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Grades for Bay Street?


denning
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denning
  • Law Student

What grades are necessary for getting a job on Bay Street? I'm having a hard time finding specific info about this. Obviously, you need good grades. But..straight A's? Half A's? Mostly A's?

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CleanHands
  • Articling Student

This thread is a perfect example of how much the prestige and competitiveness of these jobs tend to be overstated by applicants and students.

Dead average grades from a decent school will make you competitive for Bay. Strong grades will, of course, increase your number of interviews and chances.

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denning
  • Law Student

Oh wow I have definitely been mislead haha...by "dead average" do you mean like B's?

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CleanHands
  • Articling Student
6 minutes ago, denning said:

Oh wow I have definitely been mislead haha...by "dead average" do you mean like B's?

Different schools have different curves but there are absolutely B students who receive Bay Street BigLaw offers.

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Rashabon
  • Lawyer

A dead B average student is not getting many interviews unless their application is otherwise incredibly compelling (and most of those candidates can swing better grades).

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denning
  • Law Student

I guess what I'm curious about is if a few A's and the rest B's is considered competitive?

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Rashabon
  • Lawyer

Sure. Also depends on what school you go to. At that end of the day, does it matter? If you want a job on Bay Street, apply for a job on Bay Street and see what happens. It's the only way to find out.

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Can we talk about what a student at say Osgoode would need for OCI’s versus Queens/Western/Ottawa? 
 

Let’s get specific 

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JusticeThorson
  • Law Student

Current law student here who has spoken to many lawyers and articling students on the matter: Grades are important for any big-law firm. But I know people with a B to B- average get into those larger firms. If you don't have A's then having an impressive resume, such as volunteer work and becoming a club executive at your school helps a lot 🙂 Joining your law student union is a big, and decisive, factor as well. From what I heard from other lawyers, previous job experience, not related to law, isn't a major factor. And of course, networking is very useful. If you do anything in law school it should be to network with other lawyers, and get into clubs. You will have plenty of opportunities to do both. 

I should also add this: The law school you go to largely does not matter. I have heard rumours of some Toronto firms accepting only from certain schools, but this is unverified. The vast majority of people I have heard from, coming from these larger firms, tell me that they will accept from any school. Say you are coming from Vancouver, of course you won't hear from many Ontario schools during OCI's, but OCI's are not the only way to get into a big firm either. OCI's are also very silly as well. I remember my law professor told me that, during his OCI they didn't speak about his grades at all, only about who taught him; that is what got him into a larger firm believe it or not. 

tl;dr if you don't have the grades, then don't worry too much, it's not the end of your Bay Street dreams. 

Hope this helps.

Edited by JusticeThorson
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Pantalaimon
  • Articling Student

With the caveat that I'm not involved in OCIs, I don't think I've ever seen a B- average at in-firms (and articling students see a lot of candidates, since we "host" them). I'd say about 50% of the candidate packages I've seen are B+ averages, 40% are A- or above averages, and 10% are B averages.

Edited by Pantalaimon
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Pecan Boy
  • Law Student
55 minutes ago, JusticeThorson said:

I should also add this: The law school you go to largely does not matter.

I agree that once you get past OCIs, your school doesn't matter, but it definitely matters in some ways at the start of the process (which then has an effect on the rest of the process). For example, Osgoode and UofT do two days of OCIs while every other school does just one day, meaning the big firms can interview up to double the candidates from those two schools. Having more OCIs increases your chances of being offered multiple in-firms which, in turn, increases your chances of landing a job offer. That's not insignificant. 

Ultimately, I don't think anyone really believes that disparities in success rates at different schools are simply attributable to different levels of interest in the recruit at different schools. That's maybe a slight factor at most. Given that the order for % of the class with a job offer has almost invariably been UofT, then Osgoode, then Western/Queens, I think you have to trust that it's not a coincidence and that school plays some role in how you do in the process. 

If your point is simply that you are not precluded from being hired just by virtue of your school, I don't think anyone will disagree with that.

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JusticeThorson
  • Law Student
18 minutes ago, Pantalaimon said:

With the caveat that I'm not involved in OCIs, I don't think I've ever seen a B- average at in-firms (and articling students see a lot of candidates, since we "host" them). I'd say about 50% of the candidate packages I've seen are B+ averages, 40% are A- or above averages, and 10% are B averages.

