Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

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Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby corporatemandaorbust » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:14 pm

Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Please group them by school/tiers. Does the bottom of the class have no employment options?

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:26 pm

moved to correct forum.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby zhenders » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:30 pm

Unfortunately, it just isn't quite that simple. Despite what you might hear, there isn't a particular grade that guarantees you safety. Interviewing skills matter much, much more than you might expect.

For biglaw more generally, median or better and strong interviewing skills give you a very strong chance of success (assuming wise bidding). That said, I personally know people who were strong interviewers and received multiple offers below median; I also know of a least three law review folks who struck out.

Many firms have rough cutoffs. Generally speaking, if you're above that cutoff, you have a chance. How good of a chance depends upon how much above that cutoff you are, combined with your interviewing. Phenomenal interviewing often overcomes blah grades; bad interviewing is rarely overcome.

This is true for most top schools; HYS are perhaps mostly excepted from this, but not entirely. Far more people than you might think from T6 schools leave on campus interviews with just one offer after doing 30+ screeners.

TL;DR: become an excellent interviewer before OCI.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby 84651846190 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:54 pm

median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby armc808 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:08 pm

Would echo what's been said above re: interviewing/interpersonal skills being especially important. Going to a T14 school will certainly get you further into the door compared to if you went to a lesser-ranked school, but it's not like jobs will just come to you. You will definitely have to put in the necessary time and effort into getting at least decent grades and honing your interviewing skills, which you can certainly do by treating it like a job. I would also say that not all T14 schools will give you equal outcomes for biglaw as well--aside from the individual strengths of each school, generally the higher up you go in the T14 the less "important" grades become, though I would view this more as an insurance policy and less as an incentive to slack off.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby OneHandedEconomist » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:13 pm

zhenders wrote:Unfortunately, it just isn't quite that simple. Despite what you might hear, there isn't a particular grade that guarantees you safety. Interviewing skills matter much, much more than you might expect.

For biglaw more generally, median or better and strong interviewing skills give you a very strong chance of success (assuming wise bidding). That said, I personally know people who were strong interviewers and received multiple offers below median; I also know of a least three law review folks who struck out.

Many firms have rough cutoffs. Generally speaking, if you're above that cutoff, you have a chance. How good of a chance depends upon how much above that cutoff you are, combined with your interviewing. Phenomenal interviewing often overcomes blah grades; bad interviewing is rarely overcome.

This is true for most top schools; HYS are perhaps mostly excepted from this, but not entirely. Far more people than you might think from T6 schools leave on campus interviews with just one offer after doing 30+ screeners.

TL;DR: become an excellent interviewer before OCI.


Any tips for doing the bolded? Would doing a shit ton of mock interviews with career services help?

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby armc808 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:17 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

I would disagree with the last part in that I think there's still some more flexibility outside of HYS if you're a below median student. As an example, roughly 70% of UChicago graduates go straight into firm work, and the vast majority of these people work in large law firms (went to UChicago's admit day this past week and they gave us the raw numbers), which indicates that you don't need to be above median to get a sweet biglaw job from there. A reason that they gave for this is that grades are not the be-all-end-all and interviewing skills are also very important; as such, they've seen plenty of cases where people had average grads but great interviewing skills and were able to land the job that they wanted. I'm not as familiar with Columbia and NYU's employment stats, but I would safely bet that below median candidates at these schools similarly have a pretty good shot at landing biglaw. Obviously being above the median is preferable but statistically half the student body has to be below the median. I don't think being below the median at any of T6 in any way precludes one from landing biglaw after graduation.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:25 pm

There's also something to be said about how you define "median" to go along with the abstract "need to be a great interviewer" part. While firms have grade cutoffs, two candidates that are hovering around median are likely to be treated exactly the same heading into the interview. Firms know how law school works, and not many are going to look at the 3.34 student as substantially better than the 3.26 student. 3.34 student may have a slight edge walking into the interview, but they will be more or less fungible where the interviewer would still pick the better interviewer over the slightly better grades.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby Iwanttolawschool » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:30 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal


This is not even remotely true. I agree that the "interviewing skills" (which is just code for don't be weird, annoying, creepy, unsightly and be able to hold a normal conversation) play a big part. If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby zhenders » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:53 pm

I'm a UofC student; yes, our placement numbers are awesome. Let's clarify some often-confused points, though.

