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Do grades matter once you're in law school?

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Just wondering if it is worth striving for high grades once you are in law school? Can firms see your transcripts? Or do you simply need to pass? 

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Grades matter. The vast majority of articling applications will require you to submit your transcripts.

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1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

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3 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

Timely advice considering 1L exams start in just over a week! guess I should stop browsing LS daily now 

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11 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

I am in this post and I do not like it. 

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12 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

If you do get top 1L grades is it smooth sailing for you? Does it generate competition among employers? Or are you still required to compete pretty hard for positions?

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18 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

You're being overly dramatic in my opinion.

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24 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

1L grades are the most important grades you can ever get in your life. No joke. It will determine which jobs/clerkships you are competitive for and shape your legal career moving forward. Average or below average grades in 1L start closing doors. No pressure, bud. Good luck. 

what is the general curve like coming out of 1L?

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5 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

If you do get top 1L grades is it smooth sailing for you? Does it generate competition among employers? Or are you still required to compete pretty hard for positions?

It depends on which positions you are gunning for.

A few unicorn students will get hired at major Big law firms through the 1L recruitment process for which they only have your first semester grades. These students can often afford to slack a bit after that because they are typically hired back for 2L summer and articling by the same employer.

You apply for OCIs just before the start of 2L and interviews are done in the first semester of 2L. So they only have your 1L grades to work with. The majority of employers in this recruitment process is Big law, litigation boutiques and a few government. 

Now if you are not interested in these employers, or are interested but do not land a position through this process, then you'll be looking at the articling recruitment which you apply for in the summer before 3L. This is where you see more government employers, unions, and smaller and mid-sized firms in other areas of law, including personal injury and insurance defence, criminal, labour and employment, etc. They will look at your 1L and 2L grades. 

Clerkships will look at your 1L and/or 2L grades depending on when you apply for them. You need very good grades for the appellate courts and decent grades for the trial courts. 

3L is often known as 3LOL but generally you want to maintain good grades all throughout law school. Even after you start working as a lawyer, many employers will still ask to see your law school transcripts up to 5 years out of law school. So they will matter if you are looking to change jobs and official transcripts are requested by the employer. 

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8 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

You're being overly dramatic in my opinion.

Yes, I am, but better to scare these newbies up a bit than to have them think grades don't matter lol. 

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4 minutes ago, 618194 said:

what is the general curve like coming out of 1L?

It depends on the school you go to, but a B curve is typical in most law school lecture classes. 

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I'm just going to add that while grades are important for landing OCIs, as it's just about the only thing an employer has to go off of for many students, you do not need to be a straight A student to get OCIs. I know TRU graduates with B averages working in downtown Vancouver firms. So yea, they are important, do the best you can do, but being a median law student is not the end of the world.

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Yes, grades matter.

I have frequently heard about law students with low grades complaining about how they can't get a job interview.

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48 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

If you do get top 1L grades is it smooth sailing for you? Does it generate competition among employers? Or are you still required to compete pretty hard for positions?

Still required to compete.

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1 hour ago, legallybrunette3 said:

If you do get top 1L grades is it smooth sailing for you? Does it generate competition among employers? Or are you still required to compete pretty hard for positions?

If we're talking formal recruits, you still have to compete but in a very different way. Grades (plus experience to a lesser degree) get you OCIs/interviews with big law firms. Your ability to impress and get along with interviewers, along with a bunch of luck and playing the game right, gets you a job offer. The very top few students/medalists in each class may be able to get these jobs with some slack for their social skills, but the simply above-average students need to nail their interviews.

Outside big law, my guess is that your ability to network and sell yourself is more valuable to smaller firms, and your grades are more valuable to government positions. I'm not certain on that, though.

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11 hours ago, Deadpool said:

It depends on the school you go to, but a B curve is typical in most law school lecture classes. 

And could you generalize the outcomes from receiving each letter? As a follow-up through law firms that your overall average or individual courses?

 

 

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I can only speak from my experience but no one has ever asked for my law school grades. I think your applying to the big firm recruit or to a clerkship then they always ask but for many employers, no one really cares - practice is so divorced from school that there is little if any correlation between grades and work performance. 

I work for the federal government for reference. 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, notlongerfirm said:

I can only speak from my experience but no one has ever asked for my law school grades. I think your applying to the big firm recruit or to a clerkship then they always ask but for many employers, no one really cares - practice is so divorced from school that there is little if any correlation between grades and work performance. 

I work for the federal government for reference. 

 

 

It isn't only large firms that will require and place importance on grades. I'm at a small-ish litigation boutique and grades are the primary factor in who we interview, and, largely, in who we hire.  

Starting law school, students frequently, or almost always, have no idea where they will end up in practice, so it's always wise to do what you can to achieve good grades. 

@notlongerfirm  So you didn't have to provide a transcript for a federal government position in recruitment?  

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