Steps to 1L SA

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Sharpy
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Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:26 pm

Hi everyone. I'm a 0L who will be starting at W&M in the fall. While I know that as a result of attending W&M my big law prospects are somewhat limited and can vary greatly depending on how I do, I was just curious whether anyone could provide a rough idea on what the necessary steps would be if I wanted a shot at securing a 1L SA at a firm? For instance, GPA range I should be targeting, when I should be applying, what firms are more likely to take 1L's (if that's even a thing), etc.

Market does not matter, but since NYC is the largest one and therefore gives me the most opportunities, you can answer under the assumption that NYC is where I will be looking.

Thanks in advance.

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runinthefront
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby runinthefront » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:30 pm

The odds of you landing a 1L SA at a large firm is much, much, much lower than landing a 2L SA of biglaw post-grad. You shouldn't matriculate to W&M if that's your goal.

Notwithstanding that, you'd obviously want to do as well as possible during your first semester, as you'll be applying between early November through the Spring for 1L jobs, including 1L SAs in NYC. You'd likely need top grades from your school (note: generally, you need [good grades] or [decent grades + URM status] to even have an okay shot at 1L SAs from T14.).

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Mullens
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Mullens » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:49 pm

Sharpy wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 0L who will be starting at W&M in the fall. While I know that as a result of attending W&M my big law prospects are somewhat limited and can vary greatly depending on how I do, I was just curious whether anyone could provide a rough idea on what the necessary steps would be if I wanted a shot at securing a 1L SA at a firm? For instance, GPA range I should be targeting, when I should be applying, what firms are more likely to take 1L's (if that's even a thing), etc.

Market does not matter, but since NYC is the largest one and therefore gives me the most opportunities, you can answer under the assumption that NYC is where I will be looking.

Thanks in advance.


Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.

Step 2: Apply on December 1st or shortly thereafter. Definitely apply before you get grades.

Step 3: Go to law firm receptions and network

Step 4: Even if you do everything right, there's a decent chance you strike out at a T14. Very very unlikely you get a 1L SA at a market-paying firm in NYC from W&M.

NoDayButToday
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby NoDayButToday » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:15 pm

Get the best grades possible, network, and apply.

If for 1L summer you're open to medium or big-but-not-huge law firms or big firms in smaller markets than NYC, I think you have an okay to decent shot from W&M if you can perform well academically and put yourself out there.

Coming from BC Law where I did my 1L year, I summered 1L (and returned 2L) at Nelson Mullins's Boston office and had a really positive experience. I think they're trying to focus more on 2L hiring now, but they also have offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston, Huntington WV, DC, Jacksonville, and a few other medium to large cities. I know they're getting established in NYC, Los Angeles, and Denver, too. Lots of up and coming Southern large firms still hire 1L SAs. Even if it's not where you want to be for 2L summer and beyond, they will still close to big law market pay, and summering at a firm like NM will provide a good professional and networking experience, and will often have a more laid-back work environment (based on how associates who worked at other firms too described it to me).

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:21 pm

Mullens wrote:
Sharpy wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 0L who will be starting at W&M in the fall. While I know that as a result of attending W&M my big law prospects are somewhat limited and can vary greatly depending on how I do, I was just curious whether anyone could provide a rough idea on what the necessary steps would be if I wanted a shot at securing a 1L SA at a firm? For instance, GPA range I should be targeting, when I should be applying, what firms are more likely to take 1L's (if that's even a thing), etc.

Market does not matter, but since NYC is the largest one and therefore gives me the most opportunities, you can answer under the assumption that NYC is where I will be looking.

Thanks in advance.


Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.

Step 2: Apply on December 1st or shortly thereafter. Definitely apply before you get grades.

Step 3: Go to law firm receptions and network

Step 4: Even if you do everything right, there's a decent chance you strike out at a T14. Very very unlikely you get a 1L SA at a market-paying firm in NYC from W&M.
NoDayButToday wrote:Get the best grades possible, network, and apply.

If for 1L summer you're open to medium or big-but-not-huge law firms or big firms in smaller markets than NYC, I think you have an okay to decent shot from W&M if you can perform well academically and put yourself out there.

Coming from BC Law where I did my 1L year, I summered 1L (and returned 2L) at Nelson Mullins's Boston office and had a really positive experience. I think they're trying to focus more on 2L hiring now, but they also have offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston, Huntington WV, DC, Jacksonville, and a few other medium to large cities. I know they're getting established in NYC, Los Angeles, and Denver, too. Lots of up and coming Southern large firms still hire 1L SAs. Even if it's not where you want to be for 2L summer and beyond, they will still close to big law market pay, and summering at a firm like NM will provide a good professional and networking experience, and will often have a more laid-back work environment (based on how associates who worked at other firms too described it to me).
runinthefront wrote:The odds of you landing a 1L SA at a large firm is much, much, much lower than landing a 2L SA of biglaw post-grad. You shouldn't matriculate to W&M if that's your goal.

