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bobsaget

Upset with 1L Grades, could use some advice

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I have gone through many of the threads where 1Ls discuss their below average grades and they have been helpful. I have below average 1L grades (about a B- average) and would love to chat with a family lawyer or articling student.I have kinda (for various reasons) decided this is the area of law I would like to pursue but I think my grades are holding me back from getting any sort of meaningful employment in this area come articling time. If any one can reach out it would be greatly appreciated. 

Sorry for another "1L FREAK OUT' post. But I have taken the grades for what they are and now my head is looking forward to how I can improve myself in 2L.

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27 minutes ago, bobsaget said:

I have gone through many of the threads where 1Ls discuss their below average grades and they have been helpful. I have below average 1L grades (about a B- average) and would love to chat with a family lawyer or articling student.I have kinda (for various reasons) decided this is the area of law I would like to pursue but I think my grades are holding me back from getting any sort of meaningful employment in this area come articling time. If any one can reach out it would be greatly appreciated. 

Sorry for another "1L FREAK OUT' post. But I have taken the grades for what they are and now my head is looking forward to how I can improve myself in 2L.

Perhaps provide us a breakdown of how you got the B- average. Are we talking B- across the board or a high variance, with maybe an A and a C in there.

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1 minute ago, thegoodlaw said:

Perhaps provide us a breakdown of how you got the B- average. Are we talking B- across the board or a high variance, with maybe an A and a C in there.

Humiliating to even say it but B- across the board with a C+ and a B in there

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22 minutes ago, bobsaget said:

Humiliating to even say it but B- across the board with a C+ and a B in there

First of all, you'll be fine. One year of B- isn't the end of the world. But, don't forget to take the opportunity to speak to your professors about what went wrong during your exams. And, there's no problem with starting to network with people in your area of legal interest -- in fact, you definitely should do that -- but I don't see what relevance that has to your grades. Reach out to your professors to talk about your grades. Reach out to family lawyers to find out about their practice. Keep the two silo'd. (Well, you can ask your professor about their practice if they have one. But I wouldn't bother volunteering/griping about your grade issues when you're networking with practitioners.)

 

Edited by FineCanadianFXs

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16 minutes ago, FineCanadianFXs said:

First of all, you'll be fine. One year of B- isn't the end of the world. But, don't forget to take the opportunity to speak to your professors about what went wrong during your exams. And, there's no problem with starting to network with people in your area of legal interest -- in fact, you definitely should do that -- but I don't see what relevance that has to your grades. Reach out to your professors to talk about your grades. Reach out to family lawyers to find out about their practice. Keep the two silo'd. (Well, you can ask your professor about their practice if they have one. But I wouldn't bother volunteering/griping about your grade issues when you're networking with practitioners.)

 

Thanks. And yeah the reason I mentioned family law is because I know how important it is to signal interest in an area and I just wanted to get a head start on that.

Thanks for all the replies they have  been helpful.

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Don't be humiliated.  School is graded on a curve, and everyone who began with you did well in lower levels of education.  Talk to professors about how you could have improved your finals, and learn for next time.  It ultimately will not matter how well you did as a 1L, but will matter how you continue to develop as a lawyer.  Keep your head up, network, and work to improve your legal ability - including but not limited to your exam performance.

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Family law is not an area which requires high 1L grades to break into. 1L grades matter for firms doing OCIs in the fall of 2L. Although your 1L grades have likely closed that door, this is not a major loss for you as very few of those firms do family law. Just make sure to improve your grades in 2L and 3L while getting as much relevant experience as you can. Even if you don't manage to improve your grades, that is still not a deal breaker as my impression is that family law is an area where experience and having a demonstrated interest in the area would trump grades.    

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Don't worry too much about 1L grades.  Take the advice above and find out what you did wrong/could have improved and then assess for next year.

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Bah, look, it's a B-, it's obviously not great.  But..

First, articling is a long ways away - you've got lots of time to learn from your experience in first year and improve your grades.  Lots of people have trouble adjusting to law school thinking in first year. 

