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LegalQueen96

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

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3 hours ago, setto said:

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. 

What does “having a good pedigree” mean in this context? (English is not my first language although I generally like to think I am very fluent... I’ve only heard this used in the context of breeding dogs and horses and things like that.)

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4 minutes ago, wtamow said:

What does “having a good pedigree” mean in this context? (English is not my first language although I generally like to think I am very fluent... I’ve only heard this used in the context of breeding dogs and horses and things like that.)

Well, it's sorta like with animals - having good ancestry and placing an emphasis on where someone is from rather than what they did. It shouldn't be a big surprise that law can be a bit of an old guard boys club. Sometimes the school and prep school you went to, your last name, and the neighborhood you grew up in can play a large part in getting hired. Somewhat like you would see in a fraternity - there are "legacy" applicants. 

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2 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

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

Technically, there is such thing as an MA in law. Cambridge and Oxford's law degrees are BAs in law. 3-4 years after graduation, a BA holder can apply to upgrade their BA to an MA. As a result, a good number of lawyers in England have MAs in law.

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5 hours ago, setto said:

At the end of the day it's all nonsense 

That was my impression too. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe I'm old, or I'm  used to a different curve out on the west coast.  But getting 4 As of any flavour as your first year marks would be a stellar performance.  An A or A+ pretty much means the course prize for the year.

 

They hand As out like candy out east or something?

Edited by kurrika

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, kurrika said:

Maybe I'm old, or I'm  used to a different curve out on the west coast.  But getting 4 As of any flavour as your first year marks would be a stellar performance.  An A or A+ pretty much means the course prize for the year.

 

They hand As out like candy out east or something?

No, certainly not, which makes this all so funny. Blocked did make a good point about Ottawa's 1L grading this year; they made a number of choices that could definitely mean there were more As this year, but generally As (and A+s!!) are still hard to get.

For reference, less than 10% of Ottawa's graduating class this year had a cgpa as good or better than OP's.

Edited by easttowest

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19 minutes ago, kurrika said:

Maybe I'm old, or I'm  used to a different curve out on the west coast.  But getting 4 As of any flavour as your first year marks would be a stellar performance.  An A or A+ pretty much means the course prize for the year.

 

They hand As out like candy out east or something?

Yeah, A’s are much more common out east. About 13% of Osgoode’s class gets an A or A+ average in first year (graduating with an A average, on the other hand, would put you in the top 5% or so). 

This year, U Ottawa curved to a 6 (B) or 6.5 (B+) depending on the course, and allowed a variance of up to 0.8 on the course average. That means that a course average GPA can be, on the high end, between 6.8 and 7.3. OP had an 8.1 GPA, but that drops steeply to a 7.45 GPA if you give them a D+ in the course they pass/failed. 

All of that also has to be adjusted in light of Ottawa’s bizarre grading system this year, where they let students keep their midterm grade OR write their final and hide it OR write their final and keep their final mark. That’s going to cause a ton of grade inflation and average GPA inflation amongst the class.

@easttowest, for context, at BC schools As are much less common. In 2018-19 at UBC, zero students had A+s averages and only three had A averages – two in 3L, one in 2L. There were a total of 48 A-range averages across all three years. 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Yeah, A’s are much more common out east. About 13% of Osgoode’s class gets an A or A+ average in first year (graduating with an A average, on the other hand, would put you in the top 5% or so). 

This year, U Ottawa curved to a 6 (B) or 6.5 (B+) depending on the course, and allowed a variance of up to 0.8 on the course average. That means that a course average GPA can be, on the high end, between 6.8 and 7.3. OP had an 8.1 GPA, but that drops steeply to a 7.45 GPA if you give them a D+ in the course they pass/failed. 

All of that also has to be adjusted in light of Ottawa’s bizarre grading system this year, where they let students keep their midterm grade OR write their final and hide it OR write their final and keep their final mark. That’s going to cause a ton of grade inflation and average GPA inflation amongst the class.

@easttowest, for context, at BC schools As are much less common. In 2018-19 at UBC, zero students had A+s averages and only three had A averages – two in 3L, one in 2L. There were a total of 48 A-range averages across all three years. 

I think zero A+ averages is likely at Ottawa last year and I think only a handful of A averages is likely as well. It’s tough to say, since Ottawa’s cutoff for the highest Latin honours is 8.5 (where an A- is 8 and an A is 9). One student counted the Latin honours at convocation and recorded seven Summa (8.5+) and 19 Magna (8.0-8.49) out of 356 graduates; an A average would likely have won you a medal.

If you’re saying A averages are harder to achieve in BC, then I’ll have to believe you, but I don’t know of many Ottawa students walking around with those grades either. 

 

Edited by easttowest

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5 minutes ago, easttowest said:

 

If you’re saying A averages are harder to achieve in BC, then I’ll have to believe you, but I don’t know of many Ottawa students walking around with those grades either. 

 

 

Back in the good old days at UBC there was a way to see the grade distribution of all courses 

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3 minutes ago, kurrika said:

 

Back in the good old days at UBC there was a way to see the grade distribution of all courses 

You used to be able to call Ottawa and ask your class rank but they stopped doing that a few years back. As far as I know, none of Ottawa's grades are publicly available anywhere. 

In any event, this entire discussion is pretty hilarious.

Also, Blocked, you are WRONG, a D+ would only take the gpa down to a 7.47!!!!

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, easttowest said:

You used to be able to call Ottawa and ask your class rank but they stopped doing that a few years back. As far as I know, none of Ottawa's grades are publicly available anywhere. 

In any event, this entire discussion is pretty hilarious.

Also, Blocked, you are WRONG, a D+ would only take the gpa down to a 7.47!!!!

I blame U Ottawa for using what has to be the dumbest numerical GPA system I have ever encountered. And I went to Osgoode, which uses an absurd 9-point scale. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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8 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I blame U Ottawa for using what has to be the dumbest numerical GPA system I have ever encountered. And I went to Osgoode, which uses an absurd 9-point scale. 

We're actually both wrong: another quirk is that one of the black letter law courses other than property is actually weighted as a 6... we just don't know which one! Assuming a D+, the range would be 7.36-7.54.

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Just so McGill doesn't get lumped into "all east schools give As like candy", Dean's list at McGill after 1L is about a 3.3 CGPA. A B+. An A level course pretty much guaranteed you're in the top 10 or 5 percent of your class.

The gold medalist is sometimes above 3.7.

Some classes never give out As, or even A-s. 

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15 hours ago, kurrika said:

Maybe I'm old, or I'm  used to a different curve out on the west coast.  But getting 4 As of any flavour as your first year marks would be a stellar performance.  An A or A+ pretty much means the course prize for the year.

 

They hand As out like candy out east or something?

Out east? Aren't we talking about Ottawa? That's like me (in NS) call Ottawa "out west".

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30 minutes ago, conge said:

Out east? Aren't we talking about Ottawa? That's like me (in NS) call Ottawa "out west".

That seems perfectly reasonable

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2 hours ago, conge said:

Out east? Aren't we talking about Ottawa? That's like me (in NS) call Ottawa "out west".

It’s over 3000 km east of me.

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On the West coast “out east” is everything east of Winnipeg, I’d say.

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12 minutes ago, easttowest said:

On the West coast “out east” is everything east of Winnipeg, I’d say.

Wait till @conge finds out people from BC say that Toronto is on the “east coast” pretty regularly. 

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55 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Wait till @conge finds out people from BC say that Toronto is on the “east coast” pretty regularly. 

All of my friends from BC refer to Toronto as the “east coast” and for them it makes total sense 

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