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For spring-semester 3Ls who (1) have a big law lit job lined up, (2) either already have or are not planning to pursue a clerkship (ever), and (3) can't enter into/fall out of a new graduation honors bracket (eg cum laude either way), is there any reason at all to care what your grades are (assuming they're not so bad it's weird)?
I mean your question is whether they even matter a little bit. So, yeah, that matter at least a little bit. It kind of all depends on what you do. Biglaw was asking for transcripts for laterals who were 2-3 years out a few years ago. If you want to go into certain parts of the government, they'll care about your grades (again, it depends on how long you wait to apply there). There's definitely a lot of employers that will look at your transcripts and grades a few years out. When you start getting to the 5+ year mark, though, they matter a lot less, and what you did in that time frame matters a lot more. With that said, there are still plenty of employers who require "exceptional academics" and ask for transcripts even for attorneys who are quite far out. I just applied to one such position today at a USAO. Law is weird about law school prestige, grades in law school, etc., unlike a lot of other fields where none of that really matters after your first job.
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. Regarding anon's comment, I get that grades generally might still matter, but is it like, "well, they might be the straw that breaks the camel's back?" Or is it like "no, for grade selective employers, they totally still matter, so much so that the cum laude top 15% guy is a safer bet than the cum laude top 25% guy, the coif top 3% guy is a safer bet than the coif top 9% guy, and the no-honors top 40% guy is a safer bet than the no-honors median guy?"