Notwithstanding that, you'd obviously want to do as well as possible during your first semester, as you'll be applying between early November through the Spring for 1L jobs, including 1L SAs in NYC. You'd likely need top grades from your school (note: generally, you need [good grades] or [decent grades + URM status] to even have an okay shot at 1L SAs from T14.).


Thank you for the responses everyone! I really appreciate the advice and I definitely realize that the chances of me getting a 1L SA are slim, but I just wanted to get a rough idea on what it would take so your advice is invaluable in that regard.

@NoDayButToday I'm definitely open to working in smaller/medium sized cities. I have a multitude of connections in ****** biglaw that I will try to leverage when the time comes, and it's great to hear that those kind of experiences can still provide a lot of value. Thank you for the input
Last edited by Sharpy on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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barkschool
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby barkschool » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:57 pm

Sharpy wrote: I have a multitude of connections in Pittsburgh biglaw that I will try to leverage when the time comes, and it's great to hear that those kind of experiences can still provide a lot of value. Thank you for the input


Why are you going to w&m to practice in pittsburg?

Or do you want to be in NYC as your OP mention

Are you a URM?

Is a 1L SA just about the money? I'm guessing that W&M is not giving a great scholarship

What are your career goals?

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:26 pm

barkschool wrote:
Sharpy wrote: I have a multitude of connections in Pittsburgh biglaw that I will try to leverage when the time comes, and it's great to hear that those kind of experiences can still provide a lot of value. Thank you for the input


Why are you going to w&m to practice in pittsburg?

Or do you want to be in NYC as your OP mention

Are you a URM?

Is a 1L SA just about the money? I'm guessing that W&M is not giving a great scholarship

What are your career goals?


Not a URM. My career goals are to work in biglaw doing transactional m&a work, ideally in a big market. Didn't get into a t-14 so went to w&m because by way of scholarship and family/savings I can gothere for free and it gave me a better chance at working biglaw in a large market than the other schools I was in at. The 1L SA is interesting to me because it would help improve my odds of getting a biglaw SA my 2L summer which is obviously what is most important to my career goals

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barkschool
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby barkschool » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:07 am

Mullens said it best;

Mullens wrote:Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.


The reason that this is true is because 1L SA are not dependent on grades. School ranking is 95% of the litmus test for 1L SAs. (also play a large part of 2L SAs, and eventually working in biglaw too)

This doesn't mean that W&M forecloses biglaw, but it just makes it that much tougher. 27/184 made it to a firm with 501+ attorneys and have a chance to do the kind of things your interested. (remember that is only 15% of the school, and this certainly doesn't mean that those with top 15% were guaranteed to get those jobs)

T14 schools give a 50% or better shot at doing that.

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melmelcoolj
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby melmelcoolj » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:47 am

Mullens wrote:
Sharpy wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 0L who will be starting at W&M in the fall. While I know that as a result of attending W&M my big law prospects are somewhat limited and can vary greatly depending on how I do, I was just curious whether anyone could provide a rough idea on what the necessary steps would be if I wanted a shot at securing a 1L SA at a firm? For instance, GPA range I should be targeting, when I should be applying, what firms are more likely to take 1L's (if that's even a thing), etc.

Market does not matter, but since NYC is the largest one and therefore gives me the most opportunities, you can answer under the assumption that NYC is where I will be looking.

Thanks in advance.


Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.

Step 2: Apply on December 1st or shortly thereafter. Definitely apply before you get grades.

Step 3: Go to law firm receptions and network

Step 4: Even if you do everything right, there's a decent chance you strike out at a T14. Very very unlikely you get a 1L SA at a market-paying firm in NYC from W&M.


I'm also an incoming 1L matriculating at one of the CCN. I'm wondering what qualifies for "diverse" for law firms? When you say "have very high grades," what do you mean? Top 50%? Top 20%? Top 10%? Top 1%? I know it probably varies from firm to firm. Does one have to be URM, or one can be just some minority (i.e. not a straight middle class white male) in terms of sexual orientation, nationality, race, etc.?

I'm just trying to realistically assess my chances. And since you mentioned applying in December, I'm a little confused -- I assume grades don't come out till late in December. How can I know I have "very high grades" before I see them?

Sorry if these are naive questions -- I'm new to legal employment, and thanks in advance for your help.

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:50 am

barkschool wrote:Mullens said it best;

Mullens wrote:Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.


