Real talk: how screwed am I?

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theswisswereright

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Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby theswisswereright » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:32 pm

I’m a 2L at a school that bounces back and forth between low tier 1 and high tier 2 year to year. I’m in the top 15% of my class, 23rd ranked, and I’m in a leadership position on a journal (although not Law Review). 1L summer, I clerked with a state court judge and a midsize firm in a rather weird/offbeat legal area of my home state— I had a lot of trouble with 1L OCIs, so I took what I could get.

I come from a blue collar family (so I have no lawyers to ask for advice). Our career office was entirely useless and nonresponsive for the last couple of years (they’ve acknowledged this), and although they’ve done some restructuring lately, it hasn’t gotten much better. All of this is to say that I didn’t know, and had no way of finding out, that most firms started hiring for 2L summer in July. I was forced to miss the big on-campus OCI because my internship hadn’t ended and was hours away. I emailed every employer I was interested in apologizing for my absence/offering to do a phone interview or come in at most a week later, but no luck there.
I attended an OCI program in New York, and although I got some screeners, I didn’t get any callbacks.

I wallpapered every area of the country I’d even consider working in with applications, including my home city, but got rejections and no-answers. The dream was to work at one of the Delaware Big 4, and I ended up interviewing at two of them— for one, I caught the flu the day before, so it didn’t go very well; for the other, I thought it went extremely well, and was told I’d hear back a week later, but didn’t hear anything until I emailed a month later to check in and received a rejection dated the same day of my email. The broader dream was some variety of Biglaw, somewhere, which some of my classmates managed, but alas, not I.

I’ve managed to secure paid work for the second half of my summer, but it’s with a large firm in a smaller town (I’d say it’s the tertiary legal market in my state). I do not want to work there, and I don’t think they have the resources to hire from their summer program anyway. I’m working as hard as I can to fill the first half of my summer (OCI, mass mail again, in-house applications), but it’s looking pretty bleak from here.

I’ve applied for a post-school clerkship with the Delaware Court of Chancery, because I guess I don’t know when to quit, but I’m not holding out hope there.

At this point, I’m doing OCI again, and not getting much interest even among local employers who say they want highly ranked 2Ls. One interview that I thought went well hasn’t gotten back to me in weeks, and I just got out of one today that a) apparently doesn’t hire from its program, and b) the interviewer clearly didn’t like me, so that was discouraging. My so-called career counselor made it incredibly clear that she doesn’t think I have any prospects outside the state, and I am desperate to leave here (bad economy, bad weather, bad people). That’s really why I’m sitting here writing this post.

How screwed am I? Can you ever start at smaller-market mid law and lateral up/out of state? Is it ever possible to break into Biglaw if you didn’t start there? Are there any even reasonably decent firms that hire recent grads? Would getting a federal clerkship in the area I want to live/work help (my school is known for getting people clerkship)? Should I just pack it in and shoot myself now, or is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Is there any way out of this labyrinth of suffering?

Your honesty is appreciated. Thank you for reading.

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rowingmyboat

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby rowingmyboat » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:41 pm

Sounds like a good clerkship is your best option here as it gives you another bite at the application apple. I'd apply to a ton if I were you. Read up on the process on this site since it sounds like your career services is useless. Hard to tell from your post, of course, but it seems like you might need to brush up on your interviewing skills too if your screener:callback ratio is bad.

theswisswereright

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby theswisswereright » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:04 pm

rowingmyboat wrote:Sounds like a good clerkship is your best option here as it gives you another bite at the application apple. I'd apply to a ton if I were you. Read up on the process on this site since it sounds like your career services is useless. Hard to tell from your post, of course, but it seems like you might need to brush up on your interviewing skills too if your screener:callback ratio is bad.


Yeah, I’m meeting with my school’s clerkship expert next week— not CDO, just really involved with it for some reason. My screener to callback ratio has been really weird— have you ever walked into a screener and you just know you’re only there to fill a slot, and they already know they’re not looking to hire you? That’s happened to me a lot. I’ve been praised heavily on my interview skills by a couple firms, including the Delaware firm that didn’t hire me, so I’m not sure what exactly is going on.

