Northwestern 1L/2L/3L/Grads Taking Questions and Challenges

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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bjsesq
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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bjsesq » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:24 pm

alabamabound wrote:Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.


Us Winston no offers really think you should go fuck yourself.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Holly Golightly » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:32 pm

bk1 wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:sorry to keep bombarding you all with questions.

Heres one more :)

Seriously, what does it mean to "strike out" is it as Campos says in DGTLSU, that you are basically out of the legal profession forever? In debt servitude to the Fed for eternity?


Striking out means you fail to get a 2L SA at a large law firm during fall semester of 2L. That is pretty much the only time to get into biglaw due to their hiring (they don't really hire 3Ls and they only generally only hire practicing attorneys with large firm experience).

What happens to these people? At NU some of them try for PI/gov positions and survive on LRAP/IBR (which are rare). Others will end up working at small firms that don't pay much. Some will end up doing temporary legal work (which is terrible). And some won't get legal jobs at all. Outside of the PI/gov spots, these people are generally in a bad spot. They aren't out of the legal profession forever but they are likely out of biglaw forever. If they have substantial debt, they will probably be debtpwned.

omg the attitude on this site like if you don't get biglaw you're going to die homeless on the street is so frustrating and not true. I guess part if it is that we go to a school that sucks about telling us about other options, but statements like this are ridiculously exaggerated and panic-inducing.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:38 pm

bjsesq wrote:
alabamabound wrote:Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.


Us Winston no offers really think you should go fuck yourself.


Lets face it, we all saw this coming...right?

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:41 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:omg the attitude on this site like if you don't get biglaw you're going to die homeless on the street is so frustrating and not true. I guess part if it is that we go to a school that sucks about telling us about other options, but statements like this are ridiculously exaggerated and panic-inducing.


I'm not saying that you're going to be homeless, but I do think that making 50k and having 250k debt sucks. I may have overstated how terrible it is because IBR is a safety net, but I do think that while monetarily okay it still might suck (having 250k around your neck for 20 years can't be comfortable). That being said, the 15% of the class that is not unemployed, temping, or employed PT are genuinely in a bad spot.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Holly Golightly » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:44 pm

bk1 wrote:
Holly Golightly wrote:omg the attitude on this site like if you don't get biglaw you're going to die homeless on the street is so frustrating and not true. I guess part if it is that we go to a school that sucks about telling us about other options, but statements like this are ridiculously exaggerated and panic-inducing.


I'm not saying that you're going to be homeless, but I do think that making 50k and having 250k debt sucks. I may have overstated how terrible it is because IBR is a safety net, but I do think that while monetarily okay it still might suck (having 250k around your neck for 20 years can't be comfortable). That being said, the 15% of the class that is not unemployed, temping, or employed PT are genuinely in a bad spot.

You still seem to be overlooking the fact that not all smaller firms pay $50k/year, and a lot of government jobs are really fucking awesome jobs if you can get them. Decent pay + LRAP + (a lot of times) 40/hr work weeks

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:47 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:
rayiner wrote:Third, I don't think you should try to read too much into (2) in estimating your own probabilities. A lot of the people who did get jobs despite having median or lower grades had connections, technical backgrounds, etc. These people to a degree "cancel out" people who didn't get a job because they didn't put enough effort into their job search. I don't think it's worth trying to parse the numbers more finely than to just ignore both sets of factors.


Rayiner,

Can you expand on this? I'm not sure what you mean. It would seem that you are saying that it is bleaker than it appears because lower figures would ensue if it weren't for previously existing qualifications and connections that NU students have, but it seems like its a more complex thought than that.

I guess what I am trying to get to the bottom of is this: do some people who do well at NU, and make informed decisions regarding finding employment still end up getting screwed? Lets say that this hypothetical group has no geographic inflexibility and does everything to find a job.


You're trying to look at that 20-25% of people who end up in a bad position and see if you can reduce that risk for yourself by "doing well" and hustling in your job search. My point is that it's really pointless to engage in that exercise. While it's true that a substantial number of people are in that 20-25% because they didn't give 100% to their job search, but it's also true that there are a substantial number of people who avoided being in that 20-25% because they had connections, technical backgrounds, etc.

Since you have little control over how well you do, the proper question is this: are there people who put in a strong effort during 1L, make informed decisions regarding employment, and still end up screwed? And the answer is yes! Lot's of people. People end up with very poor grades because they don't know how to write a law school exam. People get unlucky and don't click with any of their interviewers. People get no-offered after their 2L SA. People get offers rescinded. A substantial number of people end up in that 20-25% despite doing everything right.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:50 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:You still seem to be overlooking the fact that not all smaller firms pay $50k/year, and a lot of government jobs are really fucking awesome jobs if you can get them. Decent pay + LRAP + (a lot of times) 40/hr work weeks


I'm not demeaning gov jobs for not being awesome, I'm demeaning them for being rare. Not all smaller firms pay 50k, true, but I think it makes sense to assume that they pay is more likely to be around 50k.