The reason that this is true is because 1L SA are not dependent on grades. School ranking is 95% of the litmus test for 1L SAs. (also play a large part of 2L SAs, and eventually working in biglaw too)

This doesn't mean that W&M forecloses biglaw, but it just makes it that much tougher. 27/184 made it to a firm with 501+ attorneys and have a chance to do the kind of things your interested. (remember that is only 15% of the school, and this certainly doesn't mean that those with top 15% were guaranteed to get those jobs)

T14 schools give a 50% or better shot at doing that.


Right I understand this. I applied to t14 schools and was on Columbia's reserve list until about a week ago, but unfortunately none of those worked out. Based on other circumstances I'm not retaking and waiting on next cycle so W&M is what I've got to work with. Also, in regards to their employment statistics, isn't it true that while only 27/184 got those jobs there's no guarantee that ALL 184 students applied and were trying to work in biglaw. It could be 27 out of some smaller portion of the total students, idk I'm just spitballing here and this could very well be a naive 0L opinion and if so feel free to tell me :o

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UVA2B
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby UVA2B » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:48 am

Sharpy wrote:
barkschool wrote:Mullens said it best;

Mullens wrote:Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.


The reason that this is true is because 1L SA are not dependent on grades. School ranking is 95% of the litmus test for 1L SAs. (also play a large part of 2L SAs, and eventually working in biglaw too)

This doesn't mean that W&M forecloses biglaw, but it just makes it that much tougher. 27/184 made it to a firm with 501+ attorneys and have a chance to do the kind of things your interested. (remember that is only 15% of the school, and this certainly doesn't mean that those with top 15% were guaranteed to get those jobs)

T14 schools give a 50% or better shot at doing that.


Right I understand this. I applied to t14 schools and was on Columbia's reserve list until about a week ago, but unfortunately none of those worked out. Based on other circumstances I'm not retaking and waiting on next cycle so W&M is what I've got to work with. Also, in regards to their employment statistics, isn't it true that while only 27/184 got those jobs there's no guarantee that ALL 184 students applied and were trying to work in biglaw. It could be 27 out of some smaller portion of the total students, idk I'm just spitballing here and this could very well be a naive 0L opinion and if so feel free to tell me :o


You're right in that not every graduate at W&M are going into law school wanting to go into Biglaw, but you're also making an illogical leap to mean a sizable portion of the class doesn't want that outcome. So even if it's 27/170 (or 160 or even 150), statistically you're already fighting a losing battle.

This is entirely a cart and horse problem. If you choose to go to W&M, that's fine. It's a good regional school that can get you legal employment in VA. But you should enter with appropriate expectations, and for W&M that means much more modest outcomes. The majority of W&M graduates are not going into six figure income jobs, and you would be better off assuming you're not going to be in the minority who end up with the unlikely outcome.

As for 1L SAs, there are a few things that lead to success.

1. Go to a better school. I know it's been mentioned, and I don't want to harp on it too much more, but if you wanted Biglaw in DC, NYC, or other major markets, you're going to need this as a prerequisite.

2. Have ties to a secondary market. Failing being at a better school, if you have significant ties to a non-major region that still have Biglaw types of work available, it becomes possible to get Biglaw as a 1L. Since you'll be at W&M, this means being at/near top of your class and mass mailing your non-major market where you have significant ties. And you should still be completely prepared to miss out because 1L SAs are exceedingly rare.

3. Grades, grades, grades. If not already clear, you'll need to be at/near the top of your class. And this is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.

You're sort of approaching this entire profession recklessly. You've identified your goals, applied to schools and were only accepted to schools that mostly can't/won't put you in the goal you've set for yourself. If you really want Biglaw, you should set your sights for entry into the profession higher. Realistically, you can only plan for Biglaw out of the T13 and a few strong regionals* with any reasonable amount of assurance. But since you seem set on going to W&M, just realize you're not only fighting an uphill battle. You're fighting a losing battle that more than likely won't work out for you. I don't mean any of this to be overly dramatic or fatalist, but you can't will your way in law school to be in the 10-20% who end up with your desired outcome. The most likely outcome for any given student is you'll be a median graduate. You won't hustle your way to the top, and you won't have any special level of intelligence and drive, because all of your classmates will be doing exactly the same thing. It's competitive, even though it might not be openly competitive.

Before you start maneuvering yourself for getting 1L SAs, you should be concerned with understanding the choice you're making in entering law school. Do you understand a forced curve and how that works in law school? Do you understand how hiring works for Biglaw (or any sector of the legal profession for that matter)? Do you understand the impact of school+1L grades on the hiring process? I apologize if any of these questions sound dismissive or condescending, but these are the types of foundational questions you need to have intimate familiarity with if you're entering this profession when you have a specific goal in mind. If you understood all of the above questions, you'd understand why you're unlikely to reach your goal of a 1L SA (and Biglaw generally) out of W&M. The game isn't about hard work and moxie by itself. As long as you realize that, you're at least aware that your goal is an exceeding long-shot that can't be banked on. And if you have more modest goals as a back-up plan to Biglaw, then maybe W&M will work out for you. But if you're Biglaw or bust (or alternatively you're BigSalary or bust), you're coming out of the gate hamstringing yourself compared to peers that go to schools that place a larger percentage of its class into your desired outcome.

