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3L who has not been offered a single interview throughout law school

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28 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

The elephant in the room, which no one is addressing, is OP's sub 3.0 law school GPA. I assume that amounts to a C+ average. I hate to be blunt but you can't be surprised that you're not getting interviews when you're not even hitting the average level of performance. 

1) you’re probably assuming wrong. I think that would be an F at Osgoode and a B at Queens, so it’s school dependant. They use different scales.

2) even if it is below average, so what? The  vast majority of below average law students get interviews and jobs. I know a bunch of people who got poor law school grades and they are all working and doing fine.

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10 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

The elephant in the room, which no one is addressing, is OP's sub 3.0 law school GPA. I assume that amounts to a C+ average. I hate to be blunt but you can't be surprised that you're not getting interviews when you're not even hitting the average level of performance. 

C+ is 2.3. B- is 2.7. 

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15 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

The elephant in the room, which no one is addressing, is OP's sub 3.0 law school GPA. I assume that amounts to a C+ average. I hate to be blunt but you can't be surprised that you're not getting interviews when you're not even hitting the average level of performance. 

The OP said they applied to virtually every position they came across. 
 

Obviously half of law students will be bellow median and, last I checked, the majority of them, at a Canadian school, will get a job. 
 

I also personally know people with atrocious grades, meaning bottom of the class, albeit from a good school, and their careers appear to be fine. 

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38 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

The OP said they applied to virtually every position they came across. 
 

 

The people I know with below average grades who have jobs either cold-emailed or got their jobs through family/friend connections. Applying to publicly advertized jobs with below average grades is not a viable strategy imo because one would struggle to look good on paper compared to the other applicants.  

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1 minute ago, harveyspecter993 said:

The people I know with below average grades who have jobs either cold-emailed or got their jobs through family/friend connections. Applying to publicly advertized jobs with below average grades is not a viable strategy imo because one would struggle to look good on paper compared to the other applicants.  

I got a publicly posted articling position with below average grades. And I had other offers, also from publicly posted positions. 

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9 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

I got a publicly posted articling position with below average grades. And I had other offers, also from publicly posted positions. 

Well you've obviously had more luck than OP then. 

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I agree with Deadpool -- a scattershot approach isn't effective at this point. Limiting your applications probably feels counterintuitive now. But it's what you should do. Specialize. 

In crafting cold emails and cover letters, be smart. Look at your experience. Look at your prospective employers. What do you have to offer them? Have you interviewed clients? All lawyers do that. Having an articling student who can get basic information out of clients without infringing on the human rights code is good. Have you done research? Articling students must research. Highlight what you've done there. Did you do any drafting? Did you provide legal information? 

As others have said, demonstrable interest is important now. You'll be hard-pressed to convince employers that they should hire you for your talent alone (not that you aren't talented, but without good grades or remarkable extracurricular achievements, you can't really show that off in an application). Commitment and passion has value. Your interest suggests that you'll engage seriously with your work -- that you care, and will be motivated as a result. 

Do some soul searching here. You need a concise, clearly articulated reason here. Disingenuous or generic reasons (e.g., I just love social justice and can't get enough of it, hire me now!) will probably ring false to someone actually practicing in that area all day, everyday. Don't be that person. Think about what you might enjoy doing based upon what you've done. Do you want to go to Court / were there oral advocacy experiences you enjoyed? Do you want to serve specific types of clients?  Do you like advising, dealing with complexity [insert examples of positives about solicitor work -- I can't think of them because I'm not interested in this stuff]. What cases/legal issues are you interested in?  

Show that you (a) have some experience, which will allow you to do some basic things without extensive training and (b) like what they do and want to do it. 

Good luck. 

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On 2/15/2020 at 1:44 PM, harveyspecter993 said:

The people I know with below average grades who have jobs either cold-emailed or got their jobs through family/friend connections. Applying to publicly advertized jobs with below average grades is not a viable strategy imo because one would struggle to look good on paper compared to the other applicants.  

This is terrible advice. To lump all "publicly advertised" jobs into one pile and imagine the biggest distinction is between whether a job is publicly posted or not is just absurd. This would treat a job with a sole practitioner that happens to have been submitted to a CDO as the same as a posted position in-house at a major company. The vast differences between those two jobs are far, far, FAR more significant than whether or not they happen to both be posted the same way, or even found at the same place beside each other.

The important advice is to figure out what you actually want to do, focus on those jobs, and don't apply to just everything hoping to get some kind of interview anywhere. There is at least a vague association between this (good) advice, and the (very bad) advice above. If you are just desperate to apply to as many jobs as possible, you will probably be looking at all postings you can find and applying to everything. That's a very bad approach, and the excessive focus at this point on posted positions may lead you to overlook other avenues. What you should do instead is identify what you want to do and apply to all appropriate jobs you can find, as well as creating leads on your own if you can. Again, by concentrating on what you want to do, rather than everything at once.

Again, the distinction isn't between posted and not. Even if you happen to know someone hiring for a position that's totally outside of your interests and background, and no one else knows about it, you're still a bad candidate for that job. Wasting your energy and time trying to pretend you're something you aren't isn't a good approach. Focus on what matters.