That being said, of the 40% of 2011ers who didn't get biglaw/clerkship, over a third of them ended up unemployed, temping, or employed PT. Yes c/o 2011 was quite awful, but it's not like being unemployed/underemployed is a rarity for people who miss biglaw.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:58 pm

At least when I talk about "people in a bad spot" I'm not talking about people who have jobs at smaller firms that still pay decently, or any sort of public interest/government job at all. Some of my friends from C/O 2012 are working as public defenders, and that's a great job--getting real trial experience while being IBR eligible. I'm talking about my friends who are doing temporary work with school funding or working non-law jobs or not doing anything at all.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Samara » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:33 pm

Anyone know the percentage of people who end up in market-paying non-biglaw jobs (boutiques, legit business jobs, etc.)? I know it's small, but are we talking closer to 1% or 10%?

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby alabamabound » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:36 pm

bjsesq wrote:
alabamabound wrote:Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.


Us Winston no offers really think you should go fuck yourself.


Just trying to offer an honest response to the employment question. Obviously, I've heard some about the Winston situation. You certainly have way more insight into that than I do. I hope things turn around for you.

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bjsesq
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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bjsesq » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:49 pm

alabamabound wrote:
bjsesq wrote:
alabamabound wrote:Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.


Us Winston no offers really think you should go fuck yourself.


Just trying to offer an honest response to the employment question. Obviously, I've heard some about the Winston situation. You certainly have way more insight into that than I do. I hope things turn around for you.


But let's be honest: you aren't really surprised, AMIRITE? Do you have any idea how insulting that shit is?

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:14 am

Samara wrote:Anyone know the percentage of people who end up in market-paying non-biglaw jobs (boutiques, legit business jobs, etc.)? I know it's small, but are we talking closer to 1% or 10%?


Typically about 5% of the whole class are JD-MBA's who end up in business jobs. There are usually half a dozen people between all of the IP boutiques around here (Banner, MBHB, etc). Another half dozen at the mid law places (Neal Gerber Tressler, Schefsky). A couple of people at one of the litigation boutiques (Eimer, Grippo). Note that not all of these places pay market, but they all pay six figures.

As a 1L, the big takeaway for you is to not ignore these avenues. There are opportunities outside the NLJ 250. Even a decent commercial lit small firm starting at $80k is going to give you some opportunities for upwards mobility down the line, and there are a number of those here in Chicago.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:26 am

bjsesq wrote:But let's be honest: you aren't really surprised, AMIRITE? Do you have any idea how insulting that shit is?


Law students are awesome.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Samara » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:35 am

rayiner wrote:
Samara wrote:Anyone know the percentage of people who end up in market-paying non-biglaw jobs (boutiques, legit business jobs, etc.)? I know it's small, but are we talking closer to 1% or 10%?


Typically about 5% of the whole class are JD-MBA's who end up in business jobs. There are usually half a dozen people between all of the IP boutiques around here (Banner, MBHB, etc). Another half dozen at the mid law places (Neal Gerber Tressler, Schefsky). A couple of people at one of the litigation boutiques (Eimer, Grippo). Note that not all of these places pay market, but they all pay six figures.

As a 1L, the big takeaway for you is to not ignore these avenues. There are opportunities outside the NLJ 250. Even a decent commercial lit small firm starting at $80k is going to give you some opportunities for upwards mobility down the line, and there are a number of those here in Chicago.

Yeah, that's what I meant by market-paying. Perhaps debt-servicable salary is a better term to use. I'm definitely going to hit all the opportunities I can find. Boutiques are very appealing, but seem akin to lottery tickets for someone like me, unless I somehow end up with top grades. The cost of trying is low though, so might as well.

The difficulty I ran up against in working on my 1L mass mailing is how to target good smalllaw and midlaw options. Culling from Chambers, NLJ, Vault, etc. is easy enough, but I haven't yet figured out how to effectively build my mass mail list beyond that. I'd like to treat the 1L job hunt as a trial run for the 2L job hunt as much as is practical.

Anyway, I've put this all on the back burner until November when I can talk to CSO. I'm sure I'll be asking for help then. :mrgreen:

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:46 am

Samara wrote:
rayiner wrote:
Samara wrote:Anyone know the percentage of people who end up in market-paying non-biglaw jobs (boutiques, legit business jobs, etc.)? I know it's small, but are we talking closer to 1% or 10%?


