Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

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Zenspeller

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Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by Zenspeller » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:54 pm

Assuming I got stellar grades at a T3/4 school (3.7+), or an LLM on top of that with stellar grades, but with bad records (low ugpa, low masters gpa, and criminal history - 3 misdemeanor criminal assaults + civil violation), is there a chance of landing a $100k starting salary at a law firm?

None of the misdemeanors resulted in serious injuries (reddened skin at most). All 4 convictions happened several years ago. Assuming I make it to law school and join the bar, would I have a chance of being hired at all by a law firm that pays at the level?

Really need to know. Thanks.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Fri May 01, 2020 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by Law2019 » Fri May 01, 2020 9:34 am

Zenspeller wrote:Assuming I got stellar grades at a T3/4 school (3.7+), or an LLM on top of that with stellar grades, but with bad records (low ugpa, low masters gpa, and criminal history - 3 misdemeanor criminal assaults + civil violation), is there a chance of landing a $100k starting salary at a law firm?

None of the misdemeanors resulted in serious injuries (reddened skin at most). All 4 convictions happened several years ago. Assuming I make it to law school and join the bar, would I have a chance of being hired at all by a law firm that pays at the level?

Really need to know. Thanks.
You had 4 convictions for assault several years ago. I would be worried about being admitted to the bar, let alone landing a job. Assuming you gain admittance to the bar, you will likely be viewed as a risk by all firms, regardless of what they pay. There is an oversupply of lawyers, most of whom have zero convictions. It’s tough to imagine any firm taking a risk on you when the next candidate has identical credentials but zero recent convictions for assault.
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cavalier1138

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri May 01, 2020 9:39 am

Zenspeller wrote:Assuming I got stellar grades at a T3/4 school (3.7+), or an LLM on top of that with stellar grades
This is a weird assumption. Why are you stuck with a T3/4 school? Why do you assume you'll get good grades there? Why do you think an LLM means anything for legal hiring?

But yes, aside from that, your criminal history is going to pose a problem with admission to both law school and the bar. I don't agree with the other poster's dire prediction that no law firm will hire you with prior convictions (because that clearly isn't true). But I'd still advise consulting a C&F attorney regarding the assault convictions to figure out how much of an issue these will be.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nixy » Fri May 01, 2020 9:56 am

I think if you can get admitted to a law school/to a state bar, if you can pass a state's C&F, a law firm won't really care about your record. You will have to check with a C&F attorney (or maybe call the state bar association infoline for the state you're thinking of practicing in) about the possibility of passing C&F. But getting a $100k+ job out of a T3/4 school is an uphill battle even with a clean background.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nope.nope.nah. » Wed May 13, 2020 12:27 pm

Zenspeller wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:54 pm
Assuming I got stellar grades at a T3/4 school (3.7+), or an LLM on top of that with stellar grades, but with bad records (low ugpa, low masters gpa, and criminal history - 3 misdemeanor criminal assaults + civil violation), is there a chance of landing a $100k starting salary at a law firm?

None of the misdemeanors resulted in serious injuries (reddened skin at most). All 4 convictions happened several years ago. Assuming I make it to law school and join the bar, would I have a chance of being hired at all by a law firm that pays at the level?

Really need to know. Thanks.
IF you clear c&f (which is a big IF), firms probably won't care. But really, that's your big hurdle here. Have you explored the likelihood of bar admission in your desired state? Second issue, making 6 figures from any T3/4 school is a stretch. Finally, assuming stellar grades is a faulty premise. Law school is curved -- you can't just do well. You have to do better than everyone else.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by QContinuum » Wed May 13, 2020 12:49 pm

nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:27 pm
IF you clear c&f (which is a big IF), firms probably won't care. But really, that's your big hurdle here. Have you explored the likelihood of bar admission in your desired state?
Agree that clearing bar C&F is a big IF. Disagree that "firms probably won't care." We aren't talking about, I dunno, smoking pot or drinking underage. We're talking about criminal assault. And we aren't even talking about one assault, which would be enough to raise eyebrows at a law firm, but three. And an unspecified civil violation on top of those three assaults. All of which sounds like they happened within the past ~5 years.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nope.nope.nah. » Wed May 13, 2020 1:33 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:49 pm
nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:27 pm
IF you clear c&f (which is a big IF), firms probably won't care. But really, that's your big hurdle here. Have you explored the likelihood of bar admission in your desired state?
Agree that clearing bar C&F is a big IF. Disagree that "firms probably won't care." We aren't talking about, I dunno, smoking pot or drinking underage. We're talking about criminal assault. And we aren't even talking about one assault, which would be enough to raise eyebrows at a law firm, but three. And an unspecified civil violation on top of those three assaults. All of which sounds like they happened within the past ~5 years.
That's fair. I only know how my firm would look at it, can't purport to speak for firms in general.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed May 13, 2020 7:00 pm

You’d need to be valedictorian level at those schools to get that job in this economy. Nobody really gets a $100k starting out. You will either get way less or way more. If you are serious about that goal, go to a different school.

