Work experience advantage?

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wussup188
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Work experience advantage?

Postby wussup188 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:54 pm

Hi guys,

I'm about to graduate college and start my job as a litigation consultant this coming fall. I was wondering how big law firms view this sort of experience? Does it give any sort of advantage? Does anyone have experience or have friends with experience in situations similar to mine? I'm planning on staying with my job for 2 years and then go to law school.

For you forum jumpers, sorry about posting this in the wrong forum!

Thanks.

tourdeforcex
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby tourdeforcex » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:49 am

if you want to work in biglaw, it's great experience in the eyes of biglaw. it does give an advantage.

what kind of advantage? my guess: you might skip to a callback at that firm. it does not get you an offer. i.e. 2 years as a lit. consultant does not give you a .4 GPA bump.

i think the true advantage is that you can speak more realistically and more credibly when you say you want to do lit in biglaw or that you want to practice X. students w/ no work experience just seem more naive and less credible when they say they want to do.

the important part is not external though. it's that you personally will gain more experience in a space you're considering later on (hopefully).

wussup188
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby wussup188 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:26 am

Thanks for the reply! One more question - do you think this experience will give any boost in law school admissions/scholarships?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:09 am

wussup188 wrote:Thanks for the reply! One more question - do you think this experience will give any boost in law school admissions/scholarships?

Probably not; maybe a tiny bit. The application process really is 98% LSAT and GPA, 2% everything else. It's more of an advantage in interviewing for legal jobs than it is in getting into schools.

sparty99
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby sparty99 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:19 am

wussup188 wrote:Hi guys,

I'm about to graduate college and start my job as a litigation consultant this coming fall. I was wondering how big law firms view this sort of experience? Does it give any sort of advantage? Does anyone have experience or have friends with experience in situations similar to mine? I'm planning on staying with my job for 2 years and then go to law school.

For you forum jumpers, sorry about posting this in the wrong forum!

Thanks.


No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

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IAFG
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby IAFG » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:23 am

sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.

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hmlee
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby hmlee » Wed May 01, 2013 11:42 am

wussup188 wrote:Thanks for the reply! One more question - do you think this experience will give any boost in law school admissions/scholarships?


At certain schools it will. For a very long time Northwestern was known as having that reputation. I'm not sure if that's changed with the new dean, though.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed May 01, 2013 12:15 pm

hmlee wrote:
wussup188 wrote:Thanks for the reply! One more question - do you think this experience will give any boost in law school admissions/scholarships?


At certain schools it will. For a very long time Northwestern was known as having that reputation. I'm not sure if that's changed with the new dean, though.


Anecdata (copy & paste from another reply) take from it what you will

During the 2010-2011 cycle I applied directly out of undergrad (less than 1 year of WE) and was waitlisted at Duke, Columbia, Georgetown, Northwestern, & American, accepted at Temple with (90k), and rejected at a number of other places with a 3.65/169.

I took 2 years "off" from the law school application process. I worked as a shitlaw paralegal 1 year at a firm that is truly as bottom of the barrel as you can get and 1 year as a paralegal for an estates and probate firm. During this time I gained an amazing sense of what (some) attorneys actually DO, really confirmed my interest in going to law school, and gained invaluable professional skills...both in the office and just being an adult in general.

This cycle I emphasized the things I learned through my work experience in my PS (and actually specifically referenced my failed previous cycle in my PS), wrote highly tailored Why Xs (something I didn't do in the previous cycle), had 2 stellar LORs from attorneys I work with extremely closely, and a dramatically improved resume.

This cycle I was accepted to BU (60K), Fordham (90K), OSU (42K), GW (75K), Cornell (60K), Georgetown, Duke (60K), Michigan; Waitlisted at Penn, Columbia & Northwestern (I dunno?). Here, I do disagree with the conventional TLS wisdom a bit that softs don't matter. I think the presentation of your application, work experience, PS, and overall narrative CAN be significant if you can create a narrative that shows an appealing candidate in CONJUNCTION with strong numbers (my situation is obvious proof that numbers aren't the only thing that matter).

