Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
diegoforlan10
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:10 am

Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby diegoforlan10 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:32 pm

In various threads around TLS, and most noticeably in the "2L No Motivation" thread, I see people talking about 2L year as if it is completely irrelevant. Why is this? I understand that 1L year is extremely important - OCI is all about first year grades, and if you crush 1L and crush OCI you're set for the rest of school. Is the flip side of this that if you bomb 1L year you're screwed in OCI and screwed for the rest of law school?

I can understand why the very top and the very bottoms of a class will stop caring about grades after first year, but what about those in near the median? Can't they advance into the upper 30% or 25% by killing it 2L year? Or is this unheard of?

And when you say you don't care about 2L year, are you just saying that to make it sound like you don't try as hard as you really do, or do you actually not put in anywhere near the same amount of effort as you did the year before?

admisionquestion
Posts: 473
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:16 am

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby admisionquestion » Mon May 14, 2012 5:38 pm

It was nice to hear you think outloud!

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby kaiser » Mon May 14, 2012 5:42 pm

If you get a good jerb at OCI, then 2L likely matters very little. If you didn't get a jerb at OCI, then 2L matters a lot

User avatar
diegoforlan10
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:10 am

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby diegoforlan10 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:45 pm

kaiser wrote:If you get a good jerb at OCI, then 2L likely matters very little. If you didn't get a jerb at OCI, then 2L matters a lot


Can a firm take back their offer if you bomb the rest of law school? How poorly do you have to do for this to happen?

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon May 14, 2012 5:46 pm

Most (or at least a good chunk) of those people have biglaw summer jobs lined up that should most likely result in a permanent offer at the end of the summer. Thus, grades are not that important (though most people don't want to tempt fate and have a huge drop in GPA). Also, it's important to note that you don't necessarily have to kill it 1L year if you go to a school with strong placement. Thus, this is why people on TLS continuously advise people to retake to maximize their LSAT score--it's worth it to be able to get biglaw when you're only median (or lower) after 1L year as oppossed to having to be top 5 or 10% to have a chance at biglaw at a lower ranked school.

User avatar
shintopig
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby shintopig » Mon May 14, 2012 6:19 pm

diegoforlan10 wrote:In various threads around TLS, and most noticeably in the "2L No Motivation" thread, I see people talking about 2L year as if it is completely irrelevant. Why is this? I understand that 1L year is extremely important - OCI is all about first year grades, and if you crush 1L and crush OCI you're set for the rest of school. Is the flip side of this that if you bomb 1L year you're screwed in OCI and screwed for the rest of law school?

I can understand why the very top and the very bottoms of a class will stop caring about grades after first year, but what about those in near the median? Can't they advance into the upper 30% or 25% by killing it 2L year? Or is this unheard of?

And when you say you don't care about 2L year, are you just saying that to make it sound like you don't try as hard as you really do, or do you actually not put in anywhere near the same amount of effort as you did the year before?


1. Your legal work between 1L & 2L (if any) depend on your 1L grades. That externship/job will make you more competitive for the real paid work between 2L & 3L. So if you do poorly in your first year you won't get that coveted legal experience you NEED in the 2L summer. You'll be a year behind everyone if you fall behind as a 1L.

2. Law Review for most schools is decided either half-way between or at the end of the 1L year. If you don't kill as a 1L then you stand a slim chance of making Law Review or the Journal of your Choice. Many Big-Law jobs and other competitve attorney positions really value or sometimes demand LR. If you slack of a bit as a 2L you can still be on LR and not worry about being dropped; once your on, you're on for good unless you totally screw up. So the pressure is really on your GPA as a 1L to make LR then not so much as a 2L.

3. Starting off poorly in Law School means you're going to pick up bad habits, poor study rituals, poor study-buddies etc. If you start strong you put yourself in the best position to get the externships, research positions & jobs that people really want during their 3 years.

4. 1L is considered to be more tedious and strenuous. Although your 2L and 3L years will be busy and hectic as well, your basic classes (Contract, Torts, Criminal etc.) will be more cut and dry. So thats why you need to be so much more concentrated because its a lot more book-work and its easier to get lost (even though everyone will be lost to begin with) and fall behind. As a veteran law student later on in your 2nd & 3rd years you'll be able to handle yourself better and you would already have the tools to suceed. You often will work at a job instead of sitting in lectures, extern, research or do other things that you don't get graded for as much. So your GPA from your 1L will be more difficult to improve & deviate from later on.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon May 14, 2012 6:59 pm

shintopig wrote:
diegoforlan10 wrote:In various threads around TLS, and most noticeably in the "2L No Motivation" thread, I see people talking about 2L year as if it is completely irrelevant. Why is this? I understand that 1L year is extremely important - OCI is all about first year grades, and if you crush 1L and crush OCI you're set for the rest of school. Is the flip side of this that if you bomb 1L year you're screwed in OCI and screwed for the rest of law school?

