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stark9696

D+ average in 1L: Feel Broken

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I don't think anything short of As and A+s will truly "mitigate" a D+ average 1L, at least where employability is concerned. There are a ton of students looking for jobs, and often, firms are looking for a reason to slash an applicant (sometimes this can even hinge on a stylistic error in a cover letter). Improving from a D+ in 1L to a B in the next year is great, sure, but I would still manage my expectations heavily. This is especially true if you intend on relying on the "traditional" channels of recruitment. 

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42 minutes ago, tokengoldboy said:

I don't think anything short of As and A+s will truly "mitigate" a D+ average 1L, at least where employability is concerned. There are a ton of students looking for jobs, and often, firms are looking for a reason to slash an applicant (sometimes this can even hinge on a stylistic error in a cover letter). Improving from a D+ in 1L to a B in the next year is great, sure, but I would still manage my expectations heavily. This is especially true if you intend on relying on the "traditional" channels of recruitment. 

I don't agree

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33 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

I don't agree

Fair enough. I'm not trying to be hostile towards the OP or create unduly daunting scenarios in their head regarding their employment prospects. It has been a while since I revisited this thread, so I'm not even familiar with what kind of law/law firm OP wants to practice in/with. Nevertheless, my inclination is that a D+ AVERAGE (and not merely a D+ in one course, which on its own would be fatal for applications to some jobs) will represent a significant - and in some cases insurmountable - obstacle to overcome in terms of conventional recruitment. I'm not saying that OP cannot get a job. Rather, all things being equal, if they want to apply through the regular channels and processes, their chances of landing something to their liking approaches zero. 

Edited by tokengoldboy

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1 hour ago, tokengoldboy said:

I don't think anything short of As and A+s will truly "mitigate" a D+ average 1L, at least where employability is concerned. There are a ton of students looking for jobs, and often, firms are looking for a reason to slash an applicant (sometimes this can even hinge on a stylistic error in a cover letter). Improving from a D+ in 1L to a B in the next year is great, sure, but I would still manage my expectations heavily. This is especially true if you intend on relying on the "traditional" channels of recruitment. 

For Bay Street sure, this is probably true. But they don’t hire B students anyway, so it’s not the 1L grades that are a problem, it’s that the OP isn’t the top of the class sort who gets those jobs. 

But there is a lot more out there than Bay Street, a full half of every law school class is below average. Sure maybe the OP isn’t going to become a Partnor at Davies, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find paid articles in an area they like and go on to have a career as a lawyer. 

I know I was on the side of law school might not work out for the OP before, but if they can turn it around and start getting Bs I think that shows something. 

Edited by DenningsSkiTrip
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6 minutes ago, DenningsSkiTrip said:

For Bay Street sure, this is probably true. But they don’t hire B students anyway, so it’s not the 1L grades that are a problem, it’s that the OP isn’t the top of the class sort who gets those jobs. 

But there is a lot more out there than Bay Street, a full half of every law school class is below average. Sure maybe the OP isn’t going to become a Partnor at Davies, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find paid articles in an area they like and go on to have a career as a lawyer. 

I can agree with that. However, to the extent that grades matter to their employment, a D+ average will almost certainly be fatal (even with an upward trend in subsequent years). I never disputed that they could indeed land a paid gig and have a career as a lawyer, but their chances of achieving this through the structured process is essentially zero and remains highly unlikely for any job opportunity that necessitates consideration of one's transcript. There are tons of jobs that one can get through deliberate networking and the like, though, so hope is not lost.

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On 7/6/2017 at 7:09 PM, providence said:

My assistant is worth WAY more to me than an articling student, and I'd be unlikely to hire a new law grad for that job.

+1

I'd take my clerk over a recently graduated law student any day of the week.  Law students are fucking useless.

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Just now, UpAboveIt715 said:

+1

I'd take my clerk over a recently graduated law student any day of the week.  Law students are fucking useless.

And have a very inflated sense of their usefulness for the most part - though the rare good one is a keeper.

