live in Chicago, so I'll be going. Anyone else?


Yes.

How's that for some flip answers? In seriousness, I do think that my summer was better spent doing my first 1L semester than it would have been at a 1L job. That said, I also think that 1L legal employment can be a really valuable way to buy time if you're still trying to figure out your reasons for wanting to be a lawyer and where you hope your career will take you.

There will be opportunities to talk to real live AJD students at the open house, including in situations not monitored by any University-employed people. And we'll tell you what we really think too...at least the 2015s aren't sugar-coating types.

NUAJD15
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby NUAJD15 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:28 pm

wojo98 wrote:Thanks bud for organizing. To current/past AJD's: curious any color you can provide regarding your (and peers) OCI experience. Anything concrete (beyond the anecdotal) would be invaluable (for comprehensive AJD employment data is scant).


I understand the thirst for numbers and data, but understand that we're not a large group of people, we're all friends, and it's a little awkward to go and figure out who got a job and who didn't. My class was, on the whole, extremely successful in securing summer employment. I realize that's the exact kind of anecdotal evidence you don't want, but honestly it's all I've got for you. That said, because we're such a small group, it would become immediately clear if there were a systemic problem with AJDs getting job offers. There is not such a problem.

Quitting your job and going to law school is a risk. Regardless of your experience level, nobody can guarantee you a job. Is it possible that you'll get no offers out of OCI? Yes, it's possible. But that's always true, no matter where you go to school or what program you do. Does the AJD program give you an excellent chance at 2L summer and post-law school employment? Yes it does.

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wojo98
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby wojo98 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:40 pm

NUAJD15 wrote:That said, because we're such a small group, it would become immediately clear if there were a systemic problem with AJDs getting job offers. There is not such a problem.

Good to hear (appreciate the first hand account).

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MrHart
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby MrHart » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:43 pm

Hi Folks,

To start, congratulations on being accepted to Northwestern Law! It's a big accomplishment and you should all pat yourselves on the back. That said, I think it's important to be concerned about getting jobs after getting your JD.

First, my background: Class of '14 AJD (starting to get excited about graduating), engineering background, worked in industry for several years before switching to law. Second, I can pretty much say unequivocally that the "sources" are correct: AJDs have received as good as, if not better, job options (BigLaw or otherwise) than standard JDs. AJD colleagues of mine summered at, and received associate offers from K&E, Sidley, WilmerHale, McDermott Will & Emery, Sullivan & Cromwell, Reed Smith, Proskauer Rose, etc.

However, are there '14 AJDs without job offers? YES, and that, frankly, is not a good place to be right after taking on (in many cases) an enormous law school debt load. I know of a couple out of our class of 28 that are still looking for positions, but I'm not certain on numbers. As you might expect, individuals with technical backgrounds did better at finding positions than those with non-technical credentials. Furthermore, individuals who had previously worked in business (think consulting, finance, or owning a business), science (engineering firm or lab), and/or law (paralegal, patent agents) tended to find success in their job searches. Grades also played a large part, I'm sure, but obviously I don't know others' GPAs. I feel fortunate to have had a couple options (in BigLaw and boutique) and will start at an IP boutique after taking the bar in July.

In general, I would suggest that new admits who don't have a reasonably clear idea of what they want to do with their JD might want to think twice before jumping at the tantalizing AJD offer. Consider the long and short-term effects of going to law school. For some, to be honest, it simply isn't worth the risk. Regardless, keep asking questions about the career. Is a JD necessary to get the job you want? Do you think you might prefer litigation or transactional legal work? Or maybe you're an IP person - there are a disproportionate number of law opportunities in the IP/patent space. Maybe you should come to the AJD new admit day - great way to see the school and meet current AJDs.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. Happy to take other questions if you have them.

-Mr. Hart

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paglababa
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby paglababa » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:44 pm

^Thanks for providing insight.

How's curving work since your entire semester of 1L grades is based on being in class with like 30 people? and is the atmosphere competitive? Are your grades seen in comparison to the entire NU class or just the AJD class?

Also what's your opinion on turning down t6 for AJD at NU?

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paglababa
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby paglababa » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:50 pm

MrHart wrote:As you might expect, individuals with technical backgrounds did better at finding positions than those with non-technical credentials. Furthermore, individuals who had previously worked in business (think consulting, finance, or owning a business), science (engineering firm or lab), and/or law (paralegal, patent agents) tended to find success in their job searches. Grades also played a large part, I'm sure, but obviously I don't know others' GPAs. I feel fortunate to have had a couple options (in BigLaw and boutique) and will start at an IP boutique after taking the bar in July.