I can understand why the very top and the very bottoms of a class will stop caring about grades after first year, but what about those in near the median? Can't they advance into the upper 30% or 25% by killing it 2L year? Or is this unheard of?

And when you say you don't care about 2L year, are you just saying that to make it sound like you don't try as hard as you really do, or do you actually not put in anywhere near the same amount of effort as you did the year before?


1. Your legal work between 1L & 2L (if any) depend on your 1L grades. That externship/job will make you more competitive for the real paid work between 2L & 3L. So if you do poorly in your first year you won't get that coveted legal experience you NEED in the 2L summer. You'll be a year behind everyone if you fall behind as a 1L.

2. Law Review for most schools is decided either half-way between or at the end of the 1L year. If you don't kill as a 1L then you stand a slim chance of making Law Review or the Journal of your Choice. Many Big-Law jobs and other competitve attorney positions really value or sometimes demand LR. If you slack of a bit as a 2L you can still be on LR and not worry about being dropped; once your on, you're on for good unless you totally screw up. So the pressure is really on your GPA as a 1L to make LR then not so much as a 2L.

3. Starting off poorly in Law School means you're going to pick up bad habits, poor study rituals, poor study-buddies etc. If you start strong you put yourself in the best position to get the externships, research positions & jobs that people really want during their 3 years.

4. 1L is considered to be more tedious and strenuous. Although your 2L and 3L years will be busy and hectic as well, your basic classes (Contract, Torts, Criminal etc.) will be more cut and dry. So thats why you need to be so much more concentrated because its a lot more book-work and its easier to get lost (even though everyone will be lost to begin with) and fall behind. As a veteran law student later on in your 2nd & 3rd years you'll be able to handle yourself better and you would already have the tools to suceed. You often will work at a job instead of sitting in lectures, extern, research or do other things that you don't get graded for as much. So your GPA from your 1L will be more difficult to improve & deviate from later on.


Not trying to be a dick, but why are you giving advice on what it's like being a 1L, 2L, or 3L when you are still a 0L? I wouldn't have noticed except that you described each year pretty strangely and your descriptions were either misleading or just incorrect at times. To correct a few:
-Most 1L summer jobs are not based on your 1L grades. Many biglaw 1L SA's will require 1st semester grades before making decisions (same with some judges), but it is possible to get many summer jobs w/o grades. (You can even get 1L SA's if you come from a high ranked school, you interview over christmas break, and they like you--as long as your grades are bad enough for them to change their mind.) Even if you get medicore grades, you are not sunk (at least at UT). You will just have to hustle more.
-What you do your 1L summer is as valuable as you can make it during the ~5-10 minutes you talk about it during your OCI interview. As long as you did legal work, there really isn't huge disparities in advantages of any given 1L job--the one exception being a 1L SA where you get invited back as a 2L. There might be some bump for having a 1L SA, but the biggest advantage is the safety net of already having something before OCI begins.
-Your 1L grades CAN make or break you during OCI at the beginning of 2L. This is why 1L grades matter. If you want biglaw, the model is built to do most all its hiring during 2L OCI. You miss this boat, you are probably out of luck.
-Value of law review depends on how strong your the placement of your school is. If you're at, say, CCN, then LR is not necessary for most, if not all firms (maybe Susman wouldn't like you if you weren't on LR?). If your school's placement is not so hot, then LR can be helpful, but it's your 1L grades that are still the number one factor for 2L OCI. And secondary journals are secondary journals. Some might have a better reputation at your particular school, but employers will probably not pay much attention to the difference between one or another.
-Not sure what schools do a write-on for LR after first semester. I know other journals do that. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I don't know what schools do this.
-Your third point is just silly.
-2L year is generally much busier than 1L year.
-2L grades matter for 1) people who didn't get biglaw at OCI and 2) people gunning for clerkships. People who gun for clerkships can definitely improve their GPA as a 2L. People who didn't get biglaw areshould probably be doing what you describe.
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Mon May 14, 2012 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ludo!
Posts: 4764
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby Ludo! » Mon May 14, 2012 7:38 pm

+1 to everything Richie said. That post was weird.

