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Do Grades Matter after Articling?


Guest Anonymous

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Long story short, I am a 3L and I had a terrible semester and failed a course due to personal circumstances I was working through.

I will still be graduating on time but the F will forever remain on my transcript.  

I have an articling position lined up but am worried about how this might affect hireback or me pursuing other opportunities after articling. 

Any insight from lawyers who were in a similar position would be greatly appreciated. 

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Yes grades do matter after articles but the further you get in your career the less it matter. A bad course can happen, if it's a concern for an employer they will ask about it during an interview. 

As for hire backs, it's going to be a non issue. Hire backs are going to be based on your performance during articles. Why would. An employer give weight to one bad course when they have months of your work product to look at. Other firms won't have that luxury so they look at grades.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer

Will vary by the area of law and type of employer, I imagine, but I recently secured a new job as a 1st year call and I wasn't even asked for my transcripts.

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Anecdotally, I interviewed with a bay street firm in the last few weeks. Grades were one of the first few things they discussed. I think if you make it to the interview stage, though, you usually have an opportunity to explain what happened. That being said, focus on just doing well at articling right now. It is absolutely way too soon to even discuss post-articling/hireback. Do good work, learn as much as you can, and worry about it next January/February.

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JohnsonWest
  • Lawyer

I've seen postings for 4th year calls at national firms / notable boutiques who ask for transcripts and note "excellent academic credentials" in their list of qualifications. So yes it does continue to matter but as a previous poster said, I would think your work experience and reference letters probably matter more. 

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Mbu1
  • Law Student
7 hours ago, JohnsonWest said:

I've seen postings for 4th year calls at national firms / notable boutiques who ask for transcripts and note "excellent academic credentials" in their list of qualifications. So yes it does continue to matter but as a previous poster said, I would think your work experience and reference letters probably matter more. 

I've seen job postings requiring "excellent academic credentials" too but what does that usually mean? Is a JD B+ average good enough?

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JohnsonWest
  • Lawyer
14 hours ago, Mbu1 said:

I've seen job postings requiring "excellent academic credentials" too but what does that usually mean? Is a JD B+ average good enough?

I've wondered this as well. I'm not sure. I think it depends on the firm. Notable boutiques here in Vancouver like NST/Hunter Litigation will basically only take medalists / deans listers. I've heard Osler has some pretty strict standards as well. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
6ixlaw2021
  • Lawyer
On 3/24/2023 at 6:17 PM, CleanHands said:

Will vary by the area of law and type of employer, I imagine, but I recently secured a new job as a 1st year call and I wasn't even asked for my transcripts.

If you don't mind me asking, was it an in-house job, because those are the only ones I've noticed don't ask for transcripts sometimes

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
19 minutes ago, 6ixlaw2021 said:

If you don't mind me asking, was it an in-house job, because those are the only ones I've noticed don't ask for transcripts sometimes

Well, if you're interested then maybe some others will be, so I might as well just come out and say that it's a legal aid staff lawyer job. I had relevant early career experience, lots of litigation in the relevant practice areas, with full court days typically 3 days a week. So they called around and asked some people in the know in my jurisdiction (who I didn't even list as references) what my reputation was on that front. That was good enough and more important than my JD grades, for that role.

So, I can't speak for the corporate world or anything, and I should probably have clarified that (thanks for giving me the opportunity).

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