Randomnumbers
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby Randomnumbers » Wed May 01, 2013 12:28 pm

CaptainLeela wrote:Anecdata (copy & paste from another reply) take from it what you will

During the 2010-2011 cycle I applied directly out of undergrad (less than 1 year of WE) and was waitlisted at Duke, Columbia, Georgetown, Northwestern, & American, accepted at Temple with (90k), and rejected at a number of other places with a 3.65/169.

I took 2 years "off" from the law school application process. I worked as a shitlaw paralegal 1 year at a firm that is truly as bottom of the barrel as you can get and 1 year as a paralegal for an estates and probate firm. During this time I gained an amazing sense of what (some) attorneys actually DO, really confirmed my interest in going to law school, and gained invaluable professional skills...both in the office and just being an adult in general.

This cycle I emphasized the things I learned through my work experience in my PS (and actually specifically referenced my failed previous cycle in my PS), wrote highly tailored Why Xs (something I didn't do in the previous cycle), had 2 stellar LORs from attorneys I work with extremely closely, and a dramatically improved resume.

This cycle I was accepted to BU (60K), Fordham (90K), OSU (42K), GW (75K), Cornell (60K), Georgetown, Duke (60K), Michigan; Waitlisted at Penn, Columbia & Northwestern (I dunno?). Here, I do disagree with the conventional TLS wisdom a bit that softs don't matter. I think the presentation of your application, work experience, PS, and overall narrative CAN be significant if you can create a narrative that shows an appealing candidate in CONJUNCTION with strong numbers (my situation is obvious proof that numbers aren't the only thing that matter).


Alternatively, rather than your two years off making you a better candidate and your PS and Narrative becoming amazing, you applied originally in a cycle with lots of people, and now are applying in a cycle with a LOT fewer people. Anyone applying now will do far better than they would have two years ago with the same numbers. Schools really don't care that much about your work experience and personal statements and lovingly crafted 'narratives'.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed May 01, 2013 12:34 pm

Randomnumbers wrote:
CaptainLeela wrote:Anecdata (copy & paste from another reply) take from it what you will

During the 2010-2011 cycle I applied directly out of undergrad (less than 1 year of WE) and was waitlisted at Duke, Columbia, Georgetown, Northwestern, & American, accepted at Temple with (90k), and rejected at a number of other places with a 3.65/169.

I took 2 years "off" from the law school application process. I worked as a shitlaw paralegal 1 year at a firm that is truly as bottom of the barrel as you can get and 1 year as a paralegal for an estates and probate firm. During this time I gained an amazing sense of what (some) attorneys actually DO, really confirmed my interest in going to law school, and gained invaluable professional skills...both in the office and just being an adult in general.

This cycle I emphasized the things I learned through my work experience in my PS (and actually specifically referenced my failed previous cycle in my PS), wrote highly tailored Why Xs (something I didn't do in the previous cycle), had 2 stellar LORs from attorneys I work with extremely closely, and a dramatically improved resume.

This cycle I was accepted to BU (60K), Fordham (90K), OSU (42K), GW (75K), Cornell (60K), Georgetown, Duke (60K), Michigan; Waitlisted at Penn, Columbia & Northwestern (I dunno?). Here, I do disagree with the conventional TLS wisdom a bit that softs don't matter. I think the presentation of your application, work experience, PS, and overall narrative CAN be significant if you can create a narrative that shows an appealing candidate in CONJUNCTION with strong numbers (my situation is obvious proof that numbers aren't the only thing that matter).


Alternatively, rather than your two years off making you a better candidate and your PS and Narrative becoming amazing, you applied originally in a cycle with lots of people, and now are applying in a cycle with a LOT fewer people. Anyone applying now will do far better than they would have two years ago with the same numbers. Schools really don't care that much about your work experience and personal statements and lovingly crafted 'narratives'.


Sure, I'm just presenting a single point of information in answer to the question. I'm sure he/she is aware of the larger general trends in law school applications as well.