1. Median is statistically different from mean. A large majority of a given class will be close to median -- think 75-80%. Bearing that in mind, a school's very strong biglaw+clerkship placement typically pulls from that pool and up; it's a small percentage of the class that is below median in a meaningful sense.

2. If one finds themselves in that below median pool, one needs to have their interviewing truly n lock-down.

3. Some issues that commonly arise are:

(a) foolish bidding, such as applying only to very difficult markets, or applying only to firms with very small SA class sizes.

(b) failing to go into interviews with at least some idea of what you're interested in. It's absolutely okay to not know for sure -- but it's not okay to give the impression that nothing in particular interests you.

(c) the single biggest mistake people make is assuming that getting a job out of OCI will be a cakewalk because admissions and the dean of students said it would be. Schools have many motivations for telling you that everything will be fine. One of those is that they know people interview more poorly if they're stressed out; thus, telling you that you're going to succeed can indeed make you more likely to, because you'll be more relaxed and normal in your interviews. Unfortunately, some students take this WAY to far, and treat OCI like a blowoff class, or go into it with the mindset of, " I go to _____ law school; all firms are going to be fighting over me." Don't do that. "Cakewalk" is really bad advice. Interviewers want to hire people who take interviewing seriously.

Finally, remember that people who don't get jobs out of OCI aren't exactly keen on announcing that fact. It's very normal to only hear success stories from people unless you are personally close to someone who struck out. Plenty of great people don't get jobs at 2L OCI. Many of them hustle and DO get stuff later -- but I've talked to many people who are pretty annoyed that they were constantly told "biglaw is easy at _____ school."

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:56 pm

zhenders wrote:A large majority of a given class will be close to median -- think 75-80%.


Yeah, this is really the key point. Most of the T14 is on the same curve, so it's more difficult to find students who are far enough below median to be considered long-shots for biglaw jobs.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:35 pm

Iwanttolawschool wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal


This is not even remotely true. I agree that the "interviewing skills" (which is just code for don't be weird, annoying, creepy, unsightly and be able to hold a normal conversation) play a big part. If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk.


Yeah, I have to agree. At a school like UVA (middle T13), 54.5% are getting BL jobs, which means kids below the median MUST be getting offers. Plus, 15.8% are getting AIII clerkships, which is a group that likely all had BL grades. That means ~70% of the class is getting that sort of outcome. That gives you a lot of cushion below median. Also, 10% are going for public interest gigs. PI kids aren't all below median, so some of those could have probably landed BL. While other T13 aren't maybe as clerkship heavy as UVA (except HYSChi), their BL + Clerkship numbers tell the same story. Cornell sends 63% into BL and another few percent that clerk. Northwestern sends 62% into BL + 7% clerk. At Cornell and UVA, you have some PI self-select out. At NU, you've got the 9% business self-selecting out bc of JD-MBA. Overall, I think the top 70% or so of almost all the T13s have reasonable chances of getting BL. I don't think median is really the best marker, but I understand the reliance on it, because it's easy. I think it really is what you said " If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk."

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:48 pm

RedPurpleBlue wrote:
Iwanttolawschool wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal


This is not even remotely true. I agree that the "interviewing skills" (which is just code for don't be weird, annoying, creepy, unsightly and be able to hold a normal conversation) play a big part. If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk.


Yeah, I have to agree. At a school like UVA (middle T13), 54.5% are getting BL jobs, which means kids below the median MUST be getting offers. Plus, 15.8% are getting AIII clerkships, which is a group that likely all had BL grades. That means ~70% of the class is getting that sort of outcome. That gives you a lot of cushion below median. Also, 10% are going for public interest gigs. PI kids aren't all below median, so some of those could have probably landed BL. While other T13 aren't maybe as clerkship heavy as UVA (except HYSChi), their BL + Clerkship numbers tell the same story. Cornell sends 63% into BL and another few percent that clerk. Northwestern sends 62% into BL + 7% clerk. At Cornell and UVA, you have some PI self-select out. At NU, you've got the 9% business self-selecting out bc of JD-MBA. Overall, I think the top 70% or so of almost all the T13s have reasonable chances of getting BL. I don't think median is really the best marker, but I understand the reliance on it, because it's easy. I think it really is what you said " If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk."