For character and fitness, they tend to be as concerned with the specific events behind the record as they are with the record itself. I know people who served time in prison and were admitted with great jobs. It’s the details that matter. Prior drug addiction is easier for them to forgive than underlying character concerns. Who were the fights with? My assumption would be you are a man who hit a woman multiple times. If this is what happened, regardless of whether her skin was reddened or she had broken bones, it is going to be very difficult to get licensed. You should consult with a c&f attorney before sinking time and money into law school. Repeated violence against a woman may be auto-denial in many jurisdictions. This isn’t legal advice, but an absolute recommendation to get legal advice.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed May 13, 2020 7:03 pm

nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:33 pm
QContinuum wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:49 pm
nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:27 pm
IF you clear c&f (which is a big IF), firms probably won't care. But really, that's your big hurdle here. Have you explored the likelihood of bar admission in your desired state?
Agree that clearing bar C&F is a big IF. Disagree that "firms probably won't care." We aren't talking about, I dunno, smoking pot or drinking underage. We're talking about criminal assault. And we aren't even talking about one assault, which would be enough to raise eyebrows at a law firm, but three. And an unspecified civil violation on top of those three assaults. All of which sounds like they happened within the past ~5 years.
That's fair. I only know how my firm would look at it, can't purport to speak for firms in general.
I think it depends who was assaulted. Most people aren’t getting into multiple fist fights. This sounds like the Russell Crowe character on South Park. When you hear multiple assaults, you think of domestic violence and if this is any kind of male on female violence, especially repeated male on female violence, I don’t think the over/under on bar admission is pretty.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nope.nope.nah. » Fri May 15, 2020 6:40 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 7:03 pm
nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:33 pm
QContinuum wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:49 pm
nope.nope.nah. wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 12:27 pm
IF you clear c&f (which is a big IF), firms probably won't care. But really, that's your big hurdle here. Have you explored the likelihood of bar admission in your desired state?
Agree that clearing bar C&F is a big IF. Disagree that "firms probably won't care." We aren't talking about, I dunno, smoking pot or drinking underage. We're talking about criminal assault. And we aren't even talking about one assault, which would be enough to raise eyebrows at a law firm, but three. And an unspecified civil violation on top of those three assaults. All of which sounds like they happened within the past ~5 years.
That's fair. I only know how my firm would look at it, can't purport to speak for firms in general.
I think it depends who was assaulted. Most people aren’t getting into multiple fist fights. This sounds like the Russell Crowe character on South Park. When you hear multiple assaults, you think of domestic violence and if this is any kind of male on female violence, especially repeated male on female violence, I don’t think the over/under on bar admission is pretty.
Yep, huge difference between a pattern of DV and someone who got into a couple of fights at 19 or 20. My immediate association was the latter, based on nothing more than personal frame of reference.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nixy » Fri May 15, 2020 7:17 pm

Yeah, I figured bar fights or the like. Obviously no way to know from the OP (also not asking for details, none of my business).

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by QContinuum » Fri May 15, 2020 8:28 pm

