First Year Grades Mean Everything?

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CaptainCrunch
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First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:30 pm

I'm sure this has been asked numerous times but I ask your patience and a fresh take on the topic.

I've heard multiple times that your 1L grades are the most determinative for your future. I performed decently but not top 10%. Hypothetically, how much does one salvage by making it to the top 10% after the second or third year?

theantiscalia
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby theantiscalia » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:31 pm

CaptainCrunch wrote:I'm sure this has been asked numerous times but I ask your patience and a fresh take on the topic.

I've heard multiple times that your 1L grades are the most determinative for your future. I performed decently but not top 10%. Hypothetically, how much does one salvage by making it to the top 10% after the second or third year?


I myself just finished 1L, so take this with a grain of salt, but given the legal hiring timeline (i.e. OCI), 1L is the vast majority of what matters.

Of course if you don't get anything at OCI, 2L and 3L grades become far more important...

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swc65
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:45 pm

Yes, by and large, they generaly do mean everything.

As far as salvaging the not great year, that totally depends on what school your attending. The answer can be "Doesn't matter you'll get a great job anyway" to "you never really had a chance at that school, so who cares?"
Last edited by swc65 on Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:22 pm

They mean everything for OCI.

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Cavalier
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby Cavalier » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:40 pm

OCI is where most people ultimately get their big law jobs, and OCI occurs in August of your 2L year, when you have only your 1L grades. You figure it out.

OnceUponAMemo
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby OnceUponAMemo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:06 pm

Cavalier wrote:OCI is where most people ultimately get their big law jobs, and OCI occurs in August of your 2L year, when you have only your 1L grades. You figure it out.


Bolded is true of the t15 maybe, beyond that it's probably a pretty even split that declines as you go up the rankings. If a person is more interested in PI or government, 1L grades are less important as you will be applying to these positions at the beginning of 3L year. They still are vastly important and help you get the placement you want as a 2L summer in order to be in a position to apply for better government jobs as 3L commences.

I agree with the sentiment above, just think peeps should be hesitant to embrace the OCI or bust mantra.

Edited to add I blatantly misread Cavalier's statement to read OCI is where most people ultimately get their jobs. He is right about everything he said there then, but I would still advise one to refrain from the OCI or /self mindset.
Last edited by OnceUponAMemo on Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:09 pm

Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.

xyzbca
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby xyzbca » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:39 pm

OnceUponAMemo wrote:
Cavalier wrote:OCI is where most people ultimately get their big law jobs, and OCI occurs in August of your 2L year, when you have only your 1L grades. You figure it out.


Bolded is true of the t15 maybe, beyond that it's probably a pretty even split that declines as you go up the rankings. If a person is more interested in PI or government, 1L grades are less important as you will be applying to these positions at the beginning of 3L year. They still are vastly important and help you get the placement you want as a 2L summer in order to be in a position to apply for better government jobs as 3L commences.

I agree with the sentiment above, just think peeps should be hesitant to embrace the OCI or bust mantra.


I'm confused by your post.

Are you disagreeing with Cavalier? Are you saying that once you get out of the T15 half of the students that end up in big law get those jobs outside of OCI?

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CaptainCrunch
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:10 am

kalvano wrote:Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.


Right. And that's what I'm hoping for... however, what everyone is saying is the shot at big law is passed come graduation? That's incredibly cynical, but if it comports with reality, might as well know it now.

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CaptainCrunch
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:10 am

So I guess my real question is this... is it next to impossible to find a shot at interviewing with big firms outside of OCI?

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rayiner
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby rayiner » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:15 am

CaptainCrunch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.


Right. And that's what I'm hoping for... however, what everyone is saying is the shot at big law is passed come graduation? That's incredibly cynical, but if it comports with reality, might as well know it now.


Most biglaw firms try to fill their hiring needs out of their 2L summer class. They generally only hire graduating 3Ls when they underestimated their hiring needs during that cycle's 2L summer.

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CaptainCrunch
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:17 am

rayiner wrote:
CaptainCrunch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.


Right. And that's what I'm hoping for... however, what everyone is saying is the shot at big law is passed come graduation? That's incredibly cynical, but if it comports with reality, might as well know it now.


Most biglaw firms try to fill their hiring needs out of their 2L summer class. They generally only hire graduating 3Ls when they underestimated their hiring needs during that cycle's 2L summer.


Balls.

OnceUponAMemo
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby OnceUponAMemo » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:24 am

xyzbca wrote:
OnceUponAMemo wrote:
Cavalier wrote:OCI is where most people ultimately get their big law jobs, and OCI occurs in August of your 2L year, when you have only your 1L grades. You figure it out.


Bolded is true of the t15 maybe, beyond that it's probably a pretty even split that declines as you go up the rankings. If a person is more interested in PI or government, 1L grades are less important as you will be applying to these positions at the beginning of 3L year. They still are vastly important and help you get the placement you want as a 2L summer in order to be in a position to apply for better government jobs as 3L commences.

I agree with the sentiment above, just think peeps should be hesitant to embrace the OCI or bust mantra.


I'm confused by your post.

Are you disagreeing with Cavalier? Are you saying that once you get out of the T15 half of the students that end up in big law get those jobs outside of OCI?


Yeah, my bad. I misread Cavalier's post above (just edited it). I would have been equally confused reading my response.

senorhosh
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby senorhosh » Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:29 am

rayiner wrote:
CaptainCrunch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.


Right. And that's what I'm hoping for... however, what everyone is saying is the shot at big law is passed come graduation? That's incredibly cynical, but if it comports with reality, might as well know it now.


