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ChaoticNeutralLawyer

Law school grades post-articling?

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I think my law school GPA sits at right about a 3.0. I have some good grades, but also some bad ones. Unfortunately, one of the bad ones is in an area of law that I'm interested in practicing (labour), however, I did summer and article at a very reputable labour/employment law firm. How much do grades matter during the post-articling job search?

Edited by ChaoticNeutralLawyer
grammar
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Work experience at a reputable law firm will always be weighed much  more heavily than your grades. If you're looking for a job fresh off of articling, then perhaps your prospective employers will ask for your transcript. If you're a year or two in as an associate and decide to switch firms, I doubt anyone will care about your GPA. 

Edited by memoman

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It likely will depend on the firm. If you have 3+ years of experience practicing (not summer or articling), grades will matter less. If it's right after articling because you weren't hired back, they will matter more.  Search firms will often request a transcript for anyone with less than 5 years experience.

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Anecdotally, grades do not matter post-articling except maybe first job you get. I had to provide transcripts to a firm after articling and they just asked me to explain the drop. I said, I did great in undergrad, I improved significantly over the 3 years at law school, and my PLTC was all passed (all 6 parts), so I was like, I had a dip in productivity, leave me alone. And that was the last discussion I ever had on my grades (yes, I got the job).  Grades are such a small part of life, I truly wish I could hug every struggling law student and just calmly tell them to get through it and keep at it! Its such an unnecessarily competitive start to the profession that then constantly teaches us to ease up on competition with OCs and instead makes us think of clients and the (my most hated words) "business of law". 

And whoever said that in-firm experience on the subject matter you like trumps grades, they're absolutely 100% correct. Labour law experience is SO HARD to obtain, who cares what grade you got in law school, most people haven't even taken the course! 

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Coming from an unknown firm, my transition onto bay street immediately after articling was only successful because of my law school grades. The hiring partner said he was willing to take a chance on my application because of my grades. 

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During my last job search as a third year call, I was asked for my law school transcripts by two downtown Vancouver boutiques but not for an in house position. I don't know much the firms actually took my grades into account when evaluating my application, but I would echo that you should not be surprised to be asked for them even years after articles. (I was a below average student, FYI, but still successful in my search.)

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Honestly, I see job ads where they're asking for 5+ years of experience and still ask for law school transcripts. I would not apply because they clearly have poor judgement and do not share the values I'd be looking for in an employer. To each their own though.

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1 hour ago, Law Girl26 said:

Honestly, I see job ads where they're asking for 5+ years of experience and still ask for law school transcripts. I would not apply because they clearly have poor judgement and do not share the values I'd be looking for in an employer. To each their own though.

Because a firm that seeks out as much information as possible about applicants in order to differentiate one another has bad judgement.

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On 1/26/2021 at 7:26 PM, FingersCr0ssed said:

Because a firm that seeks out as much information as possible about applicants in order to differentiate one another has bad judgement.

I note your retort in the veiled sarcasm, but I kind of agree on the 5+ situation. Even in a big change from one path to another (say, family to solicitor work), I am yet to see anyone be asked for their grades. When I think of a lawyer that would put that in the job description while looking for a 5+ call, I would imagine a specific type of counsel, who started their own business, and has to fake it until they make it. It just screams business/operational inexperience to me, because what will grades say about a person who worked already for 5 years. I mean, get their notable cases or writing samples of arguments, or something along those lines. What is my C- in property law going to say? Or what is my A in civil litigation course going to show when I apply for a family law position even downtown. I mean, wouldn't you rather read my arguments in published judgements? In my personal subjective view, as an 8 year call, in hypothetical of 5+ year being asked for grades I would feel condescension, inexperience, and just blatant desire to "show off power". I really do hope that this is not offensive, its genuinely just complete lack of knowledge of HR and I also do not have any data to say one way or another. Perhaps there's an analysis that higher grades in law school correlate much better with success of a 5+ call than the said call's experience in the given 5 years. 

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1 hour ago, LegalEssence said:

I note your retort in the veiled sarcasm, but I kind of agree on the 5+ situation. Even in a big change from one path to another (say, family to solicitor work), I am yet to see anyone be asked for their grades. When I think of a lawyer that would put that in the job description while looking for a 5+ call, I would imagine a specific type of counsel, who started their own business, and has to fake it until they make it. It just screams business/operational inexperience to me, because what will grades say about a person who worked already for 5 years. I mean, get their notable cases or writing samples of arguments, or something along those lines. What is my C- in property law going to say? Or what is my A in civil litigation course going to show when I apply for a family law position even downtown. I mean, wouldn't you rather read my arguments in published judgements? In my personal subjective view, as an 8 year call, in hypothetical of 5+ year being asked for grades I would feel condescension, inexperience, and just blatant desire to "show off power". I really do hope that this is not offensive, its genuinely just complete lack of knowledge of HR and I also do not have any data to say one way or another. Perhaps there's an analysis that higher grades in law school correlate much better with success of a 5+ call than the said call's experience in the given 5 years. 

This. 

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I had ok grades and was only asked for them once post articles, for my first job after articling. I got the job. I was never asked for my grades ever again. I’ve been practicing for about 10 years. 

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On 1/28/2021 at 6:38 PM, LegalEssence said:

I note your retort in the veiled sarcasm, but I kind of agree on the 5+ situation. Even in a big change from one path to another (say, family to solicitor work), I am yet to see anyone be asked for their grades. When I think of a lawyer that would put that in the job description while looking for a 5+ call, I would imagine a specific type of counsel, who started their own business, and has to fake it until they make it. It just screams business/operational inexperience to me, because what will grades say about a person who worked already for 5 years. I mean, get their notable cases or writing samples of arguments, or something along those lines. What is my C- in property law going to say? Or what is my A in civil litigation course going to show when I apply for a family law position even downtown. I mean, wouldn't you rather read my arguments in published judgements? In my personal subjective view, as an 8 year call, in hypothetical of 5+ year being asked for grades I would feel condescension, inexperience, and just blatant desire to "show off power". I really do hope that this is not offensive, its genuinely just complete lack of knowledge of HR and I also do not have any data to say one way or another. Perhaps there's an analysis that higher grades in law school correlate much better with success of a 5+ call than the said call's experience in the given 5 years. 

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I don’t know if this is specific to NY firms, but most will ask to see your grades even if you’re interviewing for a senior position in a lateral move. 

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2020 call who did not graduate with honours due to some extremely low outlier grades (also had some very high grades). I articled at an international firm where I gained a lot of advocacy experience. I’ve had 5 interviews in the last 6 months and one offer from a reputable firm. All my interviews except for one were with Bay Street firms or with other firms not around Bay but with excellent reputations. They all asked for grades. Only one firm asked about a really bad grade. I was even interviewed for a position asking for 3-5 years experience. I felt they were very focused on my experience. 

I have never been interested in corporate law and I am unsure if things would be different if that’s what I was going for. 

I will also add that my grades in the courses that are “relevant” to the practice groups I interviewed with were in the A- to A+ range. 

Edited by Disputes

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For my associate job search, I was asked to provide copies of my undergrad and law school transcripts AFTER I received the offer just for them to verify my education backgrounds.

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