Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:27 am

arklaw13 wrote:
RSN wrote:I agree with that assessment, but I'd add two notes -- (1) Covington and W&C are highly prestigious but W&C is far more exclusive, whereas Covington has a class of like 90 this summer. (2) Hogan, Akin Gump, and Jones Day are very very different places. At least in my experience the firms in DC have much more discernible personalities than e.g. the V10-20 in New York, which are much more fungible, so that's something to keep in mind going into the process. A related point to that, though, is that it's important not to get too attached to any one firm going in, not necessarily so you're not devastated if you don't get a callback (although that's important also), but because it may turn out it's a really bad fit and you actually wouldn't want to work there, whereas somewhere else you might not have expected may end up being great.


Agree - this is very important. If you're weighing different offers, second looks can be really critical for picking a firm in DC.
RSN wrote:I think we're probably using "ties" differently. If you just mean whether you've lived in the area for an extended period, then it definitely matters less than in like a Milwaukee or something, since Covington couldn't fill out a class of 90 people from only DC/MD/VA who have the right grades. But it's definitely harder to give a satisfactory answer to the "why DC" question, which comes up in almost every interview, if you haven't interned there, have family there, maybe have a strong interest in a practice area that's mostly/only in DC and a good reason for the interest. That's in contrast to New York where you really don't need anything along those lines. So maybe "ties" is the wrong word, but some prior connection and/or a strongly substantiated interest are pretty critical.


I still don't think I fully agree with that, at least not based on my experience. I had never set foot in DC before my callback interviews. I can't actually remember anyone specifically asking me why I wanted to be in DC, but I remember having some lame spiel about being interested in litigating against the federal government. Which is an answer, but not a particularly good one. But obviously no one really cared. And in the interviews that I've done for various purposes, I don't think I've ever even asked that question. Maybe I would in an OCI interview, which I've never done.

I suppose the answer is to have a spiel ready, but don't let a lack of ties (geographic or otherwise) lower your confidence in interviewing. Your attitude should be "why wouldn't I want to be in DC?" because that's the attitude your interviewers will probably have.

Well if you had a spiel that you gave every time, the reason you didn't get the "why DC" question may be because you preempted it with your spiel.

arklaw13
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby arklaw13 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:57 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:Well if you had a spiel that you gave every time, the reason you didn't get the "why DC" question may be because you preempted it with your spiel.


I mean I had a prepared spiel in case I got the question. I can't remember specifically giving it, though.

Anyway, my general point is that OP et al shouldn't be super worried if they can't come up with a great reason they want to be in DC. It's a major market, no one expects you to stay forever, and it's a pretty chill city to work in for the most part. You don't have to come off as some kind of policy wonk or whatever for people to take you seriously.

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RSN
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby RSN » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:57 pm

arklaw13 wrote:
RSN wrote:I agree with that assessment, but I'd add two notes -- (1) Covington and W&C are highly prestigious but W&C is far more exclusive, whereas Covington has a class of like 90 this summer. (2) Hogan, Akin Gump, and Jones Day are very very different places. At least in my experience the firms in DC have much more discernible personalities than e.g. the V10-20 in New York, which are much more fungible, so that's something to keep in mind going into the process. A related point to that, though, is that it's important not to get too attached to any one firm going in, not necessarily so you're not devastated if you don't get a callback (although that's important also), but because it may turn out it's a really bad fit and you actually wouldn't want to work there, whereas somewhere else you might not have expected may end up being great.


Agree - this is very important. If you're weighing different offers, second looks can be really critical for picking a firm in DC.
RSN wrote:I think we're probably using "ties" differently. If you just mean whether you've lived in the area for an extended period, then it definitely matters less than in like a Milwaukee or something, since Covington couldn't fill out a class of 90 people from only DC/MD/VA who have the right grades. But it's definitely harder to give a satisfactory answer to the "why DC" question, which comes up in almost every interview, if you haven't interned there, have family there, maybe have a strong interest in a practice area that's mostly/only in DC and a good reason for the interest. That's in contrast to New York where you really don't need anything along those lines. So maybe "ties" is the wrong word, but some prior connection and/or a strongly substantiated interest are pretty critical.


I still don't think I fully agree with that, at least not based on my experience. I had never set foot in DC before my callback interviews. I can't actually remember anyone specifically asking me why I wanted to be in DC, but I remember having some lame spiel about being interested in litigating against the federal government. Which is an answer, but not a particularly good one. But obviously no one really cared. And in the interviews that I've done for various purposes, I don't think I've ever even asked that question. Maybe I would in an OCI interview, which I've never done.

I suppose the answer is to have a spiel ready, but don't let a lack of ties (geographic or otherwise) lower your confidence in interviewing. Your attitude should be "why wouldn't I want to be in DC?" because that's the attitude your interviewers will probably have.


I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you had ludicrously good grades? If so, your government litigation line is clearly sufficient. But for more marginal candidates, I think an existing connection is a major boost, even if not necessary.

arklaw13
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby arklaw13 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:47 pm

RSN wrote:I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you had ludicrously good grades? If so, your government litigation line is clearly sufficient. But for more marginal candidates, I think an existing connection is a major boost, even if not necessary.


I suppose that could be true. That possibilty didn't cross my mind. Although I'm by no means extraordinary for the office I'm at, all things considered.

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BulletTooth
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby BulletTooth » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:30 pm

arklaw13 wrote:
RSN wrote:I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you had ludicrously good grades? If so, your government litigation line is clearly sufficient. But for more marginal candidates, I think an existing connection is a major boost, even if not necessary.


I suppose that could be true. That possibilty didn't cross my mind. Although I'm by no means extraordinary for the office I'm at, all things considered.


Based on what I've heard from interviewers, the people on the margins who end up getting offers are the ones who can articulate a persuasive reason as to why they want to work at Firm X. Don't fake it if you don't have a reason as to why Firm X, but if you have one, don't be afraid to sell it. Also, starting to reach out to associates at the firms you're interested now (at the start of the summer) can begin to give you some ammo as to why you're interested in certain firms. At the least, starting to network will show the firm that you're outgoing. I have friends who were around the median at a T20 who were able to wind up at V20 firms by networking and gaining contacts early in their 1L summer.

GoneSouth
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Re: Will my first semester grades stop me from working in DC biglaw?

Postby GoneSouth » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:32 pm

ErinBurr wrote:
grades?? wrote:Whats your gpa, rank, and what t14 school do you go to? That will make a difference here.


no gpa/rank at my school, it's in CCMVP range


Lol that this is a range. Nobody at Columbia or Chicago would ever say this.




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