I dunno, guys - I mean, yes, DV is a huge deal and obviously much more of a bar C&F concern than bar fights, but I strongly suspect the firms I'm familiar with would be very leery of hiring a new junior with a record of multiple recent-ish criminal assault convictions (plus a civil violation on top). Law firms are inherently very risk-averse, and particularly when it comes to hiring a junior, where, let's face it, the supply far outstrips the demand. I'd just really hesitate to proclaim that a firm wouldn't bat an eyelash at someone with a recent-ish history of getting into fights (plural) serious enough to land him (presumably him) with criminal charges. Like, one fight, maybe, if the context warrants... but multiple fights? Most BigLawyers don't have a pattern of physical violence like that.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by LSATWiz.com » Fri May 15, 2020 11:07 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 8:28 pm
I dunno, guys - I mean, yes, DV is a huge deal and obviously much more of a bar C&F concern than bar fights, but I strongly suspect the firms I'm familiar with would be very leery of hiring a new junior with a record of multiple recent-ish criminal assault convictions (plus a civil violation on top). Law firms are inherently very risk-averse, and particularly when it comes to hiring a junior, where, let's face it, the supply far outstrips the demand. I'd just really hesitate to proclaim that a firm wouldn't bat an eyelash at someone with a recent-ish history of getting into fights (plural) serious enough to land him (presumably him) with criminal charges. Like, one fight, maybe, if the context warrants... but multiple fights? Most BigLawyers don't have a pattern of physical violence like that.
I don't think it's a big law thing so much as adult violence that isn't linked to robbery, drug usage, or domestic violence being relatively uncommon. I agree you'd have to question the psychological state of such an individual as if we define a disorder as a compulsion to do anything averse to one's survival, random fighting would clearly fit that description. People generally don't respond with such aggression unless there's something material to be gained or because it's someone they feel emotional towards. Even if we removed legality from it, there's risk to one's safety involved and it would be abnormal for someone to subject themselves to such risk for no benefit on multiple occasions. I don't think it's necessarily something that we can point to example for one way or the other, because it's probably relatively rare in general society, much less in the portion of society applying for six-figure legal jobs.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by nealric » Mon May 18, 2020 12:03 pm

A few items:

1) Why the focus on T3/4 schools? The very top of the class at those schools may make $100k+ (somewhere between top 5% and top handful of people depending on school), but doing that well is hardly something one can plan on in advance.

2) An LLM really only enters into the conversation if you are doing tax. A T3/4 degree + an LLM from NYU or Georgetown with top 30ish% grades may get you a job at the Big 4 accounting firms paying low six figures in NYC or DC.

3) Being convicted in 3 separate assault incidents is pretty extreme. I have to imagine that the vast majority of minor scuffles don't result in a criminal assault conviction. If I were looking at an application with that record, I'd ask question of how many fights have you been in that did not result in a conviction? Or was this repeat DV? Either way, you will likely need a very compelling story of reform to avoid trouble getting admitted to the bar.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by ohsaycanyousee » Mon May 18, 2020 11:07 pm

I would assume OP is focusing on T3/T4 schools because his/her GPA precludes him from T1/T2 schools. He/She mentioned having a low undergrad GPA.

Did the three misdemeanor convictions and one civil action arise out of the same event? Or are all associated with separate circumstances?

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue May 19, 2020 5:29 pm

Other posters have focused on the obstacles that you'll face because of your convictions at several steps along the way, and I agree. Depending on the circumstances of the convictions---and in most cases we can think of---it'll be hard to get into law school, get admitted to practice, and convince a legal employer to hire you because of your criminal record.

I wanted to add that legal-job salaries are bimodal: there are many legal jobs that pay $40-80k, a smaller number that pay ~$160-200k, and very few jobs between those two ranges. It's very unlikely that a fresh law school grad goes into a job making exactly or approximately $100k. That said, jobs at big firms (which pay around $120-160k in smaller markets and $180-200k in most major markets) are very competitive and mostly hire from the top 13-20 law schools, plus the top few students at lower-ranked regional schools. Very few T3/T4 students have a shot at big-firm jobs, as others have noted, and having a disconcerting rap sheet will probably be a disadvantage in addition to that.

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Re: Is 100k+ starting salary law firm job possible with bad records?

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed May 20, 2020 8:39 am

nealric wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 12:03 pm
A few items:

1) Why the focus on T3/4 schools? The very top of the class at those schools may make $100k+ (somewhere between top 5% and top handful of people depending on school), but doing that well is hardly something one can plan on in advance.

2) An LLM really only enters into the conversation if you are doing tax. A T3/4 degree + an LLM from NYU or Georgetown with top 30ish% grades may get you a job at the Big 4 accounting firms paying low six figures in NYC or DC.

3) Being convicted in 3 separate assault incidents is pretty extreme. I have to imagine that the vast majority of minor scuffles don't result in a criminal assault conviction. If I were looking at an application with that record, I'd ask question of how many fights have you been in that did not result in a conviction? Or was this repeat DV? Either way, you will likely need a very compelling story of reform to avoid trouble getting admitted to the bar.
I think based on the time of year they may have been admitted to those schools and need to make a decision. I don’t want to jump to judgment but impulse control is related to studying so OP may have difficulty adequately prepping for the LSAT, which may have limited their school choice more than the disclosures. This may make it difficult to outstudy their peers to be top of the class so the hope would be that he is naturally gifted at them that intense studying over a prolonged period is not required. It’s possible but we are approaching 1:10,000 type probabilities.

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