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On 11/21/2017 at 4:26 PM, tokengoldboy said:

I can agree with that. However, to the extent that grades matter to their employment, a D+ average will almost certainly be fatal (even with an upward trend in subsequent years). I never disputed that they could indeed land a paid gig and have a career as a lawyer, but their chances of achieving this through the structured process is essentially zero and remains highly unlikely for any job opportunity that necessitates consideration of one's transcript. There are tons of jobs that one can get through deliberate networking and the like, though, so hope is not lost.

would others please weigh in on this? Do subsequent years of good work not merit a chance? Am I wasting my time? Areas of law I am particularly interested in include tax, immigration, and family. I would like to add that my first years marks were in part due to mental health issues that I spent the summer addressing. I do think that a summer gig is out of the question, but I was looking at reaching out to lawyers to find ways gain experience at a smaller firm, through unpaid work likely. 

Edited by stark9696
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49 minutes ago, stark9696 said:

would others please weigh in on this? Do subsequent years of good work not merit a chance? Am I wasting my time? Areas of law I am particularly interested in include tax, immigration, and family. I would like to add that my first years marks were in part due to mental health issues that I spent the summer addressing. I do think that a summer gig is out of the question, but I was looking at reaching out to lawyers to find ways gain experience at a smaller firm, through unpaid work likely. 

As far as whether you can get hired/articles or not, I think the obvious but broad answer is that of course it is a possibility but of course it will be harder for you. You have to overcome a significant hurdle on your transcripts. Knowing little else about you, how well you can hustle or how well you interview, and what other skills/experience you bring to the table, I can't speak for your chances. But you aren't categorically defeated until you flunk out or quit. In other words: yes, subsequent years of good work merit a chance. A good chance? No idea. You tell us.

The more important question is the bolded above, and to answer this you must be honest with yourself. If you don't necessarily love the academic side of law, and it is causing you significant stress and anxiety just getting through school, that could be a red flag. I'm not sure it will get easier for you in practice. But if you're, as my favourite reality show contestants say, "here for the right reasons"--meaning you genuinely love this stuff, and sincerely go to bed dreaming of practicing law (not literally dreaming, who does that)--well, how could it be a waste of time? Be honest with yourself. You can doubt your ability based on your rough year, which is fair. We all doubt our abilities; I do all the time, but it isn't hard to overcome that doubt when you're always motivated to improve. But you're going to find it difficult to overcome that doubt if you also doubt your commitment to improvement, which usually comes from a place of enthusiasm toward the thing you want to improve.

So, my advice is to answer that question first. If you're wasting your time, who cares about your chances? And, don't worry about your chances if you're genuinely up to facing the odds! Be realistic about those odds, too, but I think 7 pages deep into this thread, you kind of have a general idea of where you fall so it seems silly to keep speculating about whether its 20-1 or 19-1 or 18-1. You're not a shoe-in, I think that's been covered. Start worrying about whether or not that's affected your love of and commitment toward being a lawyer. Then when you've solidified that you're up for the task, start figuring out how you plan to execute finding employment.

Edited by FineCanadianFXs
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53 minutes ago, stark9696 said:

would others please weigh in on this? Do subsequent years of good work not merit a chance? Am I wasting my time? Areas of law I am particularly interested in include tax, immigration, and family. I would like to add that my first years marks were in part due to mental health issues that I spent the summer addressing. I do think that a summer gig is out of the question, but I was looking at reaching out to lawyers to find ways gain experience at a smaller firm, through unpaid work likely. 

Look, you can read my general comment way, way, at the beginning of this thread.  If you can get your shit together in 2nd and 3rd year, there's no reason why you can't have a successful legal career.   Now, I won't lie, grades are going to be more important if you want to practice tax law.  That's a practice area that is, I think it's fair to say, widely seen as being more "academic" than other practices and one that imposes fairly rigorous intellectual standards (yes, I'm partial, being a tax lawyer myself, but I don't think anyone would seriously contradict that statement).  On the other hand, if you do well in tax courses (and related courses) in 2nd and 3rd year, hard to see why a potential employer would care more about how you did in first year crim pro than in corporate tax.  