*Edited for complete accuracy

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:01 am

UVA2B wrote:
Sharpy wrote:
barkschool wrote:Mullens said it best;

Mullens wrote:Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.


The reason that this is true is because 1L SA are not dependent on grades. School ranking is 95% of the litmus test for 1L SAs. (also play a large part of 2L SAs, and eventually working in biglaw too)

This doesn't mean that W&M forecloses biglaw, but it just makes it that much tougher. 27/184 made it to a firm with 501+ attorneys and have a chance to do the kind of things your interested. (remember that is only 15% of the school, and this certainly doesn't mean that those with top 15% were guaranteed to get those jobs)

T14 schools give a 50% or better shot at doing that.


Right I understand this. I applied to t14 schools and was on Columbia's reserve list until about a week ago, but unfortunately none of those worked out. Based on other circumstances I'm not retaking and waiting on next cycle so W&M is what I've got to work with. Also, in regards to their employment statistics, isn't it true that while only 27/184 got those jobs there's no guarantee that ALL 184 students applied and were trying to work in biglaw. It could be 27 out of some smaller portion of the total students, idk I'm just spitballing here and this could very well be a naive 0L opinion and if so feel free to tell me :o


You're right in that not every graduate at W&M are going into law school wanting to go into Biglaw, but you're also making an illogical leap to mean a sizable portion of the class doesn't want that outcome. So even if it's 27/170 (or 160 or even 150), statistically you're already fighting a losing battle.

This is entirely a cart and horse problem. If you choose to go to W&M, that's fine. It's a good regional school that can get you legal employment in VA. But you should enter with appropriate expectations, and for W&M that means much more modest outcomes. The majority of W&M graduates are not going into six figure income jobs, and you would be better off assuming you're not going to be in the minority who end up with the unlikely outcome.

As for 1L SAs, there are a few things that lead to success.

1. Go to a better school. I know it's been mentioned, and I don't want to harp on it too much more, but if you wanted Biglaw in DC, NYC, or other major markets, you're going to need this as a prerequisite.

2. Have ties to a secondary market. Failing being at a better school, if you have significant ties to a non-major region that still have Biglaw types of work available, it becomes possible to get Biglaw as a 1L. Since you'll be at W&M, this means being at/near top of your class and mass mailing your non-major market where you have significant ties. And you should still be completely prepared to miss out because 1L SAs are exceedingly rare.

3. Grades, grades, grades. If not already clear, you'll need to be at/near the top of your class. And this is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.

You're sort of approaching this entire profession recklessly. You've identified your goals, applied to schools and were only accepted to schools that mostly can't/won't put you in the goal you've set for yourself. If you really want Biglaw, you should set your sights for entry into the profession higher. Realistically, you can only plan for Biglaw out of the T13 and a few strong regionals* with any reasonable amount of assurance. But since you seem set on going to W&M, just realize you're not only fighting an uphill battle. You're fighting a losing battle that more than likely won't work out for you. I don't mean any of this to be overly dramatic or fatalist, but you can't will your way in law school to be in the 10-20% who end up with your desired outcome. The most likely outcome for any given student is you'll be a median graduate. You won't hustle your way to the top, and you won't have any special level of intelligence and drive, because all of your classmates will be doing exactly the same thing. It's competitive, even though it might not be openly competitive.

Before you start maneuvering yourself for getting 1L SAs, you should be concerned with understanding the choice you're making in entering law school. Do you understand a forced curve and how that works in law school? Do you understand how hiring works for Biglaw (or any sector of the legal profession for that matter)? Do you understand the impact of school+1L grades on the hiring process? I apologize if any of these questions sound dismissive or condescending, but these are the types of foundational questions you need to have intimate familiarity with if you're entering this profession when you have a specific goal in mind. If you understood all of the above questions, you'd understand why you're unlikely to reach your goal of a 1L SA (and Biglaw generally) out of W&M. The game isn't about hard work and moxie by itself. As long as you realize that, you're at least aware that your goal is an exceeding long-shot that can't be banked on. And if you have more modest goals as a back-up plan to Biglaw, then maybe W&M will work out for you. But if you're Biglaw or bust (or alternatively you're BigSalary or bust), you're coming out of the gate hamstringing yourself compared to peers that go to schools that place a larger percentage of its class into your desired outcome.