In general, I would suggest that new admits who don't have a reasonably clear idea of what they want to do with their JD might want to think twice before jumping at the tantalizing AJD offer. Consider the long and short-term effects of going to law school. For some, to be honest, it simply isn't worth the risk. Regardless, keep asking questions about the career. Is a JD necessary to get the job you want? Do you think you might prefer litigation or transactional legal work? Or maybe you're an IP person - there are a disproportionate number of law opportunities in the IP/patent space. Maybe you should come to the AJD new admit day - great way to see the school and meet current AJDs.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. Happy to take other questions if you have them.

-Mr. Hart


I def agree that AJD makes so much sense for those who are IP secure. Also, minimizing the oppurtunity costs of one year if you're in big consulting/finance also seems like a good deal (with good chances of getting big law too).

It seems if you're not one of these people, you'd be at a disadvantage compared to your AJD class.

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MrHart
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby MrHart » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:55 pm

paglababa wrote:How's curving work since your entire semester of 1L grades is based on being in class with like 30 people? and is the atmosphere competitive? Are your grades seen in comparison to the entire NU class or just the AJD class?

Also what's your opinion on turning down t6 for AJD at NU?


During the first summer, the curve is based on the AJD class performance alone. It's harsh, no doubt. There are few to zero slacker AJDs that will "drag down" the curve, so getting that A will be difficult regardless of your IQ. However, my class was not outwardly competitive at all. People sent notes to those who missed class, we sang happy birthday to a couple people, and generally enjoyed each others' company.

It's hard to comment on turning down a t6 law school for AJD without further context. Where do you live now? Where do you want to practice? How much do you favor the 2-year AJD program over the standard 3-year programs? Personally, I was living in Chicago and knew that I wanted to practice in Chicago. Yes, I thought about UofC, but, all things equal, that extra year means something very tangible in terms of time and income.

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wojo98
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby wojo98 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:15 pm

How have recruiters (during OCI or otherwise) responded to your AJD track? Obviously, is central to each of your narratives, so presume is addressed in practically every interview. Specifically curious if you've received any positive or negative feedback (from firms, interviewers, etc.).

FuturePrez
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby FuturePrez » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:21 pm

wojo98 wrote:How have recruiters (during OCI or otherwise) responded to your AJD track? Obviously, is central to each of your narratives, so presume is addressed in practically every interview. Specifically curious if you've received any positive or negative feedback (from firms, interviewers, etc.).


Overall, recruiters care more about your story and the ability to bring you into a room full of clients and not be embarrassed. I found that the AJD program actually made for a compelling story during my OCI interviews and it paid off greatly.

That being said, some recruiters wanted me to walk them through the program and how it works (which can be confusing since 99% of other peoples experience is completely different for law school). The firms I received offers from, were excited to have someone with the tenacity to tackle law school in 2 years and translate that experience into a successful education (most importantly into a successful future associate).

That's been my experience given the program thus far.

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wojo98
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby wojo98 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:42 pm

FuturePrez wrote:That being said, some recruiters wanted me to walk them through the program and how it works (which can be confusing since 99% of other peoples experience is completely different for law school). The firms I received offers from, were excited to have someone with the tenacity to tackle law school in 2 years and translate that experience into a successful education (most importantly into a successful future associate).

Exactly what I presumed. Thanks (and congrats!).

Do you mind speaking to your OCI experience as an AJD generally? Did you feel you had a enough time to prep (firm research, interview prep, etc.) considering you had less time (full 1L summer) than traditional candidates have at their disposal? Anything organizationally/strategically you'd recommend (or recommend avoiding) to leverage the process to your benefit?

FuturePrez
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby FuturePrez » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:54 pm

Absolutely. First bit of advice, talk to people who have done OCI before. If you have a buddy in law school chat about it with them. If you don't, there are plenty of people around Northwestern who offer tons of advice about OCI and the experience generally.

Me and a few AJD's throughout the summer started looking and researching some firms around mid summer. I found it was a great way to relax (sounds weird, but reading about firm info and all the cool things you get to do after law school was more appealing than class).