Randomnumbers
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby Randomnumbers » Wed May 01, 2013 12:38 pm

CaptainLeela wrote:
Randomnumbers wrote:
CaptainLeela wrote: I think the presentation of your application, work experience, PS, and overall narrative CAN be significant if you can create a narrative that shows an appealing candidate in CONJUNCTION with strong numbers (my situation is obvious proof that numbers aren't the only thing that matter).


Alternatively, rather than your two years off making you a better candidate and your PS and Narrative becoming amazing, you applied originally in a cycle with lots of people, and now are applying in a cycle with a LOT fewer people. Anyone applying now will do far better than they would have two years ago with the same numbers. Schools really don't care that much about your work experience and personal statements and lovingly crafted 'narratives'.


Sure, I'm just presenting a single point of information in answer to the question. I'm sure he/she is aware of the larger general trends in law school applications as well.

de5igual
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby de5igual » Wed May 01, 2013 12:45 pm

IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


true, but only to a certain extent. Maybe a firm whose cutoff is top 25% might drop down to top 1/3 for someone with the work experience they want, but the median bro is still SOL with that firm. Grades ultimately still trump everything else.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed May 01, 2013 12:46 pm

Randomnumbers wrote:
CaptainLeela wrote:
Randomnumbers wrote:
CaptainLeela wrote: I think the presentation of your application, work experience, PS, and overall narrative CAN be significant if you can create a narrative that shows an appealing candidate in CONJUNCTION with strong numbers (my situation is obvious proof that numbers aren't the only thing that matter).


Alternatively, rather than your two years off making you a better candidate and your PS and Narrative becoming amazing, you applied originally in a cycle with lots of people, and now are applying in a cycle with a LOT fewer people. Anyone applying now will do far better than they would have two years ago with the same numbers. Schools really don't care that much about your work experience and personal statements and lovingly crafted 'narratives'.


Sure, I'm just presenting a single point of information in answer to the question. I'm sure he/she is aware of the larger general trends in law school applications as well.


Only, as in sole factor, that is of importance. I'm not saying anything earth shattering here...having work experience and a much stronger application tipped things in my favor; however, as I said, I had previously underperformed my numbers, so the primary factor was a strong GPA/LSAT and applying in a cycle where applications were down.

Just providing an example of my knowledge of work experience within the applications process, which is slightly outside of the norm. I trust that the OP can figure out how to use it responsibly.

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IAFG
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby IAFG » Wed May 01, 2013 12:47 pm

f0bolous wrote:
IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


true, but only to a certain extent. Maybe a firm whose cutoff is top 25% might drop down to top 1/3 for someone with the work experience they want, but the median bro is still SOL with that firm. Grades ultimately still trump everything else.

If WE can get a firm to choose a top 1/3 candidate with WE over a top 25% K-JD, grades to not trump everything else.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu May 02, 2013 3:11 am

I work as a litigation consultant right now, I started after graduation from UG. I worked my current position into my PS and the general thrust of my application. I definitely think it made a difference and "helped", although its impossible to quantify.

How do I know? First, Berkeley is a total crapshoot, and they rely heavily NOT on raw numbers alone, but on how an applicant presents their trajectory towards legal studies and their entire portfolio. Dean Edwards said it in an interview. Not only did they admit me, they offered me a higher matching scholarship than what I petitioned with from a lower school, and they mentioned my job at XXX firm in the letter.

NYU mentioned my work experience at XXX lit consulting firm in their admit letter, along with the challenging nature of my undergrad curriculum, as key to their decision.

Jill Nussbaum, the director of admissions at Columbia who I met with both before I applied and afterwards at ASW, first advised me to get WE and take the firm job I did while I was a senior in UG, then told me over ASW that my experience had contributed to their decision, because they knew I would be more successful at OCI.

I am also the lowest UG GPA (non-URM) shown on LSN/TLS on the waitlist at stanford right now, and I can't help but think my consistent WE/current position and how I worked it into my application contributed to that.