Typically about 5% of the whole class are JD-MBA's who end up in business jobs. There are usually half a dozen people between all of the IP boutiques around here (Banner, MBHB, etc). Another half dozen at the mid law places (Neal Gerber Tressler, Schefsky). A couple of people at one of the litigation boutiques (Eimer, Grippo). Note that not all of these places pay market, but they all pay six figures.

As a 1L, the big takeaway for you is to not ignore these avenues. There are opportunities outside the NLJ 250. Even a decent commercial lit small firm starting at $80k is going to give you some opportunities for upwards mobility down the line, and there are a number of those here in Chicago.

Yeah, that's what I meant by market-paying. Perhaps debt-servicable salary is a better term to use. I'm definitely going to hit all the opportunities I can find. Boutiques are very appealing, but seem akin to lottery tickets for someone like me, unless I somehow end up with top grades. The cost of trying is low though, so might as well.

The difficulty I ran up against in working on my 1L mass mailing is how to target good smalllaw and midlaw options. Culling from Chambers, NLJ, Vault, etc. is easy enough, but I haven't yet figured out how to effectively build my mass mail list beyond that. I'd like to treat the 1L job hunt as a trial run for the 2L job hunt as much as is practical.

Anyway, I've put this all on the back burner until November when I can talk to CSO. I'm sure I'll be asking for help then. :mrgreen:


Martindale, narrow search by firm size, 25-100 attorneys.

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Samara
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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Samara » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:56 am

rayiner wrote:Martindale, narrow search by firm size, 25-100 attorneys.

And hit everybody? There's so many and I can't figure out a quick way to get out all the info like with NALP forms.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby pack_85 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:45 pm

bk1 wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:Hello rising 3Ls :D

Could you shed some light on any of these areas?:


I'm a 2L but I'll do my best to answer.

PaulAtriedes wrote:2) 2 Year Degrees. What are your thoughts on the accelerated (2 year) JD program? I'm skeptical about it.

There's not a lot of hard data here. My guess is that the AJD program gives worse employment prospects than the JD program, but I'm not sure by how much. All the AJDs I know tend to have done well, but it's hard to tell how much of that is due to their work experience (which seems to be higher than even the regular class). It's also not that much of a money saver since it's more of a 2.5 year program (you start in the summer). I personally wouldn't risk it and would do the JD program, but I think that while the difference is real, it's not monumental.


Current AJD student here. I'm not sure that the employment prospects are worse, but I think it's bc of the WE you allude to. The AJD program is somewhat self-selecting in that almost everyone is coming in with either 4+ years of WE or an advanced degree (or both). Maybe like 1 or 2 people in my class didn't come in with either, and they've got some other bullet points on their resumes that make up for it. The class that just went through OCI did pretty well. I don't know the exact % of people with "big law" gigs, but I would be shocked if it wasn't as good as the normal program. Major markets, V5, V10, all that stuff. I don't think the employment thing is more of an issue than it is with a 3yr JD...getting a job is going to be tough sledding regardless. Basically, I don't think there is any stigma attached to the Accelerated JD program, but I know that wasn't always the case. But I will say that a student who may have graduated undergrad last year then spent a year as a clerk or waiter or something might be better served by the 3yr program (don't read that with a condescending tone).

This is not blatant pro-AJD trolling -- there are surely drawbacks of the program. Heavier class load = harder to do extracurriculars (I think like 10/30 even tried to write on for a journal; not sure how that compares with the 3yr program). Most people I know are banking on intersession classes to hit their hours. I am planning on taking a night class next summer after work. The summer classes are held to the same curve but with 30 people (this sucks). You go through OCI with one semester of grades, so the summer is uber-important and intense. Pros = can start working (making money) earlier; 1L essentially lasts for 10 wks during the summer vs two semesters; it is real easy to sell the program at OCI...I can go on, but I've typed too much. Feel free to PM if you want more info.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Georgia Avenue » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:21 pm

homestyle28 wrote:Just to pile on: Going through OCI with good WE is helpful (I didn't really have good WE, but an interesting/unique one that got mentioned in every interview, though some might have viewed my background negatively). Never think you can work your way above the curve at a good school, pretty much everyone here is smart, dedicated and hardworking (at least when it comes to grades). There are two things you can do (at any school) to better your chances:
1)Mass Mail pre-OCI - Career services may tell you you don't need to, but you do. It's not that hard (fwiw I didn't do so and very much regreted it).
2) Be as geographically flexible as possible. I was largely in a "Chicago or bust" mindset and came very (very!) close to the bust. It's brutal, there really isn't any safe GPA in Chicago (maybe 4.0+?). People I know who were either serious about considering other smaller markets (and had the requisite ties) or targeted NYC are doing just fine, even well below median folk.