I ranked my firms based on location and interest and ran the list by a few upper-classman I had met from the Accepted Students day or other associations. It can be scary at first because you really are jumping in headfirst, but I had a solid list of firms I know I wanted to be in and I made sure I knew why I wanted to be there.

The career center also gives out a free firm guide with a bunch of helpful info. I tabbed the pages of the firms I found appealing and read through them a few days before the interview to remember who I was going to be talking to.

Also, professors helped a ton on some decision making (later on in the process after interviews were done and I was looking at callback options).

Overall, I found it manageable and I was coming from an entirely different sector, not corporate or finance, and didn't strike out.

kingjames24
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby kingjames24 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:28 pm

First of all, congrats to all the new admits! I am a current AJD2015 and will be happy to answer any questions. I second everything that's been said thus far by my classmates and would like to add some of my own thoughts to the discussion:

paglababa wrote:^Thanks for providing insight.

How's curving work since your entire semester of 1L grades is based on being in class with like 30 people? and is the atmosphere competitive? Are your grades seen in comparison to the entire NU class or just the AJD class?

Also what's your opinion on turning down t6 for AJD at NU?


I completely agree with Mr. Hart. People are understandably stressed out at times during the summer but I would definitely not describe the atmosphere as competitive. People generally send each other notes, study together, and help each other out whenever someone is not understanding anything. It's a tough curve but not really any different than if you did a traditional 3 year program. Looking back, getting your butt kicked (or kicking your own butt...however you'd like to see it) for one summer and getting a big law job out of it is completely worth it to me, and I personally wouldn't have it any other way.

On a related note, I did turn down several t6 law schools and, while I have absolutely no regrets, I again agree with Mr. Hart that it just depends on the person. If you want the prestige of going to a t6, then go for it. Or if you want to clerk for the Supreme Court then going to a higher-ranked school probably would be helpful too. For me, I knew I wanted to get a big law job in Chicago after graduation and realized that it didn't make much sense to attend school in a different city just to come back to Chicago. It just wasn't worth it to go to a higher-ranked school when, statistically speaking, none of those schools are significantly better at landing those jobs. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk further on this subject

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MrHart
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby MrHart » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:57 pm

wojo98 wrote:How have recruiters (during OCI or otherwise) responded to your AJD track? Obviously, is central to each of your narratives, so presume is addressed in practically every interview. Specifically curious if you've received any positive or negative feedback (from firms, interviewers, etc.).


First, I like that you used the word "narrative" with respect to interviewing, because it's so important to have a coherent "story" coming into each interview meeting. As for interviewing at OCI (and the Loyola Patent Fair), I tried to embrace the AJD program and its philosophy and incorporated it into my spiel about law being my second career and wanting to move forward with my life goals as quickly and efficiently as possible while obtaining a top tier legal education. As others have said, interviewers were uniformly very impressed with the AJD program once they could wrap their brains around it. If an interviewer didn't know about the AJD program, I explained it like this: "The AJD program is basically six semesters of traditional law school *holding up six fingers* compressed into five semesters *holding up five fingers* within two calendar years." Each of those individuals across the interview table from you went through three years of law school, so they get the fact that the AJD program is intense.

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MrHart
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby MrHart » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:24 pm

Do you mind speaking to your OCI experience as an AJD generally? Did you feel you had a enough time to prep (firm research, interview prep, etc.) considering you had less time (full 1L summer) than traditional candidates have at their disposal? Anything organizationally/strategically you'd recommend (or recommend avoiding) to leverage the process to your benefit?


Let me get this important note out of the way first: If you are a patent/IP-interested AJD, it is CRITICAL that you register for the Loyola Patent Fair BEFORE March 3, 2014! That's right, you must register for the Patent Fair before starting law school for the summer semester. A couple patent-interested people from my class missed the opportunity to attend LPF and had to scramble at OCI to earn spots that hadn't already been filled by LPF interviewees.

Okay, regarding OCI... You really don't have a lot of time to research firms during the summer. Furthermore, I'm not sure whether pre-interview research time (apart from the bare minimum so you understand the size of the firm, background of the interviewers, office locations, etc.) is really worth it. Instead, it might be more productive to pare down the universe of firms by doing the following:

- Identify the one or maximum two geographic markets within which you would consider working.
- Try to determine whether you would like to practice transactional or litigation law.
- Try to determine whether you have a preferred practice area (bankruptcy, M&A, general litigation, patent, etc.).