Obviously the argument can be made that its all just my numbers, but significant evidence is to the contrary, since many students with my numbers and higher were rejected or waitlisted/reserved at these schools.

Most importantly, working in litigation and economic or claims consulting will give you some sense of what you are getting yourself into, what you like, and what you won't like. Litigation support is different from much of an attorney's work, but when I was focused on claims cases (now I'm mostly doing client-centric management consulting since my firm handles both), I was in contact with the attorneys every week.

sparty99
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby sparty99 » Thu May 02, 2013 12:34 pm

IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


No. Try again. I have significant WE, but am below median. Did well in undergrad, was a 1L Summer Associate. Yet, what do you know, can't get a gig b/c of my grades.

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IAFG
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby IAFG » Thu May 02, 2013 1:09 pm

sparty99 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


No. Try again. I have significant WE, but am below median. Did well in undergrad, was a 1L Summer Associate. Yet, what do you know, can't get a gig b/c of my grades.

I hate to be a bitch because you've had a rough go of it, but your data point does not prove what you seem to think it does.

utlaw2007
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu May 02, 2013 3:27 pm

IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


No. Try again. I have significant WE, but am below median. Did well in undergrad, was a 1L Summer Associate. Yet, what do you know, can't get a gig b/c of my grades.

I hate to be a bitch because you've had a rough go of it, but your data point does not prove what you seem to think it does.


This poster is right. I agree with him/her on this point. Your support doesn't actually support what you are trying to say. And this poster is right about WE. Her initial statement about WE still stands.

utlaw2007
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu May 02, 2013 3:35 pm

wussup188 wrote:Hi guys,

I'm about to graduate college and start my job as a litigation consultant this coming fall. I was wondering how big law firms view this sort of experience? Does it give any sort of advantage? Does anyone have experience or have friends with experience in situations similar to mine? I'm planning on staying with my job for 2 years and then go to law school.

For you forum jumpers, sorry about posting this in the wrong forum!

Thanks.


I think that depends on what type of consulting you will be doing. Litigation consulting is such a broad term. For obvious reasons, you know nothing about civil procedure so there is something else that you must be doing. A firm is going to be specific as to what work experience it deems valuable.

But yes, WE can be very valuable to certain firms depending on the type of work experience you have.

sparty99
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby sparty99 » Thu May 02, 2013 10:48 pm

IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
No. Being in the Top 20% gives you an advantage.

This is just ignorant. If a firm likes your WE, it can put you ahead of students with better grades.


No. Try again. I have significant WE, but am below median. Did well in undergrad, was a 1L Summer Associate. Yet, what do you know, can't get a gig b/c of my grades.

I hate to be a bitch because you've had a rough go of it, but your data point does not prove what you seem to think it does.


No. At the end of the day, all they care about our grades. If you don't have grades, we can't even entertain the conversation. 6 years of WE won't change that C in Torts to a B+. Having WE is nice. Once you are in the top 20%, you have eliminated 80% of the competition. So you are competing with people who have WE. Are you at a disadvantage. Yes. But that WE can vary and if you are good at interviewing it can be overcome. Is it better to be in the top 20% and have WE, yes. But as I have stated, its the grades that matter. It's the grades that give you an advantage.

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Lwoods
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Re: Work experience advantage?

Postby Lwoods » Thu May 02, 2013 11:32 pm

There are definitely firms that are impressed by work experience. I worked for 5 years pre-LS, 3 of those for a V10.

That W/E did not help me get an SA at the V10 (courtesy screener, followed by a lunch where I was told it was just a courtesy...that firm is very strict with their grade cut-off). HOWEVER, that W/E has helped me outperform my grades with other employers and potential employers. Many employers W/E because it makes a candidate a safer bet. It doesn't trump grades entirely or with every employer, but it is one of the main things that really can help an applicant outperform his/her GPA.

As for admissions, it helps at the margins, I think, but that's about it.

tl:dr ditto IAFG




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