Do Your Grades Matter 2nd/3rd Year, or Only First Yr?

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Do Your Grades Matter 2nd/3rd Year, or Only First Yr?

Postby scifiguy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:55 am

Hi guys,

I've read a little bit here and talked to some law school students about grades. I guess this post is just to get more feedback to possibly correct any misgivings I may have about grades in law school. I have actually done a bit of homework on this, but still am not sure that I fully understand it all since I heard and read diff. things.

I'd greatly appreciate if those who have experience might be able to just correct (or add to) anything that may be wrong here:

1st Year Grades:
These are the "most" important, because they serve as a basis for qualifying for the most desirable types of legal internships that you interview for in the summer after IL.

2nd Year Grades & 3rd Grades:
This is where I'd love to hear some feedback.

On one extreme, I've seen posters say that you might as well throw in the towel if you had "bad" grades after IL and either drop out of law school (unless you're at Harvard, Stanford, or Yale) or just not even worry about grades and focus on developing skills for working in a small local type of law firm. Some have said to me that it's just very very hard to catch up in grades and that your future is likely set after IL.

Is it that hard to improve your grades after IL considering that there are two years left in law school?? That sounds like a lot of time: 2/3 of your law school career is still ahead! Why would it not be possible to learn from your mistakes, work very hard & smart, and then overtake your classmates in grades down the stretch and come out at the top of your class after 3L?

Lastly, for those who did do well in terms of grades after IL, is it possible to lose a summer associate or desirable internship position after 2L if your second year grades dropped considerably? Do firms ask to see how you did after 2L? And, conversely, if you had low grades after 1L, but skyrocketed after 2L, do those same firms care about the drastic improvement and would they consider you at that point?

The idea of IL grades determining so much feels kind of ...well, maybe unfair to me. Wouldn't firms want to see your class rank after three full years of law school?

I know that's a lot to ask and discuss. Still, I greatly appreciate any advice and perspective you guys may be able to give. Thanks very much!

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Re: Do Your Grades Matter 2nd/3rd Year, or Only First Yr?

Postby dingbat » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:19 am

The issue is that generally you interview for a job for your second summer in the beginning of fall semester - when you only have your first year grades. That summer job will probably offer you a full time position after you graduate if you don't fuck up, so if you got a good one, you can basically coast - just don't do so badly to give them cause to reconsider (firm-dependent how much they care). If you don't get a good option, or change your mind, it's not the end of the world, but it's an uphill struggle and your 2L/3L grades will matter a lot. Ideally, you don't want to be in that position

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Re: Do Your Grades Matter 2nd/3rd Year, or Only First Yr?

Postby The Duck » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:45 am

1L grades are absolutely the most important.

2L are important but not critical if you have an offer for 2L summer somewhere that typically hires. If you drop a lot your firm may care. I you get no-offered you'll be applying for jobs again.

3L are important if you don't have an offer for after you graduate.

All of them can be somewhat important down the road. Some firms have been known to ask for your graduating GPA when evaluating laterals. A head hunter even told me once they were instructed (in DC) to throw away all resumes below a 3.5 (for a top firm).

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