These determinations will help you self-select away from firms that might otherwise reject your OCI bids out of hand, e.g. recruiters thinking: "his resume says he's interested in estates and trusts, which is a tiny portion of our firm." OR "she's from the Bay Area, why does she want to come to NYC?"

As others have said, try to talk with the '14/'15 AJDs or regular 3Ls to get the real story about what the inside of firms is actually like. In the end though, assuming you have at least moderate success at OCI, you should be able to more easily compare firms through multiple call-backs.

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Leo
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby Leo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:14 am

I was on the fence about registering for LPF because (i) it's only a few days before finals, and (ii) we won't have grades by then. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I guess my question is, is it feasible to prepare for interviews without jeapordizing your performance on finals? And will employers even be interested in a student without any grades?

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MrHart
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby MrHart » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:58 am

Leo wrote:I was on the fence about registering for LPF because (i) it's only a few days before finals, and (ii) we won't have grades by then. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I guess my question is, is it feasible to prepare for interviews without jeapordizing your performance on finals? And will employers even be interested in a student without any grades?


If you are patent law focused, I think you absolutely should do as many interviews at LPF as possible. IMHO, LPF is way more important than OCI for patent prosecution/litigation jobs. First, the variety of firms at LPF is much broader than OCI. If you are considering firms outside Chicago, especially boutiques, they will ONLY be at LPF, not OCI. Second, firms fill many of their patent-related summer spots with LPF interviewees first, then use OCI to fill the balance. Third, the interviewers at LPF are patent practitioners at the firms. At OCI, they could be practicing general litigation or ERISA. Thus, at LPF you have the opportunity to actually talk with lawyers that you might work with at those firms, almost certainly not the case at OCI. Finally, employers were definitely interested in the handful of us AJDs that interviewed at LPF, even though we only had one grade at the time (from contracts). I believe out of the four of us, at least three of us accepted our summer jobs from LPF interviews and callbacks.

It's true that LPF is right before finals, which is unfortunate. It makes preparing for finals harder. But in the larger picture, patent-focused people get two bites at the job interview apple (LPF and OCI). Given the job market, I don't think individuals should throw chances away arbitrarily. In sum, if you are even slightly considering patent law, I strongly suggest you register for LPF.

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Leo
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby Leo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:11 am

Sold.

kcdc1
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby kcdc1 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:22 am

Wow, glad I read that post. Thanks Hart. I'm definitely going to to seeking patent interviews, and I had no idea that I needed to register for LPF now-ish. Seems like a bit of a landmine.... Looking forward to meeting other prospective AJD 2016's interested in patent law. How many are we at now?

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wojo98
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby wojo98 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:04 am

NUAJD15, FuturePrez, MrHart, kingjames24 - thanks (particularly re: OCI). Appreciate the candor.

Seriously considering the 3/7 Open House - primarily to start similar conversations with current AJDs (or at least those that take the time to swing by).

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Northwestern AJD Class of 2016

Postby fruitoftheloom » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:13 pm

wojo98 wrote:Thanks bud for organizing. To current/past AJD's: curious any color you can provide regarding your (and peers) OCI experience. Anything concrete (beyond the anecdotal) would be invaluable (for comprehensive AJD employment data is scant).

Here are my thoughts on the OCI experience - some people were successful, and some weren't. I think more than the regular class we have people concentrated at the very top of the curve (about 3.8 ) and at the very bottom of the curve (below 3.3). I don't think our class had a lot of "middle" grades like between 3.4-3.6.

Work experience isn't as helpful as you might think that it would be. I think some employers like it and some don't. I also think that you need to have a compelling story about why you are undergoing a career change. I think, generally, that people interested in litigation had a more difficult time during OCI. I also think that people who bid outside of Chicago or NYC had a difficult time. I would say that if you're interested in a market outside of Chicago or NYC, don't do the AJD program. (The exception MIGHT be San Francisco, but if you're interested in that market, I recommend having a math/science background).

Generally - about half the AJD class (or a little more) got jobs through OCI. One of the difficult things is that you need to be prepared to mass mail employers as soon as you get your grades. That's also the week that you're doing call backs and writing on to journal if you want to do journal. You cannot slack.

Overall - I would say if you don't want to do big law, don't join the AJD program. If you are looking for an easier path to getting a job, I don't think the AJD program does that for you either. If you're looking at any non NYC/Chicago market, run the other way.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by fruitoftheloom on Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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