Second, I think for family law, your grades - while not irrelevant - will be less significant than your exposure to and interest in the area. No one is going to care that you got a C+ in, say, first year Torts, if you're an obvious Family Law keener who shows a passion for family law (personally, showing a passion for family law strikes me as a lot harder than getting As in law school).

Third, it is a curve, someone has to be a B- student, that's not a sign of failure, that's a testament to the fact that you're in a class filled with really smart people.  At this level, there's no shame in not being the smartest person in the room.   

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I know a bunch of people in my class who didn't do amazing in 1L, but either improved their grades in 2L, networked a lot with lawyers, or both. Since you just finished 1L, take the opportunity this summer to network with some lawyers, particularly those that practice in family law or whatever you want to do. If you know there's a specific firm you really want to work at, spend extra time meeting with those lawyers and keep in contact with them. 1L summer is probably the best time to do so, because 2L is where everyone is networking at wine & cheeses and receptions and people who start networking then stand out less from what I'm told.

In terms of grades, take the opportunity to review your exams if your faculty permits. Meet with your professors, find out what you did right, what you did wrong, and how you can improve the overall quality of your answers. Look at other outlines and see how they structure the courses - some courses work better with flowcharts, whereas some work better being separated into categories, then find what works best for you. It might bump your grade up a little in the coming year.

Remember, it's still a full year before articling applications are due, and 8 months before your next exams, so you have time to reflect and come up with a plan on how you'll make use of the summer and 2L.

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A B- average in first year will not disqualify you from articling in family law by any means. Start demonstrating an interest in family law by taking family courses, doing family clinics, joining your law school's family law association, joining the bar association family section and going to events, working/volunteering for family lawyers, etc. 

I agree with the advice to sit down with your professors and go over your exams. I would also pick the brains of any friends you had who did well to see if they have insights as to how to study, etc.

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Thank you all for the insightful replies, I strongly appreciate it. I will put what you guys have said into action and hope I can turn it around.

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22 hours ago, lioness said:

A B- average in first year will not disqualify you from articling in family law by any means. Start demonstrating an interest in family law by taking family courses, doing family clinics, joining your law school's family law association, joining the bar association family section and going to events, working/volunteering for family lawyers, etc. 

I agree with the advice to sit down with your professors and go over your exams. I would also pick the brains of any friends you had who did well to see if they have insights as to how to study, etc.

I strongly agree with this.

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From having conversations with upper year students I have been told that 1L marks are extremely important, but within this thread there seems to be the opposite opinion. Is it that 1L marks are extremely important for the OCI process but if one does not do as well as they hoped they nonetheless still have tons of opportunities for improvement in the following years for hiring outside of OCIs?

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3 minutes ago, FingersCr0ssed said:

From having conversations with upper year students I have been told that 1L marks are extremely important, but within this thread there seems to be the opposite opinion. Is it that 1L marks are extremely important for the OCI process but if one does not do as well as they hoped they nonetheless still have tons of opportunities for improvement in the following years for hiring outside of OCIs?

1L marks are important; I don't think that should be downplayed. But that does not mean that if you get a B-, your legal career is finished.

Yes, you are probably finished for OCIs (barring any other impressive skills/familial connections that get you through the door), but there are other opportunities that open up beyond that. They will probably not be at a big fancy Bay St. firm, but they are good jobs and (in my personal opinion) more rewarding and engaging.

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5 minutes ago, thegoodlaw said:

Yes, you are probably finished for OCIs (barring any other impressive skills/familial connections that get you through the door), but there are other opportunities that open up beyond that. They will probably not be at a big fancy Bay St. firm, but they are good jobs and (in my personal opinion) more rewarding and engaging.

The most direct route to Bay Street will be lost. There are, however, other routes. Getting there directly from law school is not the only way. 

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Not sure what law school you attend, but there is also the Walsh family law moot. If your school doesn't have a team, inquire as to how to start one. If your school has a team, inquire as to how you can be on it. It will be yet another way to demonstrate interest (and meet many practitioners in the area). 

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What is your school's curve? I.e. where are you roughly in your class?

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1 hour ago, Ambit said:

What is your school's curve? I.e. where are you roughly in your class?

B curve. B is considered average. That would mean I am below average, don't know about ranking however.

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