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What do you in the summertime with shitty grades?


existentialdread

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existentialdread
  • Law Student

Hi all, 

 

Self-explanatory title. Midterms came back and things clearly went sideways--landed with a B- average. Not super happy about it and there is obviously much work to be done to fix this for finals and *hopefully* having a fighting chance in 2L recruit. 

I was hoping to at least be mediocre and attempt 1L recruit, but I suspect that is probably out of reach for me now considering I'm in the bottom half. I do feel that I have solid work experience that might be an asset to to my applications but hey, seemingly so does everyone else lol. 


Overall, I don't want to waste time or energy if it's just futile with my grades. I'm hoping one of you seasoned vets can give me a pep talk or lay out some other potential avenues for law-related work, if any, when your grades are just, well, shitty. Thanks in advance. 

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LMP
  • Articling Student

There's employment options outside the 1L recruit. In fact most of jobs are found outside of it. While I think your odds are pretty low for the big firms in the formal recruit, you'll almost certainly land something with broad applications to other firms. 

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Whisk3yjack
  • Lawyer

You should apply for law jobs and research assistant positions, but your job isn't going to be very important. Lots of people wait tables, work landscaping, or do any other kind of non-law job. It won't negatively affect you chances

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer

It doesn't hurt to give the 1L recruit a try. I didn't when I was in 2L because I was disappointed in my midterm grades but I later found out that students with lower grades than me got 1L jobs. I was definitely kicking myself for not at least trying.

But if that doesn't work out, don't stress as there will be many opportunities to come in 2L and 3L. I got an excellent RA position in my 1L summer. There were also paid clinic positions that I recall applying for. Something interesting and law-adjacent will give you lots to discuss in the 2L recruit and be fulfilling. 

Edited by chaboywb
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cjs
  • Law Student

Are you K-JD, mature student, or something in between? You mentioned you’ve got some good work experience so I question how much impact one more summer of work (especially if not in a novel area) will have.  Obviously if you’ve never had a job before one summer will be material but if you had a 10 year career, then one summer seems pretty insignificant.  I would focus as much as you can on upping your grades this semester and ensuring you’ve got a lot of time over the summer to network for the recruit (it’s not going to get you the job but it will help if you put in the effort).

Edited by cjs
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Mignonette
  • Law Student

My school's career center used to say that 70% of students found their jobs outside of the traditional OCI recruits.  Poor mid-term grades should not prevent you from finding a summer legal position if you really want one.  I found my 1L summer job by calling around to smaller firms and checking LinkedIn and Indeed for admin support or receptionist jobs at law firms.  FSWEP might also have options.

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QueensDenning
  • Lawyer
2 hours ago, Mignonette said:

My school's career center used to say that 70% of students found their jobs outside of the traditional OCI recruits.  Poor mid-term grades should not prevent you from finding a summer legal position if you really want one.  I found my 1L summer job by calling around to smaller firms and checking LinkedIn and Indeed for admin support or receptionist jobs at law firms.  FSWEP might also have options.

I would highly recommend NOT looking for admin or receptionist jobs at a law firm. Shitty pay and it’s not legal experience. Better off waiting tables. 

Edited by QueensDenning
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existentialdread
  • Law Student
On 1/16/2024 at 1:22 AM, cjs said:

Are you K-JD, mature student, or something in between? You mentioned you’ve got some good work experience so I question how much impact one more summer of work (especially if not in a novel area) will have.  Obviously if you’ve never had a job before one summer will be material but if you had a 10 year career, then one summer seems pretty insignificant.  I would focus as much as you can on upping your grades this semester and ensuring you’ve got a lot of time over the summer to network for the recruit (it’s not going to get you the job but it will help if you put in the effort).

I likely fall under "mature" (I am pushing 30). My (professional) prior work experience is from a law firm already. My not-so-professional work experience is in the service industry. I am still technically working 2 jobs: one is very occasional and the other is only 4-8 hours per week with generous time off for exams. I am also volunteering with my school's legal clinic but I keep getting ghosted by clients so it's been minimal work. 

Essentially on paper I look really busy right now but in actuality it isn't that busy. 

 

On 1/16/2024 at 1:01 PM, QueensDenning said:

I would highly recommend NOT looking for admin or receptionist jobs at a law firm. Shitty pay and it’s not legal experience. Better off waiting tables. 

Fear not, for I have already suffered many years as a legal assistant prior to law school and won't be caught making that mistake again. 

