Options with median GPA from CCN

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loser99
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Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by loser99 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:21 pm

1L here at a CCN. Disappointingly, got median grades last semester. I am getting pretty spooked and dismayed, since I want a clerkship after graduation and was also flirting with the possibility of academia. Plus, it will suck to have a potentially poor selection of offers after OCI (no Cleary or WilmerHale por mi :[).

Obviously, I need to somehow get better grades. I guess my questions are:
a) What kind of GPA do I need to get a federal district court clerkship after ~2 years of big law from my tier of school?
b) Assuming I get all median grades again, what kinds of firms will I be targeting? Who would be at the top of my bid list? Morgan Lewis, White & Case (I hear they are good because they have a big summer class size), and who else?
c) I'm kind of fucked if I get median again and want to write a note, aren't I (since how would I get a prof to supervise me)?

Thanks.

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quiver
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by quiver » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:11 pm

loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:21 pm
1L here at a CCN. Disappointingly, got median grades last semester. I am getting pretty spooked and dismayed, since I want a clerkship after graduation and was also flirting with the possibility of academia. Plus, it will suck to have a potentially poor selection of offers after OCI (no Cleary or WilmerHale por mi :[).

Obviously, I need to somehow get better grades. I guess my questions are:
a) What kind of GPA do I need to get a federal district court clerkship after ~2 years of big law from my tier of school?
b) Assuming I get all median grades again, what kinds of firms will I be targeting? Who would be at the top of my bid list? Morgan Lewis, White & Case (I hear they are good because they have a big summer class size), and who else?
c) I'm kind of fucked if I get median again and want to write a note, aren't I (since how would I get a prof to supervise me)?

Thanks.
a) Probably top 25 or 30% to have any kind of shot, although it will somewhat depend on your firm, experience, and connections. See more about clerkships here.
b)Your school should have info on this once you get to the actual bidding process. Try to use the bidding stats provided by your school to maximize interviews across a range of firms. It's too soon to worry about this now, though, so I would focus on grades.
c) No. You'll presumably go through the write-on process after the semester and get more info at that point. But once you get on a journal, your ability to write a note is not necessarily tied to grades. There are other avenues to do substantial research papers too, but it will depend on your school.

Just a couple comments on being "spooked and dismayed". Median at CCN is nothing to be dismayed about. That's a fine position. Will you be clerking for SCOTUS? No. But there are thousands of law students across the country, including those at your own school, that would love to be in your position. Going into law school--even one as great as CCN--banking on a clerkship or "flirting" with academia is not prudent. Nor is gunning for specific firms like Wilmer or Cleary (not sure why anyone would gun for Cleary, but whatever) before you have your 1L grades. Speaking from experience, your mental health will be much improved by taking your career one step at a time. The step to focus on now is simply your second-semester grades.

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by Slytherpuff » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:20 pm

There's nothing wrong with getting median. You're in the middle of the pack in a group of some of the most intelligent and best test-taking law students in the country. You'll still have great job opportunities and it's way too early to get down on yourself about this. I'm sure you're used to being the smartest person in the room before you went to law school but that's no longer the case and you have to adjust your expectations accordingly.

If you're a good interviewer or have solid work experience, you can definitely still get offers from more selective firms with a median GPA. Just means you'll have to work a little harder. Cleary is 100% still in play for you if you actually want to go there for some reason.

I'm assuming you aren't at NYU, but if you are, then keep in mind that you need to write a note-length paper no matter what (I think current classes can also choose to write two shorter papers in qualifying classes instead). You can do this as part of a class or ask a professor to work with you on directed research. And then you can choose whether to submit this to your journal and it'll be up to them whether to publish it.

loser99
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by loser99 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm

Thanks for your advice, guys.
quiver wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:11 pm
Going into law school--even one as great as CCN--banking on a clerkship or "flirting" with academia is not prudent. Nor is gunning for specific firms like Wilmer or Cleary (not sure why anyone would gun for Cleary, but whatever) before you have your 1L grades. Speaking from experience, your mental health will be much improved by taking your career one step at a time. The step to focus on now is simply your second-semester grades.
I get why shooting for specific firms is kind of silly (and I didn't come in really gunning for the most prestigious firms or anything). But if someone's career path requires a clerkship, don't they kind of have to come in to law school knowing that's what they want? Similar for academia; for some people that's their goal going in, right?
There's nothing wrong with getting median. You're in the middle of the pack in a group of some of the most intelligent and best test-taking law students in the country. You'll still have great job opportunities and it's way too early to get down on yourself about this. I'm sure you're used to being the smartest person in the room before you went to law school but that's no longer the case and you have to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Point taken, though I'm not trying to be at the top of the class or anything, I just want at least some As so I can feel competent and get a clerkship.

