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Grades for Bay Street?


denning

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WyattDerp
  • Lawyer
On 4/23/2022 at 6:09 PM, 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?

Aim for >B+/A- (depending on school) to maximize interview chances. Actually getting the job is combination of other factors identified above such as GPA, undergrad program, work experience, noteworthy extracurriculars (high level sports, successful entrepreneurship or volunteering in a meaningful capacity) as well as your connections. If you have a B average, connections can often be the determining factor. 

On 4/23/2022 at 10:17 PM, JusticeThorson said:

 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. 

99.9% of the time joining a campus club or students union (law school or otherwise) isn't noteworthy or impressive for the purposes of hiring. Almost everyone applying has something similar on their resume and I have yet to run into any situation in which it was positively mentioned/considered in the evaluation of a candidate. Don't do clubs, do clinics.

2 hours ago, KOMODO said:

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. 

Agree with all of this. For me, previous service industry experience is a huge positive vs previous office jobs. We can teach you law, it's tough to teach someone to be professional and have a thick skin when they haven't had to deal with difficult clients/customers before. While I am not saying no other industries deal with this, servers often seem to be be able to transition their skillset to law very easily.

 

 

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DonCorleone
  • Law Student

Speaking from experience, grades matter more for certain types of candidates than others. If you have a business undergrad from a T1 b-school in finance, you might get the same or even more OCIs than someone with better grades and an undergrad in sociology. Same applies to work experience. Did you work in investment banking for a couple years or are you a K-JD with babysitting on your resume?

This process really has no rhyme or reason and there is a lot more at play than grades. I also think firms might be starting to catch on that hiring on grades alone is a flawed approach, especially for corporate work. In one of my interviews I talked with my interviewers about the use of mezzanine debt in Canada and the PE landscape/whether equity rollover and earn-outs were becoming more commonly negotiated given higher valuations. I got a call with an offer right after that. At that point, they couldn’t have cared less about grades. 

Bottom line - don’t self-select yourself out of this process. Get the highest grades you can. Write an amazing cover letter explaining why you are interested in the firm’s work. Prep for interviews and ask meaningful questions, other than the standard “what opportunities do you provide for women” and “what’s the culture like.” You might be surprised with the results. I got 15 OCIs, 9 in firms and 3 offers, and believe me, my grades were alright but certainly not deans list worthy.

 

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28 minutes ago, DonCorleone said:

Speaking from experience, grades matter more for certain types of candidates than others. If you have a business undergrad from a T1 b-school in finance, you might get the same or even more OCIs than someone with better grades and an undergrad in sociology. Same applies to work experience. Did you work in investment banking for a couple years or are you a K-JD with babysitting on your resume?

This process really has no rhyme or reason and there is a lot more at play than grades. I also think firms might be starting to catch on that hiring on grades alone is a flawed approach, especially for corporate work. In one of my interviews I talked with my interviewers about the use of mezzanine debt in Canada and the PE landscape/whether equity rollover and earn-outs were becoming more commonly negotiated given higher valuations. I got a call with an offer right after that. At that point, they couldn’t have cared less about grades. 

Bottom line - don’t self-select yourself out of this process. Get the highest grades you can. Write an amazing cover letter explaining why you are interested in the firm’s work. Prep for interviews and ask meaningful questions, other than the standard “what opportunities do you provide for women” and “what’s the culture like.” You might be surprised with the results. I got 15 OCIs, 9 in firms and 3 offers, and believe me, my grades were alright but certainly not deans list worthy.

 

Can I DM you with some questions? 

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ruthlessfox
  • Law Student
9 hours ago, DonCorleone said:

Speaking from experience, grades matter more for certain types of candidates than others. If you have a business undergrad from a T1 b-school in finance, you might get the same or even more OCIs than someone with better grades and an undergrad in sociology. Same applies to work experience. Did you work in investment banking for a couple years or are you a K-JD with babysitting on your resume?

Your mileage may vary here. If I'm a partner speaking to a finance kid from an Ivey or a Queen's, I'll also be wondering why they are sitting in front of me. To work in a less glamorous side of the industry with lower pay and similar hours? If you were working at a BB investment bank for a few years, why are you interviewing for an articling position and not at a PE shop in the US? Not saying there are not good, valid reasons, but you would have some major explaining to do.

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On 4/25/2022 at 7:18 AM, KOMODO said:

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. 

Hey Komodo, can I dm you with some questions about this post? 

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KOMODO
  • Lawyer
8 hours ago, jomar said:

Hey Komodo, can I dm you with some questions about this post? 

Sure, but I generally prefer to answer questions publicly where possible, so that lurkers and future readers can benefit. But yeah, feel free to ask by DM if things are too specific for the public space.

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CheeseToast
  • Law Student
On 4/24/2022 at 1:17 AM, JusticeThorson said:

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.

???????????

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  • 10 months later...
Mbu1
  • Law Student
On 4/23/2022 at 9:20 PM, CleanHands said:

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.

Which law schools aren't decent in Canada? 

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AllWellAndGood
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, Mbu1 said:

Which law schools aren't decent in Canada? 

It's as simple as using the generally accepted rankings of Canadian Law Schools, then putting a cut-off based on the quality of the firm you're applying for:

 

1. U of T

2. [School you attended]

3. [Schools you applied to but didn't get accepted to]

4. [Schools you got accepted to but decline]

5. Windsor 

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Hayesy-B
  • Lawyer
44 minutes ago, AllWellAndGood said:

It's as simple as using the generally accepted rankings of Canadian Law Schools, then putting a cut-off based on the quality of the firm you're applying for:

 

1. U of T

2. [School you attended]

3. [Schools you applied to but didn't get accepted to]

4. [Schools you got accepted to but decline]

5. Windsor 

I’d switch 3 and 4. Everywhere that rejected me did so because I was too strong of a candidate. 

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backtomac
  • Applicant
56 minutes ago, AllWellAndGood said:

It's as simple as using the generally accepted rankings of Canadian Law Schools, then putting a cut-off based on the quality of the firm you're applying for:

 

1. U of T

2. [School you attended]

3. [Schools you applied to but didn't get accepted to]

4. [Schools you got accepted to but decline]

5. Windsor 

Me reading this probably attending windsor: 😭😭😭😂😭😭😭😭

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LMP
  • Articling Student
2 hours ago, backtomac said:

Me reading this probably attending windsor: 😭😭😭😂😭😭😭😭

But if that's the school you attend, it moves to number 2 on the list! 

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  • 10 months later...
SmallBart
  • Law School Admit

On a related topic, what kind of grades are needed to be competitive for corporate/business law outside of Bay St, in the smaller regional markets like Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, etc?

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WhoKnows
  • Lawyer
15 hours ago, SmallBart said:

On a related topic, what kind of grades are needed to be competitive for corporate/business law outside of Bay St, in the smaller regional markets like Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, etc?

Incredibly firm dependent, and depends whether it's a regional office of a large firm or smaller firm that only operates in that city. The standard also shifts based on other factors - like whether you have a connection to the city. 

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

I always just figured those firms were happy somebody noticed them. 

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SmallBart
  • Law School Admit
12 hours ago, WhoKnows said:

Incredibly firm dependent, and depends whether it's a regional office of a large firm or smaller firm that only operates in that city. The standard also shifts based on other factors - like whether you have a connection to the city. 

I’m thinking more of smaller firms, 10 to 30ish lawyers.

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For those places, your connection to the city/town becomes almost paramount. You have to convince them you're planning to stick around for the long-ish term.

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