 

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I mean, I got my summer and articling gig through posted ads. Actually, articling was through the Outside Toronto organized recruit. My marks were nothing to write home about and I was admittedly somewhere in the top 100% in my class!

I've written about my experience a few times here. As diplock wrote, focus on what matters. Target your applications accordingly. Worked for me.

Now that I work for a small firm, the random CVs we get are enlightening. People writing that they would "settle" for our small town, people saying they are interested in X area that we don't practice, or are looking for Y experience in something that we don't/can't offer, or overselling themselves to us about their abilities (or what would be allowed for an articling student). Others write about gaining experience and then moving on, etc. 

Know your audience. Have a tight package. Temper expectations to fit the market you are applying to. And be humble. 

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On 2/15/2020 at 10:44 AM, harveyspecter993 said:

The people I know with below average grades who have jobs either cold-emailed or got their jobs through family/friend connections. Applying to publicly advertized jobs with below average grades is not a viable strategy imo because one would struggle to look good on paper compared to the other applicants.  

Quoting this again to emphasize how absolutely piss-poor and ignorant this advice is. 
 

It bares no connection to the reality of hiring, and it is difficult to imagine anyone who has practiced law for any length of time giving it. I have to speculate that this poster is probably recently through the formalized 2L Big Law  recruit and is in such a deluded law school bubble that they think any job posted publicly applies a grade cut-off similar to large employers recruiting summer students. 
 

That’s not even remotely true; in one example, a friend of mine, who had the worst law school grades imaginable, secured a position in third year through a school job-board posting. It was, I imagine, on the basis of his personality and presentation, and it was at a small firm with <10 lawyers (he has since moved to mid-sized firm and appears to be progressing well in his career). 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by QuincyWagstaff
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52 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

That’s not even remotely true; in one example, a friend of mine, who had the worst law school grades imaginable, secured a position in third year through a school job-board posting. It was, I imagine, on the basis of his personality and presentation, and it was at a small firm with <10 lawyers (he has since moved to mid-sized firm and appears to be progressing well in his career). 

I am speaking of the 3Ls I know of who told me about how they got their jobs with the grades they had and drawing inferences based on what I've been told.

Edited by harveyspecter993

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I accept that my perspective may be limited to the people I've interacted with and I do see substance to a lot of what's been raised above. What I'm trying to say is that if you're in a situation, like OP is, where you have below average grades, your job search can't be focused exclusively on posted jobs. OP's original post only mentioned applying to jobs they had seen and not other methods that people in their position have used to get jobs.

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17 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

I am speaking of the 3Ls I know of who told me about how they got their jobs with the grades they had and drawing inferences based on what I've been told.

 

Removed. Not worth it. Someone else will get it.

Edited by Diplock

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4 minutes ago, Diplock said:

You know, you've been hanging around this site for so long that I often forget how new you are as a law student. Still in...what, 2L I think?

Let's make this deal, at least. Confine yourself to giving bad advice to students who are newer than you, and offering absurd opinions about things you have actually experienced personally. Then we'll correct as needed. Offering ignorant-ass opinions about things that you haven't even gone through yet is hubris of the highest order. I'm reminded of the number of times you've expressed the fear that your opinions are greeted badly because you are conservative or somehow outside the mainstream in other ways. I really don't think you allow enough for the fact that no matter what your views are, people probably respond badly to you because you're a ridiculously presumptuous ass.

Seriously, man, I don't think you will ever have enough self-reflection to understand what I'm talking about. But you've asked questions about how to succeed in law school in the past. If some student here who isn't even IN law school yet presumed to give you an answer, no matter what that answer is, wouldn't you treat it like a big fucking joke? And how much worse does that get, when the answer itself is absurd?

Just...stop. Please.

There's nothing controversial about suggesting that someone below the curve can't just rely on what their CDO posts and has to hustle a bit with cold emails and leveraging their network.

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14 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

There's nothing controversial about suggesting that someone below the curve can't just rely on what their CDO posts and has to hustle a bit with cold emails and leveraging their network.

I thought twice about what I wrote after I wrote it, but since you've quoted it I guess I'm stuck now.

Basically, you said something which, taken at face value, was incredibly stupid. I, and others, pointed out how it is stupid, and made a somewhat-related but very different point in its place. I gave you as much credit as I possibly could for saying something that was vaguely in the same universe as the truth. But that credit is still very limited. And now your reply is "there's nothing controversial in saying the thing I never said in the first place, but which far more knowledgeable people than I have since said, to try to turn my mistake into something that's at least true?"

Let me guess. You're that guy who writes something completely wrong in an essay, notes what the TA wrote in reply to correct you, and then goes to argue with them over your grade, saying that their notes are what you meant in the first place. Am I right?

It's this simple. Rather than spouting off in ignorance about things you don't know, how about you just let people who do know provide the answers? Now that you're in 2L or something, there are newer students and applicants you can pop off at - and joking aside, while I may not like your perspective on things, you are far less likely to be factually wrong. The fact remains, in your original post, you genuinely meant (and believed) that applying to any posted job with below average grades is a waste of time. You've been corrected now, which is fine. But seriously man, this isn't complicated advice. Stop presuming to tell people who are further along the path through law school than you are yourself how they should go about things. The obviousness of that advice doesn't really need further defence.