I thought Cleary was considered one of the more desirable firms, largely because of the work they do (the government representation stuff is cool), prestige, and having a decent culture by big law standards (?)

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beep
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by beep » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:19 am

loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm
having a decent culture by big law standards (?)
i'm trying hard not to laugh at this having split one of my summers there. it's not you, OP, it's me; 1Ls don't know any better. but woof. probably forget this one.
loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm

I get why shooting for specific firms is kind of silly (and I didn't come in really gunning for the most prestigious firms or anything). But if someone's career path requires a clerkship, don't they kind of have to come in to law school knowing that's what they want? Similar for academia; for some people that's their goal going in, right?
i don't really fault you for feeling disappointed in grades because they might impact clerkship chances, but (a) there's still a lot of time to get them up, and actually working hard during 2L/3L already puts you above a lot of what your classmates will be doing once everyones' jobs are locked in, and a lot of clerkship hiring is still happening at that point, and (b) you probably overestimate the extent to which a clerkship is necessary for any particular career path, depending on what that is? only one person from my law school class -- also CCN, graduated 2016 -- is in academia right now, at least as far as I know or can tell from linkedin. she was ineligible to clerk because she's an LPR not seeking citizenship, but she had a strong PhD coming in and published strong stuff during law school. if you are dead set on being US Solicitor General, yea, sure, likely need to clerk. but also the strong majority of people in law school don't really know their career aspirations well enough to know whether clerking will be required for them or not (like, half the class is "sort of flirting" with academia, because it's a sweet job, but even the top-quartile-most-interested mostly lose interest because of the absurd amount of hustle required compared to many other paths of less resistance). it's just not really worth worrying about right now. you've got a second semester to go out and kill. (or a ... second half of winter quarter and all of spring quarter, but it doesn't sound like you are at Chicago).

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beep
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by beep » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:22 am

also this
loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:21 pm
c) I'm kind of fucked if I get median again and want to write a note, aren't I (since how would I get a prof to supervise me)?
is not really how this works, at least from what i experienced/observed? median can still get journals, either law review through write-on or a secondary. if you're on a journal there will be topic submissions and probably some sort process for getting a note submitted depending on the journal, and it is not like professors go looking through everyone's transcripts before deciding which to notes to supervise. (frankly, the profs generally don't seem to care a lot about it; mine read my note maybe once and provided virtually no feedback, but i was getting truckloads of feedback already [often terrible] from the journal note staff member.) also yea, what quiver said; i think pretty much everywhere will have some sort of independent study available if not a seminar dedicated to substantial research projects, and if you are serious about doing academic stuff you can try to turn that into a publishable paper.

loser99
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by loser99 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:56 am

beep wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:19 am
i'm trying hard not to laugh at this having split one of my summers there. it's not you, OP, it's me; 1Ls don't know any better. but woof. probably forget this one.
Yeah, it's a weird system where there doesn't seem to be a good way to really get a feel for or differentiate between the firms, but you lock yourself into the first one you try.
beep wrote: i don't really fault you for feeling disappointed in grades because they might impact clerkship chances, but (a) there's still a lot of time to get them up, and actually working hard during 2L/3L already puts you above a lot of what your classmates will be doing once everyones' jobs are locked in, and a lot of clerkship hiring is still happening at that point, and (b) you probably overestimate the extent to which a clerkship is necessary for any particular career path, depending on what that is? only one person from my law school class -- also CCN, graduated 2016 -- is in academia right now, at least as far as I know or can tell from linkedin. she was ineligible to clerk because she's an LPR not seeking citizenship, but she had a strong PhD coming in and published strong stuff during law school. if you are dead set on being US Solicitor General, yea, sure, likely need to clerk. but also the strong majority of people in law school don't really know their career aspirations well enough to know whether clerking will be required for them or not (like, half the class is "sort of flirting" with academia, because it's a sweet job, but even the top-quartile-most-interested mostly lose interest because of the absurd amount of hustle required compared to many other paths of less resistance). it's just not really worth worrying about right now. you've got a second semester to go out and kill. (or a ... second half of winter quarter and all of spring quarter, but it doesn't sound like you are at Chicago).
Yeah, I plan on working for at least 2 years prior to clerking, so I'll be applying with six semesters worth of grades. I guess that's a plus then, and I can try to pad my GPA with "easy" classes (which I imagine to be classes where the majority of students are 3Ls who don't give a fuh).