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2 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

Look, you can read my general comment way, way, at the beginning of this thread.  If you can get your shit together in 2nd and 3rd year, there's no reason why you can't have a successful legal career.   Now, I won't lie, grades are going to be more important if you want to practice tax law.  That's a practice area that is, I think it's fair to say, widely seen as being more "academic" than other practices and one that imposes fairly rigorous intellectual standards (yes, I'm partial, being a tax lawyer myself, but I don't think anyone would seriously contradict that statement).  On the other hand, if you do well in tax courses (and related courses) in 2nd and 3rd year, hard to see why a potential employer would care more about how you did in first year crim pro than in corporate tax.  

thank you for this. sometimes i feel like I am completing a race I have already lost. 

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1 minute ago, stark9696 said:

thank you for this. sometimes i feel like I am completing a race I have already lost. 

Look, having watched the NY Knicks go on a 28-0 run yesterday to come from behind and crush the Raptors last night, the notion that you're never out of it is fresh in my mind.  

And the truth is that grades translate poorly into success as a lawyer.  Sure, they may make your life easier getting started - give you opportunities to easier paths to success - but at the end of the day, law, like any other industry, is very much a "what have you done for me lately" kinda game.  The world is filled with millionaire lawyers who graduated at the bottom of their class (or, in the US, from some cracker-jack law school) but who had the business savvy and hustle to parley their limited academic gifts into wildly successful practices.  I can think of one prominent tax law professor who boasts openly about his "gentlemen's D" in tax in law school - his grades didn't reflect his knowledge and ability, it's the latter that employers want.  

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I'm not coming at this from a legal perspective, particularly, but i think it's really important to remember that people want to work with people they get along with and people they perceive as competant, and that this is perhaps even more true in smaller settings, and that presents an opportunity in itself. If you go out in the world and talk to enough lawyers and make a good impression, some where along the line someone might feel inclined to help you out, or have an opportunity come up that they think you might be great for, and more or less make that decision without having ever looked at your transcript.  And if they look at your transcript subsequently, well, they've already got whatever impression they've got, and that's hard to over turn. 

Edited by groovymoose
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Wow this thread made a come back. Exam time or something?

If you're working grades don't matter after graduation or articling. For alternative careers no one looks at law school grades period. You just need to graduate.

If you go to U of A, D+ average in any year and you would be required to withdraw. Happens every year to several people. If you're lucky maybe they will let you repeat a year (for 1L) or semester (in upper years) at U of A.

 

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Just want to bump this thread. 

I got my fall term marks back and I have a B average. I also have a couple C+s. The C+ is my lowest grade.

I have no idea what to think. I went from undergrad where I got straight As to this. I really do not know what's good and what's not good in law school. 

Am I screwed? What doors are closed for me? 

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3 minutes ago, PerniciousLaw said:

Just want to bump this thread. 

I got my fall term marks back and I have a B average. I also have a couple C+s. The C+ is my lowest grade.

I have no idea what to think. I went from undergrad where I got straight As to this. I really do not know what's good and what's not good in law school. 

Am I screwed? What doors are closed for me? 

Are these mid-term grades that count or are they fail safes?

Don't look at what you got in undergrad - that's meaningless. Everyone around you got straight As (or close to them) in undergrad. Yet most will now be B students. If you're unsure on what constitutes a good exam and what doesn't, I'd highly recommend going to see your prof to go over your exam. They may give you some very good feedback on what your exam lacked and what they were looking for. If they're really awesome, they may even share the A exam with you to show you what a "good" exam looks like.

The two C+s can be problematic if they're final grades. What courses are they in? That may shed more light on your situation. A C+ in Torts is more consequential than a C+ in legal writing (or its equivalent).

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9 minutes ago, thegoodlaw said:

Are these mid-term grades that count or are they fail safes?

Don't look at what you got in undergrad - that's meaningless. Everyone around you got straight As (or close to them) in undergrad. Yet most will now be B students. If you're unsure on what constitutes a good exam and what doesn't, I'd highly recommend going to see your prof to go over your exam. They may give you some very good feedback on what your exam lacked and what they were looking for. If they're really awesome, they may even share the A exam with you to show you what a "good" exam looks like.

