Jump to content
LegalQueen96

Did my good grades screw me out of getting a job in a firm?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I interview for my firm and can only speak wrt my (limited) experience. But there isn't really a "Dead zone" that I know of wherein a candidate's grades are too good for private practice and falls short of academia. It's more a vibe that we get while interviewing and we determine whether someone would fit in better at a more academic firm (plenty of these exist) than ours. However, if someone expresses a lot of genuine interest in working with us, we will definitely give them a call if they have your grades. Even if the candidate would be a perfect fit at an academic (...nerdy) firm, we would still gladly have them on board if they want to work with us. Diversity is a good thing! 

I can say this much, we don't really sit around questioning whether an applicant really wants to be a lawyer. If they wrote the LSAT, went to law school, applied for OCIs, interviewed with us, etc. we just assume that. I don't know what the fuck is up with this forum, but it's not representative of the real world. Not everything you say will have people looking at you like "I wonder if OP actually wants to be a lawyer and joint this noble lifelong calling." It's a job and we will make a determination as to whether you can do the job well or not. 

Edited by setto
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, LegalQueen96 said:

...My interviews have been starting with "Well, I see from your transcript that you did very well, good job, however if you're interested in the academic side of law we cannot provide that here so you may want to look somewhere else' without asking me about my interests first, and with a CV which focuses solely on the practice of law (in their areas) not the academic side....

[portion only quoted, emphasis added]

Caveat: I only practice PT and have no direct knowledge of law firm hiring for many years, so pay more attention to those with more recent knowledge.

You say you're getting interviews, which start off with questions you apparently don't handle well. Maybe it's your interview skills that need work Do you demonstrate that you intend to work hard and competently and want to work there?

Also, you're upset that they don't ask you about your interests first?! WTF? I mean, I think it's a good idea to have one line with some outside interests or hobbies, but if an interviewer doesn't ask you about them but starts with a confrontational question, learn to deal with it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are truly getting unprompted questions about whether you want to be on the more academic side, I think there must be something in your application package that people are picking up on. Those grades don't exactly scream that you want to be a law prof. I would go through your resume and cover letter with a fine toothed comb.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is all your job experience in research? Or are the majority of your ECs in research?
I think that would have a bigger impact than your grades. Worrying about your grades being too good is the oddest thing I've read in a long time. I can't think of many people in the top 5-10% of the class who didn't receive a bunch of OCIs and get a position, unless they chose to not pursue that route. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all, this was honestly a very big concern to me so knowing that is not the reason I am not getting any offers makes me feel a lot better. I am very aware that many other factors will keep me from getting jobs (from the 1L recruit, to 2L, to articling to moving firms while practicing) I just wanted to clarify that good grades would not be a detriment. My CV might not be up to par, my interviewing skills can always improve, the firm might find another candidate a better fit, and all of these are to varying degrees of control I do or do not have over the situation. I simply wanted to ensure that my desire to practice would not be inhibited by my transcript because of some underlying issue recruiters have with higher grades (again, not because I see mine as the star spangled law grades, but because I was having this said to me, unprompted, in interviews and the comment was not connected to anything in my CV, transcript, or our communications thus far in the interview). There may be an issue with my CV and I will have that looked over before applying anywhere else, but I am honestly very very happy to know that this is not going to be a detriment to secure a job in a firm, and recognize this is a very weird concern to have.

For the 1L job element of it, I went into law school knowing that these positions were nearly impossible to get as there were so few, and I did not think that I would be successful (though I hoped I would) nor that my grades would be any detriment to whether I did or did not land a position. It was only after I was being asked the same question within interviews of 'we are not academic, if you want that this is not for you/do you actually want to practice, this is not academic' (exaggeration to combine the feedback and show tone over an online forum) without any (perceived) prompting from myself or my CV. Honestly the question threw me for a loop as it was so unexpected and was not referenced just once. As for answering about my specific intentions I do want to practice law, the specific area I do not have narrowed down yet (as most do not after 1L) but I know I want it to include a fair amount of litigation or ADR concerning contracts, family, insurance, or commercial law (as of right now, who knows after 2L once I can take more specialized courses). So I hope that I was not presenting anything in a hope that I would be believed, I hope I was showing my true desire to practice law, but I do understand that my writing could use some work.

As for my average it is an A-, the S does not factor in, and I personally wrote all of my final exams. Though it is correct that if you had completed sufficient work in the class you could keep your midterm grade - so only available for select courses depending on how the professor had organized the assignments. 

To clarify the question about interests that was in reference to the unprompted assumption that I did not want to practice, not that I thought we would discuss my hopes and dreams. It was to reference that I had not made any indication (that I know of) that I did not want to practice, and without being asked this, it was assumed that I did not. 

Thank you all! I feel much less stressed heading into OCIs and will absolutely have numerous people (in my CDO and my colleagues) look over my applications to ensure I am not presenting a persona that I am not intending to, and work on my interviewing skills. 

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, easttowest said:

Lol, what? 

It looks like OP went to Ottawa. They have a 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 5. Using a weighted average calculator to account for differing course credits (that C+ was in a one credit course), it looks like their gpa is around 8.1. So an A- average, or if you prefer, above Ottawa’s internal cutoff to apply to the ONCA or SCC. 

They’re well above average. 

I don't think OP has 8.1.

10+9+8+8+7+6+5=53 divided by  7 courses (assume equal value) = 7.5  

I went to Ottawa for 1L. and had 8.0+

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

I don't think OP has 8.1.