This is all generally accurate in analysis, but it's probably more accurate to remember the above discussion on how median is more an amorphous mass of mediocrity in the center of the curve that consists of 70-80% of the class. There's probably only ~10% (or less) of the class that is substantially below median where it starts to make a difference.

Your greater point holds, but just remember that median when it comes to job prospects is realistically a lumbering hoard of B+ish resumes.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby runinthefront » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:56 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal

This is not true at most, if not all, T13s
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:09 pm

Also something to consider I've posited but can't prove: BL is usually conflated with "market-paying work," which Biglaw covers the majority of that work, but there are not insignificant midlaw and boutiques that will be market paying or close to it. Those will never show up in the Biglaw+Art. III realm. It's foolish to include small and medium size firm placement in the percentage of "good outcomes" at any school, but there are more likely to be T13 grads going to these boutiques and midlaw firms that pay market or close to it than at most other schools. This will realistically only bump up a T13 1-2% practically, but T13 are probably the safest bets to add on those going to firms with 20-100 attorneys as those good outcomes. Not all of them would be, which is why I'd never include it in the calculation, but it's undoubtedly true a few of those going to small and mid-sized firms from T13 are actually going to really good situations.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby Npret » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:20 pm

Massmail. Meaning don't rely on OCI to find you a job, assume that you will get one because of screeners or that your grades mean you are guaranteed a job.

I know it doesn't address the OP (not that anyone will do that breakdown anyway) But massmailing gets ignored until too late by many people every year.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby star fox » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:34 pm

UVA2B wrote:Also something to consider I've posited but can't prove: BL is usually conflated with "market-paying work," which Biglaw covers the majority of that work, but there are not insignificant midlaw and boutiques that will be market paying or close to it. Those will never show up in the Biglaw+Art. III realm. It's foolish to include small and medium size firm placement in the percentage of "good outcomes" at any school, but there are more likely to be T13 grads going to these boutiques and midlaw firms that pay market or close to it than at most other schools. This will realistically only bump up a T13 1-2% practically, but T13 are probably the safest bets to add on those going to firms with 20-100 attorneys as those good outcomes. Not all of them would be, which is why I'd never include it in the calculation, but it's undoubtedly true a few of those going to small and mid-sized firms from T13 are actually going to really good situations.

Northwestern publishes pretty comprehensive data about salaries - 67 % are working a six figure job and that doesn't include the 21 people doing Federal Clerkships (7.3 % of Class) so that bumps it up to 74 % in either six figures or Federal Clerkships. Some of that is gonna be JD-MBAs working business jobs. So you can try and imagine how that's similar to the other T14s. http://www.law.northwestern.edu/profess ... index.html

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:37 pm

star fox wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Also something to consider I've posited but can't prove: BL is usually conflated with "market-paying work," which Biglaw covers the majority of that work, but there are not insignificant midlaw and boutiques that will be market paying or close to it. Those will never show up in the Biglaw+Art. III realm. It's foolish to include small and medium size firm placement in the percentage of "good outcomes" at any school, but there are more likely to be T13 grads going to these boutiques and midlaw firms that pay market or close to it than at most other schools. This will realistically only bump up a T13 1-2% practically, but T13 are probably the safest bets to add on those going to firms with 20-100 attorneys as those good outcomes. Not all of them would be, which is why I'd never include it in the calculation, but it's undoubtedly true a few of those going to small and mid-sized firms from T13 are actually going to really good situations.

Northwestern publishes pretty comprehensive data about salaries - 67 % are working a six figure job and that doesn't include the 21 people doing Federal Clerkships (7.3 % of Class) so that bumps it up to 74 % in either six figures or Federal Clerkships. Some of that is gonna be JD-MBAs working business jobs. So you can try and imagine how that's similar to the other T14s. http://www.law.northwestern.edu/profess ... index.html


That's much more comprehensive data than I'm used to seeing, thanks! Proves what I already alluded to, but couldn't quantify (even allowing for MBA's that are also carrying a JD from Pritzker).