I want a clerkship for AUSA purposes. I understand it's becoming increasingly important for AUSA applicants to have a clerkship.

Re: academia, I think what you and Quiver are trying to say is that you either go all in on that or not, and even then it's more competitive than I realize unless you're okay starting off teaching at whatever rando, geographically weird and low-ranked law school will take you for a few years, in addition to foregoing income by clerking for more than 1 year and doing one of the "academic fellow" things for 2 years, and hence, "flirting" with it isn't a thing because it's a path only for those who truly want it and are down to make those sacrifices for it (?)

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RoyalHollow
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by RoyalHollow » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:41 am

loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:21 pm
1L here at a CCN. Disappointingly, got median grades last semester. I am getting pretty spooked and dismayed, since I want a clerkship after graduation and was also flirting with the possibility of academia. Plus, it will suck to have a potentially poor selection of offers after OCI (no Cleary or WilmerHale por mi :[).

Obviously, I need to somehow get better grades. I guess my questions are:
a) What kind of GPA do I need to get a federal district court clerkship after ~2 years of big law from my tier of school?
b) Assuming I get all median grades again, what kinds of firms will I be targeting? Who would be at the top of my bid list? Morgan Lewis, White & Case (I hear they are good because they have a big summer class size), and who else?
c) I'm kind of fucked if I get median again and want to write a note, aren't I (since how would I get a prof to supervise me)?

Thanks.

Only addressing the first question: Median from CCN can still get a district court clerkship. Doing better is always best, but even if you median your whole law transcript for 3 years you will be able to get some interviews and probably an offer. Maybe not for the feeders/most prestigious judges out there, but definitely still in competition for the others.

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quiver
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by quiver » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:48 pm

loser99 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm
quiver wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:11 pm
Going into law school--even one as great as CCN--banking on a clerkship or "flirting" with academia is not prudent. Nor is gunning for specific firms like Wilmer or Cleary (not sure why anyone would gun for Cleary, but whatever) before you have your 1L grades. Speaking from experience, your mental health will be much improved by taking your career one step at a time. The step to focus on now is simply your second-semester grades.
I get why shooting for specific firms is kind of silly (and I didn't come in really gunning for the most prestigious firms or anything). But if someone's career path requires a clerkship, don't they kind of have to come in to law school knowing that's what they want? Similar for academia; for some people that's their goal going in, right?
loser99 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:56 am
I want a clerkship for AUSA purposes. I understand it's becoming increasingly important for AUSA applicants to have a clerkship.
My point was that people should not go to law school if they would not be happy with the options at median. Your chosen path, AUSA, is extremely difficult to get, especially in major cities. And you're correct that it almost de facto requires a clerkship at this point, along with excellent practice experience. Academia is even tougher, usually with de facto requirements of clerkship(s), published articles, VAPs, etc. Many qualified people with those stats would absolutely accept a professorship at a "rando, geographically weird and low-ranked law school".

None of these things are out of reach due to one semester of median grades. My point is just to adjust your expectations. You're currently aiming for elite outcomes that many cannot attain.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:31 am

Half the point of going to a CCN school (or a t14 school) is that you're banking on median outcome, because median outcomes are pretty good there. I understand you are disappointed at failing to reach the highest heights of your aspirations and dreams of how law school would play out from day 1, but you actually are doing exactly what you need to be doing to have a pretty solid career as an attorney.

Step back and stop focusing so much on how you're going to get from A (being a 1L) to X, Y, or Z (AUSA who is also tenured professor and former Cleary managing partner), with an impossibly long and unlikely chain of events in between. Instead, bring your focus back to getting from A to B (nudging your grades up and getting a 1L summer job that's interesting to you). Take it one step at a time. You can weigh big picture stuff when you have an appropriate decision point to do so (like deciding between competing 1L summer offers).

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Jubo
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Re: Options with median GPA from CCN

Post by Jubo » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:33 pm

If you can write-on to law review, both CoA and district court clerkships are well within grasp, especially if you’re not picky about the location.

As for Cleary and WilmerHale, they’re definitely attainable from median at CCN, it just won’t be easy or guaranteed, and may require some extra hustle beyond OCI, though maybe not.

Don’t turn your nose up at district court clerkships. The whole CoA prestige circlejerk is pretty silly, but hey that’s the legal profession. A district court clerk is almost certainly better suited to ausa or any trial practice than a coa clerk.

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