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HopefulLawyer97

Toronto 2L Recruit - Grades

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Hi all, 

Was just wondering, what is the consensus in terms of 1L grades/averages for getting a good slate of interviews during the 2L Toronto recruit? I’ve heard B+ From a few upper years. Are they looking for high B+ or is a low B+ acceptable? Would it be better to have a B+ average with a couple A grades mixed in? Or is straight B+s across the board seen as equivalent? 
 

Thanks!

 

Happy thanksgiving! 

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Better the grades the more OCIs you will get but I know people who got Bay Street jobs with a B average, not even a B+. 

High B+/low A- average will give you the most opportunities for sure. Don’t know many people with low B+ that got a lot of interviews but it certainly could happen.

Edited by spacelaw
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Keep in mind different schools have different grading systems. As such, it's hard to state a hard and fast rule for what constitutes as passing the gpa threshold for interviews. You do your best, and see who gets back to you.

At the end of the day, there's no point stressing about a GPA threshold anyway. Your grades will be what they are. You did or did not do your preparation for evaluation. Come the evaluation day, you either had a great day or didn't.  

After grades, what you can put effort into is editing and preparing your application. Write a good app. Proofread it five times. Do the simple stuff right. Spell the firm's name correctly. For example, there are two n's and two t's in for the Bennett in Bennett Jones. Miller Thompson might be a firm somewhere, but it's not the bay street national firm you are after (Miller Thomson).

As someone on the other side, it actually shocks me how many people submit sloppy applications for what might be the biggest application of their career. 

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It’s gonna be a weird year since some (most?) schools went pass/fail for 1L. 

That said, a B+ average should land you a few OCIs. I don’t know if the breakdown matters.

If it helps, I had 5 A- and 3 B+ and received five OCIs and one in-firm invite from a non-OCI firm. A friend had 4 A- and 4 B+ (possibly 3 B+, 1 B, I can’t specifically recall) and nine OCIs.

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Other comments have summed it up accurately already. I’ll just add in case it’s helpful that I had a B+ average: All As and Bs, no Cs, and I got 4 OCIs and 2 in firms. 

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Shouldn't the school be a factor as well? I noticed Talos and easttowest went to Windsor and Ottawa, respectively, so if a student went to one of the schools that does better in the recruit (Queens, Western, Osgoode) with a B+ average, wouldn't they get more OCIs by virtue of going to a school with more OCI slots?  

Edited by JusticeLordDenning

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21 minutes ago, JusticeLordDenning said:

Shouldn't the school be a factor as well? I noticed Talos and easttowest went to Windsor and Ottawa, respectively, so if a student went to one of the schools that does better in the recruit (Queens, Western, Osgoode) with a B+ average, wouldn't they get more OCIs?  

Yes, all things equal, a B+ average at Osgoode will get you more OCIs than a B+ average at Ottawa. That said, all Ontario schools place students on Bay St and at this stage there's nothing you can do in that respect, so do your best to improve the parts of your application you can improve and your interview skills.

To answer OP, if you're on dean's list, you'll get a full slate of OCIs. If you have a B+ average you'll have quite a few but probably not a full slate - anecdotally from people I've spoken to, they've typically had between 8-12 OCIs. If your average is a B then you'll likely get a few but not many. If your cover letters are really good and targeted, you may be able to get upward of 8 or so interviews even with a B. Of course, if you have valuable educational or professional experience (e.g. you're a CPA and applying to a tax law firm, or a science or engineering PhD applying to an IP law firm), then this will skew the general trend and you'll receive more interviews despite having a lower average.

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Anyone from UofT have any insight on grades that'll make you competitive for the recruit given the abnormal grading scale? I.e. how many Hs or HHs would be considered competitive?

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At Osgoode, the general consensus was that 2 As and a handful of B+s was enough to get plenty of OCIs. Some of my friends had full slates with those grades and some only had a handful. There are other factors that determine how competitive a student is. Students with professional designations, solid prior employment histories, etc tended to do well without having to rely exclusively on grades. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 12:54 PM, JusticeLordDenning said:

Shouldn't the school be a factor as well? I noticed Talos and easttowest went to Windsor and Ottawa, respectively, so if a student went to one of the schools that does better in the recruit (Queens, Western, Osgoode) with a B+ average, wouldn't they get more OCIs by virtue of going to a school with more OCI slots?  