Also, OP, you are looking at a lot of self selection in the 2l no motivation thread. The people in that thread that give no fucks generally have 2l SAs and no scholarship stips. I think the ones that don't have those two things are still working hard. A lot of my 2l classmates are still gunning like crazy

User avatar
shintopig
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby shintopig » Mon May 14, 2012 7:56 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Not trying to be a dick, but why are you giving advice on what it's like being a 1L, 2L, or 3L when you are still a 0L? I wouldn't have noticed except that you described each year pretty strangely and your descriptions were either misleading or just incorrect at times. To correct a few:
-Most 1L summer jobs are not based on your 1L grades. Many biglaw 1L SA's will require 1st semester grades before making decisions (same with some judges), but it is possible to get many summer jobs w/o grades. (You can even get 1L SA's if you come from a high ranked school, you interview over christmas break, and they like you--as long as your grades are bad enough for them to change their mind.) Even if you get medicore grades, you are not sunk (at least at UT). You will just have to hustle more.
-What you do your 1L summer is as valuable as you can make it during the ~5-10 minutes you talk about it during your OCI interview. As long as you did legal work, there really isn't huge disparities in advantages of any given 1L job--the one exception being a 1L SA where you get invited back as a 2L. There might be some bump for having a 1L SA, but the biggest advantage is the safety net of already having something before OCI begins.
-Your 1L grades CAN make or break you during OCI at the beginning of 2L. This is why 1L grades matter. If you want biglaw, the model is built to do most all its hiring during 2L OCI. You miss this boat, you are probably out of luck.
-Value of law review depends on how strong your the placement of your school is. If you're at, say, CCN, then LR is not necessary for most, if not all firms (maybe Susman wouldn't like you if you weren't on LR?). If your school's placement is not so hot, then LR can be helpful, but it's your 1L grades that are still the number one factor for 2L OCI. And secondary journals are secondary journals. Some might have a better reputation at your particular school, but employers will probably not pay much attention to the difference between one or another.
-Not sure what schools do a write-on for LR after first semester. I know other journals do that. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I don't know what schools do this.
-Your third point is just silly.
-2L year is generally much busier than 1L year.
-2L grades matter for 1) people who didn't get biglaw at OCI and 2) people gunning for clerkships. People who gun for clerkships can definitely improve their GPA as a 2L. People who didn't get biglaw are should probably be doing what you describe.


- Given the economy and the fact that many law firms & government programs are cutting the 1L-2L Summer job/internships, I find it hard to believe that said legal opportunities are not heavily based on your 1st year grades (especially your first semester). I mean I get it that you can get jobs based of previous connections, but for many students who are stepping fresh into the legal field they will have to show off only 3-4 months of legal experience in the form of 1L classes. This is exactly why 1L is so important.

- I think you may have not gotten the point. Getting one of the few 1L summer jobs with a good law firm, judge, gov't dept etc. is hard enough. Many students don't work in the legal field at all inbetween 1L & 2L. So maybe everyone in the T14/T25 get 1L summer jobs, but other schools have a tougher time. So getting your aformentioned saftey net after 1 year of law school is hard enough. Do well as a 1L and you put yourself in a position to get that net. I can't say that we know enough about the OP to say that he'll be fine in his 1L summer so he can slack a bit in his grades.

- Your comments about Law Review don't really negate mine. 0L or not, doing well your first year is HUGE for making LR.

- I'm not quite sure why my 3rd point is silly. Given it's soft, but in my view, hitting the ground running and getting a nice GPA first-year starts your law school life better. You start to understand more about how to budget your time, how to handle the work-load, how to include your extra-curriculars & social life. This may seem obvious to you, so you say its silly. But for a 0L, making sure that you're super focused right off the bat helps to ensure future sucess. Learning this as a 2L is too late.

- I really never said the 2L would be less busy than 1L. Its a different sort of busy.

- And I'm not quite sure I get what you mean in your last bullet when you said "People who didn't get biglaw are should probably be doing what you describe."

User avatar
stillwater
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby stillwater » Mon May 14, 2012 8:00 pm

^^^^^

Why are you commenting if you are a OL?

User avatar
Ludo!
Posts: 4764
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby Ludo! » Mon May 14, 2012 8:02 pm

I don't have the patience to point out all the things you are wrong about but dude, this isn't the "Ask a 0l what he think law school is gonna be like" forum.

User avatar
beachbum
Posts: 2766
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby beachbum » Mon May 14, 2012 8:05 pm

stillwater wrote:^^^^^

Why are you commenting if you are a OL?


Does seem strange to have an 0L giving us the Straight Truth on law school.

User avatar
20121109
Posts: 2149
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:19 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby 20121109 » Mon May 14, 2012 8:07 pm

May I please remind posters that this is the

"Ask a Law Student/Graduate forum"

If you are neither, please refrain from giving advice ITT. Your pontifications are unwelcome.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon May 14, 2012 8:23 pm

shintopig wrote:- Given the economy and the fact that many law firms & government programs are cutting the 1L-2L Summer job/internships, I find it hard to believe that said legal opportunities are not heavily based on your 1st year grades (especially your first semester). I mean I get it that you can get jobs based of previous connections, but for many students who are stepping fresh into the legal field they will have to show off only 3-4 months of legal experience in the form of 1L classes. This is exactly why 1L is so important.


