How much do grades matter for laterals? Forum

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How much do grades matter for laterals?

Post by HelenaR » Sun May 29, 2022 10:10 pm

I am a rising 3L student who currently has a 3.624 GPA at a non-T14 school (my school is ranked between 30 and 40). I have a 2L summer associate position at a biglaw firm, and I hope I will get a return offer.

For 3L fall, I'm currently signed up for a lot of easy courses (with the exception of Crim Pro), in hopes to boost or at least keep my GPA the same. I was wondering whether it's more important to take easy courses that nearly guarantee all A's or if firms like to see more challenging courses. I do not feel confident with my test-taking skills. My 1L gpa wasn't terrible but lower than a 3.6. I managed to pull my 1L gpa to a 3.6+ by taking a lot of classes that had generous curves or nearly guaranteed an A, barring a major fuckup.

If I lateral years down the road, I was wondering how closely biglaw firms scrutinize courses to see how difficult your courses are? I definitely plan to take the bar classes, but if a class is challenging but not tested on the bar (hello Admin law), I currently plan to avoid those types of classes.

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Re: How much do grades matter for laterals?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun May 29, 2022 10:16 pm

Big firms probably won't care about your GPA years down the road (3L OCI is a bit different since there's not much else to go on). They definitely won't care about whether you sprang for especially challenging courses, assuming you're within the guardrails of what's needed to graduate. Tons of people, e.g., study abroad to do meme seminars on Dutch human-rights law for an entire semester of 3L; it's a non-issue.

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Re: How much do grades matter for laterals?

Post by nealric » Wed Jun 01, 2022 10:32 am

They matter less and less the further you are from graduation. You will probably be asked for grades if you lateral as a 2nd or 3rd year, but few (if any) firms care about grades for a partner lateral. They are also likely to matter a lot less in a hot lateral market than a slow one (beggars can't be choosers).

Grades are an attempted proxy for potential to learn a body of law. If you've been practicing that law for 5+ years, it's assumed you have probably learned it reasonably well or else you would have been cut loose a long time ago. Course selection should not be a significant concern.


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Re: How much do grades matter for laterals?

Post by nixy » Wed Jun 01, 2022 11:05 am

The only employers I can think of that care about you taking “hard” classes are federal judges (and not all of them, though definitely some). I currently practice in a field in which I took almost no classes in law school.

Also, I doubt there’s any real need to take bar classes unless you really want to take them anyway. It’s sort of a waste to pass on a class that you’re interested in to take a class only because it might help on a minimum competency test. If your school’s bar passage rate is good you can rely on your bar prep course. (If the bar classes are classes you’d take even without the bar, then no worries, of course.)

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