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:13 pm

I also think pre-law school work experience factors in heavily. Someone who worked for a few years in a professional capacity is in a much stronger position than a k-jd, grades and Aspergers being equal.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby existentialcrisis » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:01 pm

star fox wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Also something to consider I've posited but can't prove: BL is usually conflated with "market-paying work," which Biglaw covers the majority of that work, but there are not insignificant midlaw and boutiques that will be market paying or close to it. Those will never show up in the Biglaw+Art. III realm. It's foolish to include small and medium size firm placement in the percentage of "good outcomes" at any school, but there are more likely to be T13 grads going to these boutiques and midlaw firms that pay market or close to it than at most other schools. This will realistically only bump up a T13 1-2% practically, but T13 are probably the safest bets to add on those going to firms with 20-100 attorneys as those good outcomes. Not all of them would be, which is why I'd never include it in the calculation, but it's undoubtedly true a few of those going to small and mid-sized firms from T13 are actually going to really good situations.

Northwestern publishes pretty comprehensive data about salaries - 67 % are working a six figure job and that doesn't include the 21 people doing Federal Clerkships (7.3 % of Class) so that bumps it up to 74 % in either six figures or Federal Clerkships. Some of that is gonna be JD-MBAs working business jobs. So you can try and imagine how that's similar to the other T14s. http://www.law.northwestern.edu/profess ... index.html


Penn does this too. Almost all of the business roles seem pretty solid, I assume they're mostly JD/MBAs.

https://www.law.upenn.edu/careers/emplo ... istics.php

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby Harvard_Naw » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:26 pm

Anyone know the name of the website that shows each school's stats for biglaw, PI, fed clerkship? I can't remember the name.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby existentialcrisis » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:49 pm

Harvard_Naw wrote:Anyone know the name of the website that shows each school's stats for biglaw, PI, fed clerkship? I can't remember the name.


Law school transparency. But it's really mostly just reformatting the ABA required disclosures.

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Re: Where does one need to be in their class to get a Big Law job at a T-14?

Postby 84651846190 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:49 pm

RedPurpleBlue wrote:
Iwanttolawschool wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:median and above gives you a shot. not guaranteed at all, but at least you have a shot.

below median and you're generally going to need something special, like great interviewing skills, connections, or blind luck (generally firms don't hire below median outside of HYS unless the person has something they're looking for)

obviously depends on your school too. below median at harvard, stanford, or yale is not as big of a deal


This is not even remotely true. I agree that the "interviewing skills" (which is just code for don't be weird, annoying, creepy, unsightly and be able to hold a normal conversation) play a big part. If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk.


Yeah, I have to agree. At a school like UVA (middle T13), 54.5% are getting BL jobs, which means kids below the median MUST be getting offers. Plus, 15.8% are getting AIII clerkships, which is a group that likely all had BL grades. That means ~70% of the class is getting that sort of outcome. That gives you a lot of cushion below median. Also, 10% are going for public interest gigs. PI kids aren't all below median, so some of those could have probably landed BL. While other T13 aren't maybe as clerkship heavy as UVA (except HYSChi), their BL + Clerkship numbers tell the same story. Cornell sends 63% into BL and another few percent that clerk. Northwestern sends 62% into BL + 7% clerk. At Cornell and UVA, you have some PI self-select out. At NU, you've got the 9% business self-selecting out bc of JD-MBA. Overall, I think the top 70% or so of almost all the T13s have reasonable chances of getting BL. I don't think median is really the best marker, but I understand the reliance on it, because it's easy. I think it really is what you said " If you have "interviewing skills" and your GPA starts with 3, then you've got a decent chance. If you have "interviewing skills" and you're at or close to median, getting biglaw from a T-13 is a cakewalk."


I didn't mean to imply that very few outside the top half are getting biglaw. I'm just saying that it's much more idiosyncratic when you're below median. Getting hired depends on business needs, personality, etc. Right now, it seems like things are going pretty well for T14 law students because (I guess?) there are fewer law grads and firms are doing better than when I interviewed, so most can expect the kind of jobs they want. All I can say is that my old firm and every other firm that I know of had GPA cutoffs at or above median. No one is interviewing at Berkeley and simply ignoring grades. Everyone looks at them.

Then again, I have no idea what firms like DLA Piper do. Maybe anyone with a T14 degree can go there?



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