*Edited for complete accuracy


My career goals are not necessarily the same thing as my legal employment expectations as W&M student. I'm a long time lurker on this site, and for the past year now I have basically read and used every resource on here that relates to legal employment out of law school. I understand the mechanics of OCI, I know how different schools can effect your chances of legal employment, and I understand how hard it is to get a biglaw job IN GENERAL (along with everything else you mentioned in your last paragraph). I am not biglaw or bust, and my expectations going into W&M are fully in line with their employment prospects. I know what I'm getting into.

With that being said, I don't see any reason why I need to change my goals. Yes, biglaw out of W&M is incredibly hard and an unrealistic expectation to enter with, but its not impossible. ~20% of the class has consistently been getting biglaw jobs (100+ attorneys, not 500+) for the past couple years, why can I not aspire to be in that 20%? I have been reading the 1L guides to doing well on this site, recently started Getting to Maybe, and have generally been formulating a plan to try and finish at the top of my class this upcoming year. Gathering more information about legal employment is part of that plan, and that is why I made this thread. It was meant to be strictly informational, and not completely indicative of my goals or expectations going into law school. Everything that you stated in your post was absolutely true, and definitely helpful even if you did fall into the common trend I have noticed on TLS of being quite negative of any kind of non-t14 students employment prospects.

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UVA2B
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby UVA2B » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:10 am

Ok, there's probably a pretty decent gap between what I said and what you interpreted me saying. I didn't say you need to change your goals; I said you need to be prepared to not reach your goals and to have alternative goals in mind if you miss out on being in the ~20% of W&M grads who end up in Biglaw. I'm not trying to be overly negative with regard to your opportunities out of W&M, I'm just trying to be realistic. You have at best a 20% chance of achieving your primary goal, and there is nothing wrong with striving for that goal. But there is value in setting expectations that are realistic and planning for the most likely outcome. The most likely outcome is that you will miss out on Biglaw and will have to rely on the alternative careers available to you at W&M. If you're completely aware of that and you'd be happy with much more modest outcomes, then great. Enjoy W&M and good luck. But if you'd be dissatisfied with those much more modest outcomes, then you really need to assess the choice you're making.

But back to your original question, since you want to confine the discussion to just getting hired as a 1L SA, my points above still stand. You're almost assuredly not getting a major market 1L SA out of W&M, because even if you're the top of your class, you'll be competing with people from better schools with similar grades for those very limited spots. I would completely dispel the notion of a major market 1L SA from the outset. But if you have strong connections to a secondary market in a less highly sought after part of the country (think Milwaukee or Cleveland, not Miami or Atlanta), and you mass mail that market early with really good grades from W&M, you might be able to nab something. It's still not likely because those markets are much, much smaller, but it's possible.

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Mullens
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Mullens » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:53 am

melmelcoolj wrote:
Mullens wrote:
Sharpy wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 0L who will be starting at W&M in the fall. While I know that as a result of attending W&M my big law prospects are somewhat limited and can vary greatly depending on how I do, I was just curious whether anyone could provide a rough idea on what the necessary steps would be if I wanted a shot at securing a 1L SA at a firm? For instance, GPA range I should be targeting, when I should be applying, what firms are more likely to take 1L's (if that's even a thing), etc.

Market does not matter, but since NYC is the largest one and therefore gives me the most opportunities, you can answer under the assumption that NYC is where I will be looking.

Thanks in advance.


Step 1: Go somewhere other than W&M. I mean that seriously. Almost all 1L SAs go to students at T14 schools who have very high grades and/or are diverse.

Step 2: Apply on December 1st or shortly thereafter. Definitely apply before you get grades.

Step 3: Go to law firm receptions and network

Step 4: Even if you do everything right, there's a decent chance you strike out at a T14. Very very unlikely you get a 1L SA at a market-paying firm in NYC from W&M.


I'm also an incoming 1L matriculating at one of the CCN. I'm wondering what qualifies for "diverse" for law firms? When you say "have very high grades," what do you mean? Top 50%? Top 20%? Top 10%? Top 1%? I know it probably varies from firm to firm. Does one have to be URM, or one can be just some minority (i.e. not a straight middle class white male) in terms of sexual orientation, nationality, race, etc.?

I'm just trying to realistically assess my chances. And since you mentioned applying in December, I'm a little confused -- I assume grades don't come out till late in December. How can I know I have "very high grades" before I see them?

Sorry if these are naive questions -- I'm new to legal employment, and thanks in advance for your help.


Law firm diversity is much more in line with conventional notions of diversity than the law school URM categories. The reason that diversity matters for 1L SAs is because some firms only hire 1Ls through a diversity program. These jobs usually require some sort of diversity statement and are more holistic in their review of candidates than the firms might be during OCI (as in, they don't care about grades and some hire before grades even come out but do care strongly about school).