As a final point, (as IAFG often liked to point out in the NU OCI thread) getting a job isn't law school admissions and a lot of the objectivity is out the window. I uniformly stuck out at firms where my GPA was well above there #s. I know people on LR who struck out (by targeting only Chicago and not mass mailing) and I know people well below median with multiple offers.

TL;DR: I echo what's already been said.


this this this

Holy shit, LR people struck out in Chicago? I had a feeling it was bad this year, but got damn.

Another general theme here: take what CSO says with a very large grain of salt. Had I followed my advisor's advice to a T re: bidding, geographic location, and mass mail, I would have also struck out.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:29 am

Georgia Avenue wrote:
this this this

Holy shit, LR people struck out in Chicago? I had a feeling it was bad this year, but got damn.

Another general theme here: take what CSO says with a very large grain of salt. Had I followed my advisor's advice to a T re: bidding, geographic location, and mass mail, I would have also struck out.

LR people striking out isn't exactly unique to this class.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby homestyle28 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:54 am

IAFG wrote:
Georgia Avenue wrote:
this this this

Holy shit, LR people struck out in Chicago? I had a feeling it was bad this year, but got damn.

Another general theme here: take what CSO says with a very large grain of salt. Had I followed my advisor's advice to a T re: bidding, geographic location, and mass mail, I would have also struck out.

LR people striking out isn't exactly unique to this class.


I had heard that before OCI...I guess I didn't really believe it. The LR person I know is surprising to me because he/she seems very likable/articulate (not a LR aspie) so i would imagine interviews well. I do think he/she might have believed that LR was a golden ticket because Chicago was really the only market bid on.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bdubs » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:51 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Georgia Avenue wrote:
this this this

Holy shit, LR people struck out in Chicago? I had a feeling it was bad this year, but got damn.

Another general theme here: take what CSO says with a very large grain of salt. Had I followed my advisor's advice to a T re: bidding, geographic location, and mass mail, I would have also struck out.

LR people striking out isn't exactly unique to this class.


I had heard that before OCI...I guess I didn't really believe it. The LR person I know is surprising to me because he/she seems very likable/articulate (not a LR aspie) so i would imagine interviews well. I do think he/she might have believed that LR was a golden ticket because Chicago was really the only market bid on.


I think people forget that 1/3 of LR is people who wrote on and don't necessarily have tippy top grades.
Last edited by bdubs on Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:31 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Georgia Avenue wrote:
this this this

Holy shit, LR people struck out in Chicago? I had a feeling it was bad this year, but got damn.

Another general theme here: take what CSO says with a very large grain of salt. Had I followed my advisor's advice to a T re: bidding, geographic location, and mass mail, I would have also struck out.

LR people striking out isn't exactly unique to this class.


I had heard that before OCI...I guess I didn't really believe it. The LR person I know is surprising to me because he/she seems very likable/articulate (not a LR aspie) so i would imagine interviews well. I do think he/she might have believed that LR was a golden ticket because Chicago was really the only market bid on.


Of the 40-42 people on law review each year, 26 are selected based on grades + writing competition, 10 are selected purely on writing competition, and 4-6 are selected purely on writing competition among transfers. Because writing competition is weighed equally with grades, even people who "grade on" to law review may have grades as low as top 1/4 if they have a stellar writing competition entry. People who write-on would seem to necessarily be outside the top 1/4, otherwise given their stellar writing competition entry they probably would have graded-on.

Top 1/4 + LR might get Sidley, but is not a lock for a job at OCI by any means if they screw up bidding or get arrogant in interviews.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:36 pm

bdubs wrote:
I think people forget that 1/3 of LR is people who wrote on and don't necessarily have tippy top grades. Not saying that people with top grades won't strike out, but it's probably more likely that LR strike outs are write-ons who get a big head.

I don't think there's any real basis for this accusation. There are so many things that can go wrong before you get to attitude or interview skills.

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bdubs » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:51 am

IAFG wrote:
bdubs wrote:
I think people forget that 1/3 of LR is people who wrote on and don't necessarily have tippy top grades. Not saying that people with top grades won't strike out, but it's probably more likely that LR strike outs are write-ons who get a big head.

I don't think there's any real basis for this accusation. There are so many things that can go wrong before you get to attitude or interview skills.


Retracted

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Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PenguinMarch » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:38 pm

How much do any of the positions for a 1L matter? It seems like it would almost not be worth putting it on your resume.




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