People I knew at Queen's with a B+ average got 10-12 OCIs out of 25-30 ish applications during 2L recruit. People who had a B average faired a lot worse though. Some who I knew got 4 OCIs out of 30 or so applications. 

I think the two main factors that determine how many OCIs you get with a B+ from one school vs another are the number of OCIs available, and the size of your class (number of students competing for those spots). 

A lot of firms don't have the same number of OCI slots from school to school which makes a difference. The big-firms do two days of OCIs at U of T and Osgoode so they have like 60-80 slots per firm. There's only one day of OCIs at Queen's and most of the firms have 2-teams and 40 slots throughout the day. I've heard at some other schools it's only 20 slots for OCI day. The less slots there are, the higher your grades or more competitive the other aspects of your application probably have to be to get an OCI. 

There will also be different numbers of students applying for those spots at different schools. People say that a greater number of Queen's/Western students go for Toronto OCIs than Ottawa which is probably true, but the class sizes are also a lot smaller. Even if half the students at Ottawa do Toronto OCIs it would be nearly the size of Western's entire class so the OCIs available become dispersed amongst a wider pool of applicants. 

Edited by QMT20

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There's really maybe 2 things you should know:

  • Better school and/or grades = better chances
  • Outlier application = outlier results

I'd caution against worrying about all the other various things mentioned in this thread because it's not going have any bearing on the two things you can control: (i) your grades and (ii) your application. 

Also, I say this as someone who spent way too much time worrying about all these same things.

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On 10/13/2020 at 9:11 PM, QMT20 said:

People I knew at Queen's with a B+ average got 10-12 OCIs out of 25-30 ish applications during 2L recruit. People who had a B average faired a lot worse though. Some who I knew got 4 OCIs out of 30 or so applications. 

I think the two main factors that determine how many OCIs you get with a B+ from one school vs another are the number of OCIs available, and the size of your class (number of students competing for those spots). 

A lot of firms don't have the same number of OCI slots from school to school which makes a difference. The big-firms do two days of OCIs at U of T and Osgoode so they have like 60-80 slots per firm. There's only one day of OCIs at Queen's and most of the firms have 2-teams and 40 slots throughout the day. I've heard at some other schools it's only 20 slots for OCI day. The less slots there are, the higher your grades or more competitive the other aspects of your application probably have to be to get an OCI. 

There will also be different numbers of students applying for those spots at different schools. People say that a greater number of Queen's/Western students go for Toronto OCIs than Ottawa which is probably true, but the class sizes are also a lot smaller. Even if half the students at Ottawa do Toronto OCIs it would be nearly the size of Western's entire class so the OCIs available become dispersed amongst a wider pool of applicants. 

Yup. B+ at uOttawa (one B, two A-, rest B+) got me 4 OCIs. There were 20 slots/day per firm from what I remember and uOttawa also has a huge class size (though students probably participate less than other schools). From what I understood, a extra A- (or A) would have landed me quite a few more OCIs (that's at least what friends and career development said).

I only say this because my understanding was B+ = 10+ OCIs; as @QMT20 pointed out, though, this rule is really only true for certain schools.

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On 10/13/2020 at 9:11 PM, QMT20 said:

People I knew at Queen's with a B+ average got 10-12 OCIs out of 25-30 ish applications during 2L recruit. People who had a B average faired a lot worse though. Some who I knew got 4 OCIs out of 30 or so applications. 

I think the two main factors that determine how many OCIs you get with a B+ from one school vs another are the number of OCIs available, and the size of your class (number of students competing for those spots). 

Not only is it the number of OCIs available at your school or the size of your class that matters , but also what curve your school uses and how tightly professors adhere to it. A high B+ average was enough to be on the Dean's List at Western (and therefore receive 15-20 OCIs) for the last 2L recruit because the curve was so tight, but this likely wouldn't have been true at most schools, and wouldn't necessarily have been the case even in previous years at Western.