Grades can matter because some firms will hire 1L SAs only after seeing their grades. I know it's confusing that you have to apply in December and then the firms don't even hire until January/February, but the advice exists for a couple reasons. Some firms will start the interview process in December before grades come out and then wait to make final decisions until they see grades. Other firms will hire without grades from top schools (usually HYSCCN only). And some firms will wait until grades come out and then interview candidates solely based on grades. The level of grades that are required varies. When I was a 1L, it seemed like firms would only look at you if you were in the top 10% if not diverse. And even then, it was still somewhat of a crapshoot. 1L hiring has expanded a bit in recent years so you might find something with lower grades, but it's probably related to the strong economy and who knows if that will continue.

1L SAs are just much more of a crapshoot than finding a job through 2L OCI. Firms take far fewer students (some take none at all) and so they can be pickier about candidates. The thing to remember is that while a 1L SA is nice out of a CCN, it is by no means required to get biglaw during your 2L summer. 1L summer offers you the chance to try some other area of the law that might interest you down the road (public interest, government, in-house) and get that experience before you go into biglaw from 2L summer and beyond. In many cases, I would argue that students might even be better served in the long run doing something other than biglaw their 1L summer.

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:08 am

Sharpy wrote:My career goals are not necessarily the same thing as my legal employment expectations as W&M student. I'm a long time lurker on this site, and for the past year now I have basically read and used every resource on here that relates to legal employment out of law school. I understand the mechanics of OCI, I know how different schools can effect your chances of legal employment, and I understand how hard it is to get a biglaw job IN GENERAL (along with everything else you mentioned in your last paragraph). I am not biglaw or bust, and my expectations going into W&M are fully in line with their employment prospects. I know what I'm getting into.

With that being said, I don't see any reason why I need to change my goals. Yes, biglaw out of W&M is incredibly hard and an unrealistic expectation to enter with, but its not impossible. ~20% of the class has consistently been getting biglaw jobs (100+ attorneys, not 500+) for the past couple years, why can I not aspire to be in that 20%? I have been reading the 1L guides to doing well on this site, recently started Getting to Maybe, and have generally been formulating a plan to try and finish at the top of my class this upcoming year. Gathering more information about legal employment is part of that plan, and that is why I made this thread. It was meant to be strictly informational, and not completely indicative of my goals or expectations going into law school. Everything that you stated in your post was absolutely true, and definitely helpful even if you did fall into the common trend I have noticed on TLS of being quite negative of any kind of non-t14 students employment prospects.


No one is being too negative. You're going to a school where you have a 20% chance (or less) of getting the job you want, and a near-0% chance of getting a 1L SA position. You can aim for the top 20%, but as much as you seem to be aware that this is unrealistic, you also seem unreasonably optimistic about your chances. If you truly want biglaw (especially a 1L SA), it's not too late to back out of a bad decision (since you clearly don't have a backup plan).

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:13 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Sharpy wrote:My career goals are not necessarily the same thing as my legal employment expectations as W&M student. I'm a long time lurker on this site, and for the past year now I have basically read and used every resource on here that relates to legal employment out of law school. I understand the mechanics of OCI, I know how different schools can effect your chances of legal employment, and I understand how hard it is to get a biglaw job IN GENERAL (along with everything else you mentioned in your last paragraph). I am not biglaw or bust, and my expectations going into W&M are fully in line with their employment prospects. I know what I'm getting into.

With that being said, I don't see any reason why I need to change my goals. Yes, biglaw out of W&M is incredibly hard and an unrealistic expectation to enter with, but its not impossible. ~20% of the class has consistently been getting biglaw jobs (100+ attorneys, not 500+) for the past couple years, why can I not aspire to be in that 20%? I have been reading the 1L guides to doing well on this site, recently started Getting to Maybe, and have generally been formulating a plan to try and finish at the top of my class this upcoming year. Gathering more information about legal employment is part of that plan, and that is why I made this thread. It was meant to be strictly informational, and not completely indicative of my goals or expectations going into law school. Everything that you stated in your post was absolutely true, and definitely helpful even if you did fall into the common trend I have noticed on TLS of being quite negative of any kind of non-t14 students employment prospects.


No one is being too negative. You're going to a school where you have a 20% chance (or less) of getting the job you want, and a near-0% chance of getting a 1L SA position. You can aim for the top 20%, but as much as you seem to be aware that this is unrealistic, you also seem unreasonably optimistic about your chances. If you truly want biglaw (especially a 1L SA), it's not too late to back out of a bad decision (since you clearly don't have a backup plan).