 

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SNAILS
  • Articling Student

First of all, I think people need to stop beating themselves up about getting Bs in law school. Statistically, most of the lawyers in practice got a lot of Bs in law school.

Regarding the question, "What should i do this summer?" (Though the OP did not specifically as that question!):

My own experience was that working for a law firm after 1L gave me experience an insight that taught me more about the practicality of working as a lawyer than the academic portion of 1L. You can find summer student positions by cold emailing; you do not need a formal recruit. Even for someone like @existentialdread with years of experience as a legal assistant, there are other fields of law that might be insightful. For example, if you used to be a family law clerk, you may be interested in what the life of a summer student in a criminal firm looks like, etc.

What it comes down to is whether you would rather make money this summer (than wait tables) or relax (then don't work anywhere) or make connections and expand your horizons (then summer somewhere). My understanding is the norm for "cold call" positions is to volunteer rather than demand a wage, and some kind of end of summer cash gift is common.

If you choose not to work in law, I wish you best of luck in 2L and the formal recruit!

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existentialdread
  • Law Student
On 1/20/2024 at 5:42 AM, SNAILS said:

First of all, I think people need to stop beating themselves up about getting Bs in law school. Statistically, most of the lawyers in practice got a lot of Bs in law school.

 

I too would like to think this, and I did think this, until I had a career advising apt last week that felt weirdly passive aggressive because the advisor talked to me like a B- average was the end of the world and I am unemployable now unless I pull As out of my ass at the end of the year. 

 

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, existentialdread said:

I too would like to think this, and I did think this, until I had a career advising apt last week that felt weirdly passive aggressive because the advisor talked to me like a B- average was the end of the world and I am unemployable now unless I pull As out of my ass at the end of the year. 

 

The thing is, you asked about what to do in the summer with “shitty” grades. Your grades are not shitty. They’re average - perhaps slightly below average depending on your school. But sitting at the top of the bell curve means you did better than 50% of students - and I don’t think 50% of students’ grades should be described as being shitty. Many students in your position get interesting 1L summer jobs in the legal field.

However, you also mention the 1L recruit and your advisor’s comments. I found law school advisors tended to be big law skewed because it was the most common target for students and fairly easy to give advice about. If you entered your meeting with your advisor asking about big law, their advice was not incorrect: you will likely struggle in the big law recruit with a B- average. Ultimately you just need one OCI to convert to one interview to convert to a job, and I knew students with lower grades that me that got OCIs at firms which I did not, so who knows. But you probably won’t get a ton of OCIs with average grades so your chances will be statistically lower.

You are absolutely not unemployable and I expect you were, to some extent, projecting your own fears into the advisor’s tone. If an average student was unemployable, we’d have a much more serious crisis in the Canadian legal profession than we do.

Work very hard to get better grades in second semester. But if you can’t, still put your best foot forward for the 2L recruit. If you end up with very few interviews, you can start considering career paths outside big law, which can be incredibly fulfilling, lucrative and prestigious - often more so.

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  • 2 weeks later...
existentialdread
  • Law Student

Hi all, 

I just wanted to pop in with a quick update. 

I decided to say fuck it and apply anyways. I managed to actually get invited to a couple interviews so everything's coming up millhouse!

Will I get a job? Doubt it. But does it feel good to prove to the career office that grades aren't necessarily everything? A little...

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sandibay
  • Law School Admit
On 2/5/2024 at 1:56 PM, existentialdread said:

Hi all, 

I just wanted to pop in with a quick update. 

I decided to say fuck it and apply anyways. I managed to actually get invited to a couple interviews so everything's coming up millhouse!

Will I get a job? Doubt it. But does it feel good to prove to the career office that grades aren't necessarily everything? A little...

Congratulations! I actually landed a ob in 2L recruit with a B- average, so you really never know. Fingers crossed you get a job this recruit!

Edited by sandibay
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LawNewbie
  • Law Student
On 2/5/2024 at 12:56 PM, existentialdread said:

Hi all, 

I just wanted to pop in with a quick update. 

I decided to say fuck it and apply anyways. I managed to actually get invited to a couple interviews so everything's coming up millhouse!

Will I get a job? Doubt it. But does it feel good to prove to the career office that grades aren't necessarily everything? A little...

Good to hear this! Best of luck with your interviews! I got B+ average last term, but ended up with 0 interviews! So you're actually in luck. I guess my original sin is I go to UBC, not an Ontario school 😀

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  • 2 weeks later...
existentialdread
  • Law Student

I ended up landing a recruit job folks!!!!!🤩

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