I've personally heard of the B- average from a reputable source (i.e an actual articling student) although you can take it with a grain of salt, it is certainly rare, and I don't think having a B- average would at all guarantee anything, and your chances would remain low. As said prior, good grades matter, and that is what big law firms look at first and foremost. However having a grade in the B range does not automatically disqualify you from participating, and having a chance at, OCI's and big law. 

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Pantalaimon
  • Articling Student
6 minutes ago, JusticeThorson said:

I've personally heard of the B- average from a reputable source (i.e an actual articling student) although you can take it with a grain of salt, it is certainly rare, and I don't think having a B- average would at all guarantee anything, and your chances would remain low. As said prior, good grades matter, and that is what big law firms look at first and foremost. However having a grade in the B range does not automatically disqualify you from participating, and having a chance at, OCI's and big law. 

Yes, absolutely, I wasn't doubting you. Just wanted to flag that it's uphill for those candidates.

Rashabon said it best - there's no harm applying. Never self select out.

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JusticeThorson
  • Law Student
36 minutes ago, Pecan Boy said:

I agree that once you get past OCIs, your school doesn't matter, but it definitely matters in some ways at the start of the process (which then has an effect on the rest of the process). For example, Osgoode and UofT do two days of OCIs while every other school does just one day, meaning the big firms can interview up to double the candidates from those two schools. Having more OCIs increases your chances of being offered multiple in-firms which, in turn, increases your chances of landing a job offer. That's not insignificant. 

Ultimately, I don't think anyone really believes that disparities in success rates at different schools are simply attributable to different levels of interest in the recruit at different schools. That's maybe a slight factor at most. Given that the order for % of the class with a job offer has almost invariably been UofT, then Osgoode, then Western/Queens, I think you have to trust that it's not a coincidence and that school plays some role in how you do in the process. 

If your point is simply that you are not precluded from being hired just by virtue of your school, I don't think anyone will disagree with that.

I am coming from Vancouver so it might be a bit different from Toronto, in Vancouver you see law students from every school in big law firms. However a few points: 

My point was your last point. I make it because it is a very common misconception that people hold before going into law school. They are effected by the American mindset that prestige is all that matters, and only the prestige of your school lands you a high paying job. Which is rubbish in Canada. 

Although as you said, there are factors that may give you a slight advantage by going to a bigger law school:

UoT, Osgoode, and other reputable law schools in Ontario have larger classes, and many more graduating classes, and therefore are represented more in many law firms around Ontario, and Canada, in comparison to other smaller, and younger, schools. The two days of OCI's is an opportunity to interview as many students as possible from these larger schools which buttresses the previous point as to the quantity of applicants. Ultimately, I think you would be measured equally if you went to UoT as opposed to someone who went to a smaller school, if you both had exactly the same grades and experience.

That being said, I agree with your point that the school you go to isn't totally irrelevant. OCI's are very silly. They have certain things they look for, such as who you studied under (If they studied under the same person then that gives you a bit of an edge off the bat), grades, or club/volunteering positions. Maybe the recruiter learned under the same professor as you, and that's a point you can connect over; but at least a dozen other candidates are likely in the same boat. It is an edge however.

Another edge is this: It is easier to network with people who graduated from your school over those who didn't. A good networking tip: Message people on LinkedIn who went to your school! Most of the time they are happy to help, and name dropping is something that stands out when you send in your resume and cover letter. With that point: Every big law firm will have at least one person from each school; to your point, if you are from a larger school then the chances are higher to find someone to reach out to. 

Also, consider the possibility that those going to more prestigious schools have more interest in big law over those going to smaller schools. I personally know many who go to a smaller school simply because they prefer the class size, and they want to settle into a smaller/mid-sized firm. Although that is a personal anecdote, and you can take it anyway you wish 🙂

 

Edited by JusticeThorson
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CleanHands
  • Articling Student
5 minutes ago, JusticeThorson said:

UoT, Osgoode, and other reputable law schools in Ontario have larger classes, and many more graduating classes, and therefore are represented more in many law firms around Ontario, and Canada, in comparison to other smaller, and younger, schools. 

lol

EDIT - I replied before reading the whole post. There is so much more bad info packed into one post.

