Diminishing Returns?

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Diminishing Returns?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:45 am

Once you hit a grade cutoff for a firm, do they stop caring about your grades as much? EX. if firm X has a grade cut off at 3.6, will a person with a 3.9 have a big advantage over a person with a 3.7? Or at this point, is it all about if you are a good match for the firm? A mix of both?

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blair.waldorf

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by blair.waldorf » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:21 am

I went to a "T20" (WUSTL/Vandy/UCLA), and things might be different at a T14 and especially a T6, but I definitely do not think there are diminishing returns to an extremely high GPA as compared to a good but not amazing GPA. I was in the top 5% of my class and basically had my pick of firms from those I applied to, while a lot of my friends who were in the top 25% or so only got 1-2 offers. I'm not sure how broadly they applied, what their interviews were like, etc., so maybe take that with a grain of salt, but that was my experience FWIW.

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:34 am

blair.waldorf wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:21 am
I went to a "T20" (WUSTL/Vandy/UCLA), and things might be different at a T14 and especially a T6, but I definitely do not think there are diminishing returns to an extremely high GPA as compared to a good but not amazing GPA. I was in the top 5% of my class and basically had my pick of firms from those I applied to, while a lot of my friends who were in the top 25% or so only got 1-2 offers. I'm not sure how broadly they applied, what their interviews were like, etc., so maybe take that with a grain of salt, but that was my experience FWIW.
Agree with this. Obviously, a grade cutoff is, by definition, the biggest single inflection point. But "wow this guy/gal is on pace for magna" definitely plays into callback offers.

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:14 pm

Can't speak for every firm, but my NY V5 has a certain GPA cutoff for each school. If you're below the GPA cutoff, you cannot get an offer. Once you're above that GPA cutoff, it's entirely about personality/fit.

For what it's worth, for my T14, the cutoff was right around top 1/3 of class.

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by wanderinglawyer » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:20 pm

Having conducted OCI on behalf of a V10 and participated in the process of deciding who should get a callback, GPA still matters after the cutoff. Meeting the GPA minimum just means you aren't an automatic ding (barring certain exceptional circumstances where a waiver might be granted (e.g. diversity) for a very close but slightly unqualified GPA). But you are still competing with many other qualified candidates for a limited number of callback slots. As between two otherwise relatively equal candidates, GPA can absolutely matter - why should a firm call back someone with a 3.4 when they can call back someone with a 3.9? But firms will also absolutely turn down someone with a 3.9 if they interview poorly, don't seem interested etc. Plus factors like diversity, prior experience, interest in a specialized area, sparkling interview, etc. can also set someone with a GPA on the low end apart vs.a generic candidate with a higher GPA.

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notinbiglaw

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by notinbiglaw » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:13 am

If you're just above the cutoff, you need to ace the interview.

If you have a 4.0, you just have to be normal.

tbp140

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by tbp140 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:11 pm

I used to be on the recruiting committee for a v50 and that firm practiced yield protection (i.e., they would not extend an offer/callback if they thought the candidate was too good for the firm and unlikely to accept). Not sure if other firms do that but just throwing that out there.

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:03 pm

My firm (V10) is not very grade selective in the sense that once you get an interview, it is more about fit than grades. So having a 3.7 vs a 3.6 probably won’t make a difference. That said, the closer you get to a 4.0, it does start to stand out and I think it gives you a significant boost. You also probably go into interviews with a little more benefit of the doubt.

Another somewhat related point is I think it’s too bad that some schools just generally give out lower grades (for example a 3.0 median vs a 3.3 or 3.4 median). You can make up for it a bit if they let you list your class rank but I think it puts their students at a disadvantage overall. I’m sure we have people at the firm who will equalize everything but most attorneys doing interviews don’t and are probably more impressed by higher GPAs overall.

Then you have weird grading systems like Chicago. Each time I interview someone from Chicago, I have no idea how their grades stack up. I’m sure there is an explanation somewhere on their transcript that could explain it to me in a couple minutes, but I’ve never really cared enough to do that so if someone has stellar grades, I’ll probably miss it unless their other credentials also signal them being top of the class.

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Re: Diminishing Returns?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:04 am

tbp140 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:11 pm
I used to be on the recruiting committee for a v50 and that firm practiced yield protection (i.e., they would not extend an offer/callback if they thought the candidate was too good for the firm and unlikely to accept). Not sure if other firms do that but just throwing that out there.
I also used to help with recruiting at my previous v50 and we did that too, however it was out of necessity. We had a small summer class in our small office (less than 5), so if we extended an offer to a candidate that sat on it for the full 28-day period (or whatever the NALP requirement is), we knew we'd likely miss out on our second best candidates because they may receive and accept other offers in that time period.

So, we spent a lot of time thinking about which candidate would be most likely to accept quickly/on the spot (within the pool of acceptable candidates that met the cutoff, were normal at the interview, etc.).

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