The two C+s can be problematic if they're final grades. What courses are they in? That may shed more light on your situation. A C+ in Torts is more consequential than a C+ in legal writing (or its equivalent).

They are all midterm grades.

One course I got the C+ in is fail safe. If I get a higher mark on the final in April it is worth 100%.

What I meant about not being sure of what’s good and what’s not good is within the context of landing a job. I am not sure what grades employers generally look for. I am not sure what if any doors my current grades will close if I do not raise them next term. 

Yes, the other C+ was in torts. The only other evaluation for that course is a final in April. 

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18 minutes ago, PerniciousLaw said:

They are all midterm grades.

One course I got the C+ in is fail safe. If I get a higher mark on the final in April it is worth 100%.

What I meant about not being sure of what’s good and what’s not good is within the context of landing a job. I am not sure what grades employers generally look for. I am not sure what if any doors my current grades will close if I do not raise them next term. 

Yes, the other C+ was in torts. The only other evaluation for that course is a final in April. 

Well, the vast majority of Canadian trained law students land articling positions so, if you have average grades, landing a job shouldn`t be a problem.  Now, a B average is probably going to exclude you from some of the more sought after positions - I wouldn`t bank on Bay Street or a SCC clerkship (not that those are the be all and end all of the legal profession) - but they`re a small fraction of the legal market.

What`s the weight given to mid-term grades. If it counts less than the final, your mid-term grades are only going to affect your final grade at the margin.  Follow goodlaw`s advice, talk to your profs and find how to improve for the finals.  There is an art to writing law school exams, one which can be learned.   No reason you can`t improve those grades on the final.   Given that those aren`t final grades, for now, I`d say that they don`t close any doors.  

Edited by maximumbob
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1 hour ago, maximumbob said:

Well, the vast majority of Canadian trained law students land articling positions so, if you have average grades, landing a job shouldn`t be a problem.  Now, a B average is probably going to exclude you from some of the more sought after positions - I wouldn`t bank on Bay Street or a SCC clerkship (not that those are the be all and end all of the legal profession) - but they`re a small fraction of the legal market.

What`s the weight given to mid-term grades. If it counts less than the final, your mid-term grades are only going to affect your final grade at the margin.  Follow goodlaw`s advice, talk to your profs and find how to improve for the finals.  There is an art to writing law school exams, one which can be learned.   No reason you can`t improve those grades on the final.   Given that those aren`t final grades, for now, I`d say that they don`t close any doors.  

You mentioned average grades. Is a B average with a couple C+s considered average?

I’m not interested in Bay Street. I’m interested in criminal law. 

Let’s just say I maintain these exact grades. Will they close the door to criminal law work?

One midterm I got the C+ on was worth 60%. However, if I do better on the final in April, it will be worth 60% and the midterm from fall will be worth 40%. And like I mentioned above the other midterm I got the C+ on is for a fail safe course.

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1 minute ago, PerniciousLaw said:

You mentioned average grades. Is a B average with a couple C+s considered average?

I’m not interested in Bay Street. I’m interested in criminal law. 

Let’s just say I maintain these exact grades. Will they close the door to criminal law work?

One midterm I got the C+ on was worth 60%. However, if I do better on the final in April, it will be worth 60% and the midterm from fall will be worth 40%. And like I mentioned above the other midterm I got the C+ on is for a fail safe course.

Now, come on, you're a university graduate.  If you have a B average, and most law schools grade to a B curve, what does that tell us about your average?  Exactly.  

Now, I don't practice criminal law, but do you really need to be told that the criminal bar is not drawn exclusively from above average students?  (Not to suggest that it's drawn exclusively from below average students either) As the actual criminal practitioners here will tell you, in that space grades are less important that bona fide interest in and enthusiasm for criminal law.

I'm being a bit mean, I know, and this is the time of year when the 1Ls lose their shit because they've never got less than a A before, but you need to chillax, most lawyers (well, maybe just under 50%, probably) were B students in law school, B students do fine.  

 

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