Edited by CleanHands
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LMP
  • Law Student
9 minutes ago, JusticeThorson said:

I am coming from Vancouver so it might be a bit different from Toronto, in Vancouver you see law students from every school in big law firms. However a few points: 

My point was your last point. I make it because it is a very common misconception that people hold before going into law school. They are effected by the American mindset that prestige is all that matters, and only the prestige of your school lands you a high paying job. Which is rubbish in Canada. 

Although as you said, there are factors that may give you a slight advantage by going to a bigger law school:

UoT, Osgoode, and other reputable law schools in Ontario have larger classes, and many more graduating classes, and therefore are represented more in many law firms around Ontario, and Canada, in comparison to other smaller, and younger, schools. The two days of OCI's is an opportunity to interview as many students as possible from these larger schools which buttresses the previous point as to the quantity of applicants. Ultimately, I think you would be measured equally if you went to UoT as opposed to someone who went to a smaller school, if you both had exactly the same grades and experience.

That being said, I agree with your point that the school you go to isn't totally irrelevant. OCI's are very silly. They have certain things they look for, such as who you studied under (If they studied under the same person then that gives you a bit of an edge off the bat), grades, or club/volunteering positions. Maybe the recruiter learned under the same professor as you, and that's a point you can connect over; but at least a dozen other candidates are likely in the same boat. It is an edge however.

Another edge is this: It is easier to network with people who graduated from your school over those who didn't. A good networking tip: Message people on LinkedIn who went to your school! Most of the time they are happy to help, and name dropping is something that stands out when you send in your resume and cover letter. With that point: Every big law firm will have at least one person from each school; to your point, if you are from a larger school then the chances are higher to find someone to reach out to. 

Also, consider the possibility that those going to more prestigious schools have more interest in big law over those going to smaller schools. I personally know many who go to a smaller school simply because they prefer the class size, and they want to settle into a smaller/mid-sized firm. Although that is a personal anecdote, and you can take it anyway you wish 🙂

 

For any newly admitted students, disregard this entire post. Like CH said, I don't even know where to start with this. 

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Pecan Boy
  • Law Student

Your post is not at all responsive to what I’ve said and, as others have pointed out, is based on misunderstandings and false premises. 

7 hours ago, JusticeThorson said:

Also, consider the possibility that those going to more prestigious schools have more interest in big law over those going to smaller schools. I personally know many who go to a smaller school simply because they prefer the class size, and they want to settle into a smaller/mid-sized firm. Although that is a personal anecdote, and you can take it anyway you wish 🙂

I fully addressed this point in my first comment and I think its wrong. But in any event, it’s interesting that you call them “more prestigious schools” but simultaneously believe they don’t have a leg up in the recruit, lmao. 

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QMT20
  • Articling Student
16 hours ago, denning said:

What grades are necessary for getting a job on Bay Street? I'm having a hard time finding specific info about this. Obviously, you need good grades. But..straight A's? Half A's? Mostly A's?

As other users have already noted, this depends in part on what school you go to. Firms OCI more students at some schools compared to others. It's easier to get an OCI at U of T where the big firms will OCI 80 or so students each compared to Ottawa or Windsor where they OCI around 20 each. Queen's and Western get around 40 spots from the large full service firms so where you need to fall in your class will be somewhere in the middle. 

At Queen's, you'll probably get between 8-12 OCIs with a B+ average spread between a few As and Bs. It might be a bit harder if you have a B+ average with all B+. This is assuming you apply to around 40 firms. That would give you a decent but not guaranteed shot at landing at a Bay Street law firm.

If you have an A- average or higher then you're almost a lock if you apply. If you apply to all the big firms and a few boutiques you'll get 20+ OCIs and find that 80-90% of the firms you apply to will give you an interview. One or two people with an A- average may not land each year but I've found that largely happens to people who assume their grades will get them a job and then don't respond to feedback about their mock interviews.

A B average will get you 4-6 OCIs or so if you apply to 40+ firms and your chances of landing are slim. However, a couple of people with B averages also manage to land in big law every year. 