I'm actually quite curious to know what makes you so confident in making the assumption that I clearly don't have a backup plan?

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:22 am

Sharpy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Sharpy wrote:My career goals are not necessarily the same thing as my legal employment expectations as W&M student. I'm a long time lurker on this site, and for the past year now I have basically read and used every resource on here that relates to legal employment out of law school. I understand the mechanics of OCI, I know how different schools can effect your chances of legal employment, and I understand how hard it is to get a biglaw job IN GENERAL (along with everything else you mentioned in your last paragraph). I am not biglaw or bust, and my expectations going into W&M are fully in line with their employment prospects. I know what I'm getting into.

With that being said, I don't see any reason why I need to change my goals. Yes, biglaw out of W&M is incredibly hard and an unrealistic expectation to enter with, but its not impossible. ~20% of the class has consistently been getting biglaw jobs (100+ attorneys, not 500+) for the past couple years, why can I not aspire to be in that 20%? I have been reading the 1L guides to doing well on this site, recently started Getting to Maybe, and have generally been formulating a plan to try and finish at the top of my class this upcoming year. Gathering more information about legal employment is part of that plan, and that is why I made this thread. It was meant to be strictly informational, and not completely indicative of my goals or expectations going into law school. Everything that you stated in your post was absolutely true, and definitely helpful even if you did fall into the common trend I have noticed on TLS of being quite negative of any kind of non-t14 students employment prospects.


No one is being too negative. You're going to a school where you have a 20% chance (or less) of getting the job you want, and a near-0% chance of getting a 1L SA position. You can aim for the top 20%, but as much as you seem to be aware that this is unrealistic, you also seem unreasonably optimistic about your chances. If you truly want biglaw (especially a 1L SA), it's not too late to back out of a bad decision (since you clearly don't have a backup plan).


I'm actually quite curious to know what makes you so confident in making the assumption that I clearly don't have a backup plan?


The fact that every single time someone mentions it, you get really defensive and reiterate that getting biglaw from W&M is "not impossible".

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:49 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Sharpy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Sharpy wrote:My career goals are not necessarily the same thing as my legal employment expectations as W&M student. I'm a long time lurker on this site, and for the past year now I have basically read and used every resource on here that relates to legal employment out of law school. I understand the mechanics of OCI, I know how different schools can effect your chances of legal employment, and I understand how hard it is to get a biglaw job IN GENERAL (along with everything else you mentioned in your last paragraph). I am not biglaw or bust, and my expectations going into W&M are fully in line with their employment prospects. I know what I'm getting into.

With that being said, I don't see any reason why I need to change my goals. Yes, biglaw out of W&M is incredibly hard and an unrealistic expectation to enter with, but its not impossible. ~20% of the class has consistently been getting biglaw jobs (100+ attorneys, not 500+) for the past couple years, why can I not aspire to be in that 20%? I have been reading the 1L guides to doing well on this site, recently started Getting to Maybe, and have generally been formulating a plan to try and finish at the top of my class this upcoming year. Gathering more information about legal employment is part of that plan, and that is why I made this thread. It was meant to be strictly informational, and not completely indicative of my goals or expectations going into law school. Everything that you stated in your post was absolutely true, and definitely helpful even if you did fall into the common trend I have noticed on TLS of being quite negative of any kind of non-t14 students employment prospects.


No one is being too negative. You're going to a school where you have a 20% chance (or less) of getting the job you want, and a near-0% chance of getting a 1L SA position. You can aim for the top 20%, but as much as you seem to be aware that this is unrealistic, you also seem unreasonably optimistic about your chances. If you truly want biglaw (especially a 1L SA), it's not too late to back out of a bad decision (since you clearly don't have a backup plan).


I'm actually quite curious to know what makes you so confident in making the assumption that I clearly don't have a backup plan?


The fact that every single time someone mentions it, you get really defensive and reiterate that getting biglaw from W&M is "not impossible".


Well first of all, since when did stating, or reiterating, a fact that pertains to my career goals become an indicator of defensive behavior? That is just me restating that it is possible for me to achieve what I want to, despite TLS making it seem like I have a 0% chance. That line of thinking is especially bizarre when considered in the context of the rest of my posts, where I have clearly displayed an understanding of the legal employment prospects I will be faced with. You're construing my optimistic attitude of trying to make the best out of my limited chances as me being too optimistic on what those chances actually are.

Secondly, again could you please explain how my statements about my chances of attaining biglaw is in anyway indicative of me not having a back-up plan? My statements that getting biglaw at W&M is not impossible by no means indicates that I'm biglaw or bust and don't have a back-up plan lol. It's simply absurd that you would make the logical leap that my pursuit of one legal career means that I have no plans for any others.