Most biglaw firms try to fill their hiring needs out of their 2L summer class. They generally only hire graduating 3Ls when they underestimated their hiring needs during that cycle's 2L summer.


Why is this the case? What's wrong with hiring a 3L or a graduate with better grades and a better resume than hiring a 2L (provided the 3L and 2L are paid the same)?

taxguy
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby taxguy » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:32 am

I think it is a bit of an over exaggeration to say that first year grades mean everything, but they are very important for several reasons:

First, law review candidates are usually selected based on first year grades and rank, although there are some schools that use "write-ons" exclusively for law review.
Secondly, If you ever want to transfer, the first year grades are what is used for transfers.
Thirdly, even if you don't transfer, you can usually threaten your law school with transfers if they don't give you a nice scholarship. The higher your grades the more clout that you might have with the admission/scholarship committee.
Fourth: Your basic legal skills of legal writing, legal thinking, test taking, research is taught primarily in the first year. Thus, doing well is indicative of how well you learned these skills.
Fifth: It will be a lot easier to get internships over the summer after your 1L and/or 2L if you do particularly well.
Sixth:The multi state portion of the bar exam is comprised of mostly first year topics.
However, even if you weren't in the top 10-20% in the first year, you might still get jobs with decent law firms if you end up overall with a top notch GPA and class rank. Thus, the other years can count.

In addition, a lot of skills can be taught in the second and third years especially skills like negotiating, litigating, dispute resolution, legal writing ( if you didn't master this in your first year), and even enhancing your legal thinking, not to mention knowledge of some potentially vital subject areas such as tax or IP etc. Thus, mastering the skills and ideas from the last two years of law school can provide many future benefits.

Sadly, many students treat the last two years of law school as something worthless that they have to endure,which I think is very wrong. My personal take is that the latter two years of law school give you the real skills that you would need in the legal profession, which is why law school is three years instead of one year.

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kalvano
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby kalvano » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:33 am

senorhosh wrote:
rayiner wrote:
CaptainCrunch wrote:
kalvano wrote:Also, just to throw it out there, even if your grades aren't so good after 1L, you can graduate with a great ranking.


Right. And that's what I'm hoping for... however, what everyone is saying is the shot at big law is passed come graduation? That's incredibly cynical, but if it comports with reality, might as well know it now.


Most biglaw firms try to fill their hiring needs out of their 2L summer class. They generally only hire graduating 3Ls when they underestimated their hiring needs during that cycle's 2L summer.


Why is this the case? What's wrong with hiring a 3L or a graduate with better grades and a better resume than hiring a 2L (provided the 3L and 2L are paid the same)?



Because firms conduct OCI right before your 2L year for the following summer, and then employment offers are extended from that. There is nothing "wrong" with hiring a graduating 3L, and it happens, but it's not the way it works generally.

D.Wilde
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby D.Wilde » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:32 am

To spell it out in its most basic terms, here is the big law firm employment timeline for law students.

1) 1L
2) 1L Summer: On Campus Interviewing ("OCI") [Only 1L grades available]
3) 2L Fall: Callback interviews and Offers Extended for 2L Summer Associate positions.
4) 2L Summer (May-July): Summer Program - Work at big law firm whose offer you accepted.
5) 2L Summer (July/August): Receive offer to return to firm upon graduation. Accept offer.
6) 2L Summer (August/September): Apply, interview and accept offer for a clerkship.
7) 3L [At this point, grades only matter for latin honors]
8) Graduation
9) Bar Exam
10) Clerk
11) Return to firm where you spent your 2L Summer.

So, as you see, large law firms generally hire all (or certainly most) of their incoming associates directly from their Summer Program, and the offers to join this program are extended before any 2L or 3L grades are available. Hence the old adage that "1L grades are the only ones that matter."

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Cavalier
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Re: First Year Grades Mean Everything?

Postby Cavalier » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:48 pm

D.Wilde wrote:To spell it out in its most basic terms, here is the big law firm employment timeline for law students.

1) 1L
2) 1L Summer: On Campus Interviewing ("OCI") [Only 1L grades available]
3) 2L Fall: Callback interviews and Offers Extended for 2L Summer Associate positions.
4) 2L Summer (May-July): Summer Program - Work at big law firm whose offer you accepted.
5) 2L Summer (July/August): Receive offer to return to firm upon graduation. Accept offer.
6) 2L Summer (August/September): Apply, interview and accept offer for a clerkship.
7) 3L [At this point, grades only matter for latin honors]
8) Graduation
9) Bar Exam
10) Clerk
11) Return to firm where you spent your 2L Summer.

So, as you see, large law firms generally hire all (or certainly most) of their incoming associates directly from their Summer Program, and the offers to join this program are extended before any 2L or 3L grades are available. Hence the old adage that "1L grades are the only ones that matter."

Most students don't clerk, and for those that do, the application process basically begins spring of 2L year (and even earlier for some judges). Also, within that timeline, there are really only two additional periods to interview for big law: the late summer and early fall of 3L year and any time for law clerks. But that doesn't help those who strike out at 2L OCI. 3L hiring is very limited, and the 3Ls who do get hired usually were summer associates who received an offer and want to trade firms for various reasons (fit, geography, etc.). And while it isn't terribly hard to land a big law job from an Article III clerkship, getting such a clerkship almost certainly requires grades good enough to have gotten a summer associate position from OCI.

As far as grades and getting an offer go, it totally varies by firm. Some firms (cough Gibson Dunn cough) are notorious for demanding 2L grades before decisions are made, but a lot never ask. Once you have accepted an offer with a firm, if you know and trust a young associate there, ask him or her about the firm's policy on 2L grades if it at all concerns you (although a better decision would be to simply keep your grades decent).




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