Most of the students who land in big law will be in the B+ average range spread between a few As and Bs. That's the largest pool of competitive applicants for big law positions. There are fewer people with an A- or higher average and a lot of people in that range feel secure about being able to get a position in whatever field they apply to. Probably just over half applied to big law and the other half went after MAG, DOJ, or boutiques doing specific types of work that they were interested in. 

Edited by QMT20
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denning
  • Law Student
18 minutes ago, QMT20 said:

As other users have already noted, this depends in part on what school you go to. Firms OCI more students at some schools compared to others. It's easier to get an OCI at U of T where the big firms will OCI 80 or so students each compared to Ottawa or Windsor where they OCI around 20 each. Queen's and Western get around 40 spots from the large full service firms so where you need to fall in your class will be somewhere in the middle. 

At Queen's, you'll probably get between 8-12 OCIs with a B+ average spread between a few As and Bs. It might be a bit harder if you have a B+ average with all B+. This is assuming you apply to around 40 firms. That would give you a decent but not guaranteed shot at landing at a Bay Street law firm.

If you have an A- average or higher then you're almost a lock if you apply. If you apply to all the big firms and a few boutiques you'll get 20+ OCIs and find that 80-90% of the firms you apply to will give you an interview. One or two people with an A- average may not land each year but I've found that largely happens to people who assume their grades will get them a job and then don't respond to feedback about their mock interviews.

A B average will get you 4-6 OCIs or so if you apply to 40+ firms and you're chances of landing are slim. However, a couple of people with B averages also manage to land in big law every year. 

Most of the students who land in big law will be in the B+ average range spread between a few As and Bs. That's the largest pool of competitive applicants for big law positions. There are fewer people with an A- or higher average and a lot of people in that range feel secure about being able to get a position in whatever field they apply to. Probably just over half applied to big law and the other half went after MAG, DOJ, or boutiques doing specific types of work that they were interested in. 

Thank you! This is exactly the info I was looking for. 

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lawandordermaker
  • Applicant

Question about this. Will your grades be viewed differently if you're doing law school part-time? Or some years part-time, some years full-time? 

Edited by lawandordermaker
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Rashabon
  • Lawyer

Oh boy, no idea where to begin. I'm not going to quote the guy since there is so much wrong.

School matters, and not because of class size. You don't have to make shit up. Here's U of T's Ultra Vires study of 2022 2L hiring: https://ultravires.ca/2021/11/toronto-summer-2022-2l-recruit-numbers/

Note the class sizes: U of T (212), Osgoode (290), Queens (208), Western (190), Ottawa (280), Windsor (255). U of T is not "larger" than most Ontario schools. It also places better than Osgoode, percentage wise. Firms recruit more heavily at schools with a student body that has a stronger academic pedigree. It's pretty simple.

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SlytherinLLP
  • Articling Student

Jesus that's a stunning amount of misinformation. 

 

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CleanHands
  • Articling Student

With all the additional replies I'm surprised nobody has addressed yet that:

-Studying under the same professor as someone doing hiring does not give you a leg up.

-Exchanging LinkedIn messages with someone at a firm and then name-dropping them in a cover letter does not give you a leg up.

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QueensDenning
  • Law Student
14 hours ago, JusticeThorson said:

those going to more prestigious schools have more interest in big law over those going to smaller schools. 

 

The opposite of this is probably true. 

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KOMODO
  • Lawyer
On 4/24/2022 at 12:17 AM, JusticeThorson said:

 From what I heard from other lawyers, previous job experience, not related to law, isn't a major factor.

Lots going on in this thread, but I just want to highlight that I do not agree with this statement. When I interview prospective summer students for my firm, which I do almost every year, one of the main things I look for is work experience. Our whole committee really values it, especially where someone has stayed with an employer for an extended period or shown a progressively increasing level of responsibility across various employers. These don't need to be fancy jobs - for example, even people whose work experience consists entirely waiting tables have valuable transferable skills - but having no job history is a red flag, and having a robust job history (whether that's a series of summer jobs, work in between undergrad and law school, or part time work) is a materially positive factor. 

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