Edited by Diplock

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2 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

There's nothing controversial about suggesting that someone below the curve can't just rely on what their CDO posts and has to hustle a bit with cold emails and leveraging their network.

As per Diplock's post above, your original post wasn't that people should apply to both posted positions and also cold call lawyers. It was "applying to publicly advertized jobs with below average grades is not a viable strategy imo because one would struggle to look good on paper compared to the other applicants." Giving bad advice and then moving the goalposts saps your credibility with people reading what you write. It's a bad look.

Look, I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I'm not really responding to harveyspecter993. I'm talking to 3Ls and graduates without articling positions. Don't stop applying to posted positions. Those are more competitive, sure. But those are also the people that are hiring, which means that there is the possibility they will hire you. 

Most lawyers you are cold emailing and calling are not hiring right now. I didn't keep stats. But I contacted a bunch of lawyers when I was looking for an articling position, and the positive response rate is really low. Like much lower than for posted positions. That's not to say you shouldn't be reaching out. You should, because it's not that time-consuming and something might come of it (directly or indirectly -- I had lawyers pass on my information to others who were hiring). And if it works out, great. But you should keep applying to the people who you know are hiring, too.

Edited by realpseudonym
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A good way to find the right answer to a question is to have someone post a wrong answer and wait for the correction. 🤣

I graduated without articles.  Although I had a handful of interviews so I won't presume to know what it's like for you.  Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, it was my demonstrated interests that helped me the most in getting interviews.

(1) Demonstrated interest and (2) appear affable+competent.  Oh and luck.  Have you tried using your luck?  Don't spend all your luck in one place.  You'll still need some to find the right people in your personal life and get you out of sticky situations.  Luck is a huge factor in life.  Yes, very important.  Being at the time and place when opportunity spawns on the map.  I would highly recommend being lucky.

If it sounds absurd to be in control of your luck, it's because it is.  Sometimes, putting in 100% good faith effort gets you 75% of the way.  You have zero control over the other 25%.  That's just the way things are.

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I agree with Hutz. Demonstrated interest and a good personality fit can offset (to a degree) less-than-ideal qualifications on paper. 

Luck is also a huge factor. However, luck is strongly tied to giving yourself the most chances to be lucky. In my opinion, this means two things: a) you're taking every opportunity to get your name out there by networking, applying for positions, etc.; and b) you're engaging in enough reflection and introspection to recognize great but perhaps unorthodox opportunities when they arise. That is to say,  great opportunities don't often fall into your lap; they fall nearby and it's your job to get to them. 

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1 hour ago, spicyfoodftw said:

I agree with Hutz. Demonstrated interest and a good personality fit can offset (to a degree) less-than-ideal qualifications on paper. 

Luck is also a huge factor. However, luck is strongly tied to giving yourself the most chances to be lucky. In my opinion, this means two things: a) you're taking every opportunity to get your name out there by networking, applying for positions, etc.; and b) you're engaging in enough reflection and introspection to recognize great but perhaps unorthodox opportunities when they arise. That is to say,  great opportunities don't often fall into your lap; they fall nearby and it's your job to get to them. 

Just to clarify since I anticipated this point about luck and creating your own luck, etc.

I assume dear reader is making their best/good faith effort.  That increases the chances of a good outcome.  And if you don't know what you should do, find out, and then do as much as you reasonably can.  It will likely work. 

You should focus on what you can control, not what is out of your hands. But after all that is said and done, after you've perfected your effort, the tragedy/comedy of life is such that the outcome can be decided by one of the million things out of your control.  For example, here are some unusual the perfectly ordinary circumstances under which I obtained articles:

  • Previous articling student was fired mid-cycle (I think he was "transferred" to a different firm, everyone was tight lipped about it, but he definitely had to go was my impression.)
  • Lawyer doing the hiring was very impulsive.  As soon as he thought I was good enough, he did not want to do any more interviews, and the other lawyers laughed and told me he was joking.  Shortly after I get a call saying yeah he was serious.  It was in the morning so I'm sure there were candidates scheduled after me that weren't even interviewed.

Of course, I had unique traits/achievements obtained through effort that played a role.  But I could have done everything right and ended up being scheduled later in the day, only to be told 'sorry position filled' before interviewing. 

It continues into practice, too.  Once I was sent to chambers get an order on some questionable facts.  The master of the day was a hard-nosed old timer that infamously enjoyed needling lawyers and articling students alike.  When I went up, I was expecting the worst, wishing I had better facts.  Instead, as old-timers can do, he glossed over everything and just gave it to me.  If I had a nicer master that attended to the details, I might not have gotten the order.  It's not fair and that's my point.

Certainly you should do your best but don't expect that with 100% effort, you'll get 100% of your hopes and dreams.  It's a recipe for a mental health crises when you get a big fat 0%.  I've ranted enough.  World isn't fair.  Prepare yourself accordingly.

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