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Pythia

Low Undergrad Grades

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During the 2L hiring process (formal and otherwise), how important are undergrad grades? I ask because I had one semester in which I performed very poorly in three courses because I had some background (documented) medical issues I was dealing with + family issues. I anticipate that some doors will be closed, but I'm trying to calibrate my expectations right now by getting a sense of how many doors are closed. Also, these grades are an aberration in the context of my whole undergrad and my LS grades are okay (top 40-35% in 1L).

Edited by Pythia

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Very unimportant to most firms. Some NY firms care about undergrad grades, but no Canadian firms put much weight on them. They never even came up for me during the 1L recruit, and my grades weren’t stellar. 

The exception may be if you’re relying on a STEM degree to open IP doors. 

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I was asked for them by many firms and for clerkships, for what it's worth. I don't know how important they were or were not.

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When I was interviewing students, I always got a copy of their undergrad grades in the package, but never actually looked at the grades. I did sometimes scan the courses if anything interesting caught my eye.

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21 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

When I was interviewing students, I always got a copy of their undergrad grades in the package, but never actually looked at the grades. I did sometimes scan the courses if anything interesting caught my eye.

Did undergrad grades would come into play as a factor in determining who received interviews?

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I don't know. I interviewed the people whose packages were sent to me, I didn't pick who got interviews. I doubt it, though.

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2 hours ago, Jaggers said:

When I was interviewing students, I always got a copy of their undergrad grades in the package, but never actually looked at the grades. I did sometimes scan the courses if anything interesting caught my eye.

How about Witchcraft or Poker 101?? Completely joking, but I would love for those courses to be mentioned and questioned in an interview one day.

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Never saw those :)  But yeah, if I saw someone took a niche undergrad course in a topic I was interested in, I would ask them about it. Since their interests were usually listed as cooking, reading and travelling, we had to look elsewhere for questions.

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51 minutes ago, providence said:

I often got comments on my grades in interviews, both undergrad and law school.

I think you mentioned before that there may have been some racial or other issues involved there? (Which I agreed with at the time and still do, IIRC) 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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No one ever mentioned my undergrad grades. I doubt they matter to a great degree. If you managed to get into law school and get decent grades there, somehow I doubt they’d put much emphasis on anything else. 

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In all the interviews I had between the 2L summer and articling recruit (somewhere in the range of 30 interviews) I was only ever asked once about my undergrad grades. 

Just be ready with an answer if you are asked about them; however, I don't think it's likely you will be. 

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In my experience undergrad grades do sometimes come up during the discussion of in-firm interview candidates -- we might note something like a failed class, or an overall trend among the undergrad grades (very high overall, very low overall, an upward trend etc) but I've never seen it be a determinative thing, and in all those cases the candidates had already been selected for in-firms so even an F on a transcript doesn't seem to have been a problem in getting past the on-campus interview stage. Law school grades are much more important.

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On 9/19/2018 at 2:37 PM, Pythia said:

how important are undergrad grades? I ask because I had one semester in which I performed very poorly in three courses

Just did my OCIs yesterday. In my first year of undergrad I had multiple Ds, one F, and an average of around 58%. The rest of undergrad had I Bs and As.

Through 9 interviews, only 1 firm asked me about those bad grades, and how I managed to get such good grades after that year. 

I told them that I hadn't been prepared for the learning curve of university after being able to coast through high school. My grades went up because it was a wake up call that I'd never make it to law school unless I got it together. I ended my response by saying I was prepared for the learning curve in my first year of law school because I wasn't going to repeat the same mistake twice, and as a result my 1L GPA was great. 

I knew that was the answer they were looking for, and they told me that when they see a patch of bad grades in an applicant's undergrad transcript they usually just want to hear that the applicant learned a lesson from it.

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One thing to add in my situation is that my semester of very poor grades occurred late in my undergrad and I had grades in the same semester which were As.

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On 9/24/2018 at 9:25 AM, Pythia said:

One thing to add in my situation is that my semester of very poor grades occurred late in my undergrad and I had grades in the same semester which were As.

Law firms don't make their decisions on the basis of any undergrad grades. The fact that you're in law school renders your undergraduate grades irrelevant. I mentioned in my previous comment that I was only asked about my undergrad grades because they wanted to see how I responded, they could not have cared less about my actual undergrad grades.

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