Huh? What government internships are being cut? These are usually non-paying jobs--not sure why they would turn away free labor. Judicial internships, non-profit internships, and government internships probably make up the bulk of 1L summer jobs. (I guess RA's maybe should be on that list too?) The economy have too much affect on any of these b/c they are usually non-paying (or minimal paying) or covered by grant money from your school. These jobs do not require previous connections. They require hustling with mass mails.

It's good of you to notice that "especially your first semester" matters for 1L summer jobs since that IS the only semester that matters. (Unless you are trying to get a job in late May or June....)

shintopig wrote:- I think you may have not gotten the point. Getting one of the few 1L summer jobs with a good law firm, judge, gov't dept etc. is hard enough. Many students don't work in the legal field at all inbetween 1L & 2L. So maybe everyone in the T14/T25 get 1L summer jobs, but other schools have a tougher time. So getting your aformentioned saftey net after 1 year of law school is hard enough. Do well as a 1L and you put yourself in a position to get that net. I can't say that we know enough about the OP to say that he'll be fine in his 1L summer so he can slack a bit in his grades.


I didn't think 1L summer legal jobs were hogged by top schools. Question to current law students: Do a substantial 1Ls at TT's and TTT's really not get legal summer jobs? I always thought it was a question of hustling.

shintopig wrote:I'm not quite sure why my 3rd point is silly. Given it's soft, but in my view, hitting the ground running and getting a nice GPA first-year starts your law school life better. You start to understand more about how to budget your time, how to handle the work-load, how to include your extra-curriculars & social life. This may seem obvious to you, so you say its silly. But for a 0L, making sure that you're super focused right off the bat helps to ensure future sucess. Learning this as a 2L is too late.

Your third point was silly b/c if you bomb as a 1L your problem is not having bad study habbits and a bad study group...it's trying to hustle to find a job.

shintopig wrote:I really never said the 2L would be less busy than 1L. Its a different sort of busy.

Could you describe this more? I would love to hear the differences from someone who has experienced neither.

shintopig wrote:And I'm not quite sure I get what you mean in your last bullet when you said "People who didn't get biglaw are should probably be doing what you describe."

Sorry, typo. Omit the "are."

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: Why are people so nonchalant about their 2L grades?

Postby adonai » Mon May 14, 2012 8:56 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
shintopig wrote:I think you may have not gotten the point. Getting one of the few 1L summer jobs with a good law firm, judge, gov't dept etc. is hard enough. Many students don't work in the legal field at all inbetween 1L & 2L. So maybe everyone in the T14/T25 get 1L summer jobs, but other schools have a tougher time. So getting your aformentioned saftey net after 1 year of law school is hard enough. Do well as a 1L and you put yourself in a position to get that net. I can't say that we know enough about the OP to say that he'll be fine in his 1L summer so he can slack a bit in his grades.


I didn't think 1L summer legal jobs were hogged by top schools. Question to current law students: Do a substantial 1Ls at TT's and TTT's really not get legal summer jobs? I always thought it was a question of hustling.

It is posters like shintopig that made me think I was doomed when I did not have a summer job by April. 1L Legal jobs are plentiful, and they're still being advertised even now when school is over. I'd pretty much say 99% of 1Ls can get a legit legal job if they hustle, like Richie says. FWIW, I am at a TTT with two fed. judge internships lined up, and I don't have the best grades. Sure, I may be screwed for permanent employment, but for the purposes of 1Ls not at top schools not being able to get good 1L jobs, shintopig's statement is kind of ridiculous. That being said, the real problem about TTT kids is that they are usually uninformed about the possibilities and opportunities out there and decide to just do summer school. This is a much more significant factor than most on this board would believe it to be.

shintopig wrote:I'm not quite sure why my 3rd point is silly. Given it's soft, but in my view, hitting the ground running and getting a nice GPA first-year starts your law school life better. You start to understand more about how to budget your time, how to handle the work-load, how to include your extra-curriculars & social life. This may seem obvious to you, so you say its silly. But for a 0L, making sure that you're super focused right off the bat helps to ensure future sucess. Learning this as a 2L is too late.


Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Your third point was silly b/c if you bomb as a 1L your problem is not having bad study habbits and a bad study group...it's trying to hustle to find a job.

If you bomb 1L your problem is the curve.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: enibs, White Dwarf and 5 guests