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On 10/12/2020 at 10:28 AM, OnlyResident said:

Anyone from UofT have any insight on grades that'll make you competitive for the recruit given the abnormal grading scale? I.e. how many Hs or HHs would be considered competitive?

Ultravires publishes this data every year. 

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On 10/15/2020 at 10:56 AM, switchdog said:

Yup. B+ at uOttawa (one B, two A-, rest B+) got me 4 OCIs. There were 20 slots/day per firm from what I remember and uOttawa also has a huge class size (though students probably participate less than other schools). From what I understood, a extra A- (or A) would have landed me quite a few more OCIs (that's at least what friends and career development said).

I only say this because my understanding was B+ = 10+ OCIs; as @QMT20 pointed out, though, this rule is really only true for certain schools.

A high B+ at uOttawa would have landed you 10+ OCIs. There’s a huge difference in GPA between someone with a low B+ and someone on the cusp of an A- average. This is true at all other law schools as well (for e.g. I had twice as many OCIs as a friend at Western and Osgoode even though we both have a GPA in the B+ range).

Edited by spacelaw
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I know Ultra Vires publishes a piece on the U of T recruit + grades every year (I’ve actually helped work on it in the past), but it’s always acknowledged that the survey can be quite biased/not totally representative for many reasons, plus it’s just a bunch of anonymous numbers without personal context. As such, if anyone has any anecdotal experience with grades/OCIs from U of T, insight would be appreciated!

Personally, my 1L grades were probably pretty below average (fingers crossed for better success this term!), although it’s tough to determine what “average” means at U of T and how employers look at our grades. On the other hand, I’d like to think I have a pretty extensive amount of relevant work/volunteer/extracurricular experience, so I’m truly not sure how I’ll fare. 

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4 hours ago, subwaysandwich said:

I know Ultra Vires publishes a piece on the U of T recruit + grades every year (I’ve actually helped work on it in the past), but it’s always acknowledged that the survey can be quite biased/not totally representative for many reasons, plus it’s just a bunch of anonymous numbers without personal context. As such, if anyone has any anecdotal experience with grades/OCIs from U of T, insight would be appreciated!

Personally, my 1L grades were probably pretty below average (fingers crossed for better success this term!), although it’s tough to determine what “average” means at U of T and how employers look at our grades. On the other hand, I’d like to think I have a pretty extensive amount of relevant work/volunteer/extracurricular experience, so I’m truly not sure how I’ll fare. 

Hate to burst your bubble, but for the purposes recruit, what matters is grades, and then grades, and then grades. Work/volunteer/EC matter much less than law students like to think. 

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26 minutes ago, hmyo said:

Hate to burst your bubble, but for the purposes recruit, what matters is grades, and then grades, and then grades. Work/volunteer/EC matter much less than law students like to think. 

This is true, but with several schools having had optional or mandatory p/f at the end of last year, this year's cohort has lots of students with few or no 1L grades at all. While the recruit's been pushed back to give employers the chance to look at fall 2L grades, the process has been complicated by the change. It's much easier to compare law students across Canada when you're using 1L grades and everyone's taken the same courses; not so much when you're comparing students with 1L and fall 2L grades with others who have few or no 1L and fall 2L grades; not to mention that upper year courses are smaller and more specialized. Without 1L grades to look at it's certainly possible firms will look more closely at work/volunteer/EC experience than they otherwise would have. (That being said grades will undoubtedly still be the most important metric for them.)

Edited by lewcifer
rephrased for clarity

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29 minutes ago, hmyo said:

Hate to burst your bubble, but for the purposes recruit, what matters is grades, and then grades, and then grades. Work/volunteer/EC matter much less than law students like to think. 

No worries - no bubble bursting happening. I know that grades are basically king in the recruit (although I have heard @lewcifer‘s points quite often echoed by our CDO, so the balance may shift a little this year). I’m mostly just unsure how firms evaluate UofT’s grading system in comparison with other schools - like, what’s a B average in P/H/HH terms? aka What’s the approx cutoff for getting at least a few OCIs? Does the fact that UofT generally has more OCI slots make this cutoff lower? It’s a bit hard to evaluate how good/bad your grades are with this system, especially given all of the COVID changes (winter term going P/F, etc). 

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