10+9+8+8+7+6+5=53 divided by  7 courses (assume equal value) = 7.5  

I went to Ottawa for 1L. and had 8.0+

At uOttawa, each course currently has a different credit value.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, ArchivesandMuseums said:

At uOttawa, each course currently has a different credit value.

I am aware of that. that was why I said "assume equal value" for quick estimate

I didn't apply to any Ottawa firm. But I was told some firms has cut-off of 7.3. Not sure if that was true. 

In any case, I think OP 's grades are above average and Op's grades alone should not be a barrier from getting a job offer.

Edited by Luckycharm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Luckycharm said:

I don't think OP has 8.1.

10+9+8+8+7+6+5=53 divided by  7 courses (assume equal value) = 7.5  

I went to Ottawa for 1L. and had 8.0+

If you weight the four black letter law courses as 5, ADR and the thematic as 3, and LRW as 1 (in other words, give them their actual weight), you will get 8.1. I didn’t make that number up.

I, too went to Ottawa for 1L and also graduated from the school.

Edited by easttowest
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

They’re realistically closer to a B+ average, since OP clearly got either a D, D+, or C in PubCon. And more realistically, they probably got a D or D+, since it would be silly to hide a C when it’s the highest possible grade they could have gotten.

Plus, didn’t Ottawa do some weird thing where you could keep your midterm grade OR see your final grade and keep it OR see your final grade and hide it? That’s going to significantly affect what an average and well above average grade out of U Ottawa will be, this year.

OPs grades are good. They’ll get them interviews at firms, and possibly even interviews at appellate courts, if they want. But they’re not incredibly high. 

Ottawa did wile out for the 1Ls, so you’re right, the class average is likely higher that it would be in other years 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question asked is plainly dumb,  both because law firms hire students with much better grades and because academic isn’t a higher form of lawyer than practicing lawyer.

But there is a less dumb version of the question. I had better 1L grades than OP out of Toronto and there were a few 1L employers I spoke to who, because of my grades and clearly stated/demonstrated interest in crossborder/international work, told me directly they assumed I’d go to New York. I didn’t have a very plausible way to deny interest. So OP, there are ways to convince employers who might otherwise be interested that you’re not really keen on being with them. Figure out what it is you’ve done that gave that signal, but it almost definitely wasn’t grades alone. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/8/2020 at 7:19 PM, LeoandCharlie said:

That being said, during my 1L interviews there was a firm which straight up told me during the interview that they found it hard to believe a person from my school was applying to their firm. As such, there's probably some employers who may feel their time would be wasted hiring a student with good grades because of their own perceptions that you'd likely not want to work for them in the immediate or long term. As such, it may be worthwhile to show your interest in these firms when conversations shift to the type mentioned above. I'd still say these sorts of occurrences are not frequent and therefore are more an exception to the general rule that good grades won't adversely impact your opportunities. 

I believe this. A similar thing happened to me (not during a 1L interview though). I would not necessarily say that the tone of questioning was hostile, but it made me realize that some lawyers will definitely be grilling me harder because of the school I come from. 

Edited by Twenty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did very well first year and got a job out of OCIs, admittedly at an academic firm. The only time it really came up during OCIs was when one interviewer (who was otherwise really awful too)  tried to make a joke of the fact that I got one B+ in first year (in undergrad my lowest grade was an A-). He also pushed me on why I was interested in business law. I really was not interested in business and was just OCI’ing because I wanted a guaranteed summer and articles. Even then they offered me an in firm (I think based pretty much solely on my grades) which I turned down as the vibe was so bad during the OCI. 
 

I definitely agree something is weird here. Honestly I would have gone into academia rather than law (or law academia) if there were more jobs and I was clueless about what real lawyers did, but did not get those questions. Do you have a masters? I know another lawyer at the firm I articled with had a masters degree and was incredibly smart and she did mention getting questions about going into academia so maybe it’s that type of flag. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, eit said:

I did very well first year and got a job out of OCIs, admittedly at an academic firm.

What's an academic firm? 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, conge said:

What's an academic firm? 

At least in my jurisdiction, when we say an "academic firm" we are describing firms where a lot of the gold medalists, law review authors, clerks, etc. end up. During recruitment, past work/life experience isn't weighted nearly as much (if at all) as their grades. Basically they're on the opposite end of the spectrum of OCI firms that people will characterize as frats filled with jocks - where they put a lot of emphasis on playing team sports during law school and having a good pedigree. 

In chatting with some recruiters around the city I practice in, some definitely have a mandate sent down by the partnership which would funnel their candidates into certain categories. For example, one firm won't look at anybody without a 3.7+ and care very little about any extra curricular activity. 

At the end of the day it's all nonsense and many firms will actually take a more holistic approach than some may care to admit. Trying to find the right "fit" for a firm is less about finding the right table to sit at in the high school cafeteria, and more of a strange alchemy where you can work well with a group regardless of your grades (to an extent) and your interests. 

The real problem is when people start making assumptions about the work product coming out of these firms. I've heard lawyers talk about academic firms as if they are filled with savants with zero social skill and frat firms like they're stocked with associates who can really put deals together, but don't actually care about the underlying law - they're more rainmakers than anything. 

Edit: What's fascinating is that I say it's all nonsense and yet I use the term "Academic (...nerdy) firm" above. Although I was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, it just goes to show that I still sort a lot of firms into different boxes. 

Edited by setto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/8/2020 at 9:01 PM, LegalQueen96 said:

My colleges opinions seem to be 'high grades get you to an MA not to a firm".

It's kind of impressive how bad this advice is.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, bernard said:

It's kind of impressive how bad this advice is.

If only because there’s no such thing as an MA in law. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...