I’ve seen online that several bigger firms hire clerks as entry level, which sounds pretty good to me. Thanks for your advice on this. I’m feeling vaguely better.

lawhopeful100

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby lawhopeful100 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:32 pm

I agree with the above advice on clerkship, but just wanted to say that big picture you should be fine. I'm a year and a half into practicing (approaching two years out from graduation) and almost all my friends have landed on their feet doing something decent. I went to a T1 regional school ranked 30-40 or so btw. It might seem really stressful now, but just keep an eye out for openings and keep applying places. Worst case, you may have to graduate without an offer, but some places will post openings that summer and after bar results come back. In sum, just keep hustling and try not to stress about it too much. With regards to your question about starting at a smaller firm and working your way up, I had similar grades and struck at large firms in my market. I started at a small firm in a niche litigation area and just lateraled to a large firm, so it can definitely happen, and having the grades to be competitive will be helpful, but a lot will depend on what type of law you practice and whether those skills will be transferable. Good luck.

1styearlateral

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:24 pm

theswisswereright wrote: Can you ever start at smaller-market mid law and lateral up/out of state? Is it ever possible to break into Biglaw if you didn’t start there? Are there any even reasonably decent firms that hire recent grads? Would getting a federal clerkship in the area I want to live/work help (my school is known for getting people clerkship)?

Yes.

theswisswereright

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby theswisswereright » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:04 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
theswisswereright wrote: Can you ever start at smaller-market mid law and lateral up/out of state? Is it ever possible to break into Biglaw if you didn’t start there? Are there any even reasonably decent firms that hire recent grads? Would getting a federal clerkship in the area I want to live/work help (my school is known for getting people clerkships)?

Yes.


Is that a general yes, to all of the above? Or just about the clerkships?

1styearlateral

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:17 pm

theswisswereright wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
theswisswereright wrote: Can you ever start at smaller-market mid law and lateral up/out of state? Is it ever possible to break into Biglaw if you didn’t start there? Are there any even reasonably decent firms that hire recent grads? Would getting a federal clerkship in the area I want to live/work help (my school is known for getting people clerkships)?

Yes.


Is that a general yes, to all of the above? Or just about the clerkships?

To all. You're top 15% of your class you're going to be just fine. Just have to hustle, that's all. I went to a much worse school than you and no one in the top 25% of my class was jobless by September after the July bar.

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Nagster5

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby Nagster5 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:57 pm

theswisswereright wrote:have you ever walked into a screener and you just know you’re only there to fill a slot, and they already know they’re not looking to hire you? That’s happened to me a lot.


Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy. No one screens candidates for fun, you're there because they want to hire someone and you're qualified based on your resume. Once you're at the callback, it's mostly about fit. Never walk in thinking you don;t have a shot. It's both counterproductive and wrong.

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:57 am

Some of the DE Big 4 do substantial 3L hiring (RLF especially), so you still have a shot there. I also agree w/ other posters re: applying to every clerkship possible

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:14 am

I know people from my school (T1) who made it to big law for litigation (without having the grades to do it initially) by doing->clerkship->big law litigation and another by doing LLM->tax practice->big law transactional. Both of these seem like feasible options if you are top 20% or so.

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Some of the DE Big 4 do substantial 3L hiring (RLF especially), so you still have a shot there. I also agree w/ other posters re: applying to every clerkship possible


How does one go about applying as a 3L? Same way as for 2L summer, but obviously with a different cover letter? And should I apply to them considering that they all rejected me (two from the resume collect and one from an interview)? My stats have improved and I've taken more relevant classes, so maybe that will help.

Also, thank you for telling me this. I was hoping that was possible.

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Re: Real talk: how screwed am I?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:25 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I know people from my school (T1) who made it to big law for litigation (without having the grades to do it initially) by doing->clerkship->big law litigation and another by doing LLM->tax practice->big law transactional. Both of these seem like feasible options if you are top 20% or so.


I did consider trying to do the tax LLM, but I have a LOT of debt from law school, even with a scholarship. I'm going to do my best to get a clerkship and go from there. Thank you!



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