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:59 am

Sharpy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:The fact that every single time someone mentions it, you get really defensive and reiterate that getting biglaw from W&M is "not impossible".


Well first of all, since when did stating, or reiterating, a fact that pertains to my career goals become an indicator of defensive behavior? That is just me restating that it is possible for me to achieve what I want to, despite TLS making it seem like I have a 0% chance. That line of thinking is especially bizarre when considered in the context of the rest of my posts, where I have clearly displayed an understanding of the legal employment prospects I will be faced with. You're construing my optimistic attitude of trying to make the best out of my limited chances as me being too optimistic on what those chances actually are.

Secondly, again could you please explain how my statements about my chances of attaining biglaw is in anyway indicative of me not having a back-up plan? My statements that getting biglaw at W&M is not impossible by no means indicates that I'm biglaw or bust and don't have a back-up plan lol. It's simply absurd that you would make the logical leap that my pursuit of one legal career means that I have no plans for any others.


QFP

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Mullens » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:05 pm

So what's your back up plan then?

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:20 pm

Mullens wrote:So what's your back up plan then?


For my 1L summer, a judge that I know well in ***** has offered to help me find employment so I plan on pursuing that.

For 2L and beyond, I will target midsize firms and local government jobs in both Virginia and PiA, as well as trying to leverage some of my connections in Pittsburgh for a job at the bigger firms there. Because of prior undergrad work in law firms in ******* I do have some connections to the biglaw market there.
Last edited by Sharpy on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Mullens » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:35 pm

Sharpy wrote:
Mullens wrote:So what's your back up plan then?


For my 1L summer, a judge that I know well in Pittsburgh's Court of Common Pleas has offered to help me find employment so I plan on pursuing that.

For 2L and beyond, I will target midsize firms and local government jobs in both Virginia and Pittsburgh, as well as trying to leverage some of my connections in Pittsburgh for a job at the bigger firms there. Because of prior undergrad work in law firms in Pittsburgh I do have some connections to the biglaw market there.


So if you actually have read as much TLS as you claim, then you know that your plan is target midsize firms isn't really a back up plan at all. And you also know that you can't just waltz into some government job after you strike out of biglaw because most of those jobs require a proven commitment to the work.

I'm concerned that you're unrealistically optimistic about your chances of landing biglaw and that your school choice doesn't match your goals. Good luck and I hope you succeed against the odds.

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby guynourmin » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:44 pm

Sharpy wrote:
Mullens wrote:So what's your back up plan then?


For 2L and beyond, I will target midsize firms and local government jobs in both Virginia and Pittsburgh, as well as trying to leverage some of my connections in Pittsburgh for a job at the bigger firms there. Because of prior undergrad work in law firms in Pittsburgh I do have some connections to the biglaw market there.


to be clear: a large part of your backup plan if you don't get biglaw is to pursue biglaw, is that what I'm reading?

Sharpy
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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby Sharpy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:48 pm

guybourdin wrote:
Sharpy wrote:
Mullens wrote:So what's your back up plan then?


For 2L and beyond, I will target midsize firms and local government jobs in both Virginia and Pittsburgh, as well as trying to leverage some of my connections in Pittsburgh for a job at the bigger firms there. Because of prior undergrad work in law firms in Pittsburgh I do have some connections to the biglaw market there.


to be clear: a large part of your backup plan if you don't get biglaw is to pursue biglaw, is that what I'm reading?
Mullens wrote:
Sharpy wrote:
Mullens wrote:So what's your back up plan then?


For my 1L summer, a judge that I know well in Pittsburgh's Court of Common Pleas has offered to help me find employment so I plan on pursuing that.

For 2L and beyond, I will target midsize firms and local government jobs in both Virginia and Pittsburgh, as well as trying to leverage some of my connections in Pittsburgh for a job at the bigger firms there. Because of prior undergrad work in law firms in Pittsburgh I do have some connections to the biglaw market there.


So if you actually have read as much TLS as you claim, then you know that your plan is target midsize firms isn't really a back up plan at all. And you also know that you can't just waltz into some government job after you strike out of biglaw because most of those jobs require a proven commitment to the work.

I'm concerned that you're unrealistically optimistic about your chances of landing biglaw and that your school choice doesn't match your goals. Good luck and I hope you succeed against the odds.



Thank you for the input. While I will not succumb to the TLS status quo of believing that it's t14 or bust when it comes to landing any kind of meaningful legal employment, I do appreciate the advice and discussion. Always a refreshing reminder of how cynical the internet can be.

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Re: Steps to 1L SA

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:52 pm

A: Give me advice.
B: [Advice]
A: No, not that advice! Advice that makes me feel great about my poor decisions!
B: [Advice]
A: You're too cynical. See you when I'm a millionaire, suckas!




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