Terrible undergrad grades

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Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:13 pm

I'm at a T13 now, but my first semester of college I basically bombed out due to a host of personal reasons and took a medical leave. Should I even bother applying to federal clerkships? It seems like there's no way around listing your grade for each class in undergrad on OSCAR.

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beepboopbeep

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby beepboopbeep » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:00 pm

The vast majority of CoA clerkships I applied to did not require submitting an undergrad transcript. Even if you have one entered in OSCAR, the judges/clerks won't see it unless it's part of your application packet for that judge. You can see whether undergrad transcript is required in each judge's OSCAR listing.

Anyway, even if it doesn't pan out, all it cost you was time spent applying. No need to disqualify yourself in advance.

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mjb447

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby mjb447 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:50 pm

+1. Even the ones who look at your undergrad transcript/grades may just be asking to get a sense of your experience and to find out a little more about what makes you tick. Also, particularly if you ended up in a good spot (T13 with enough of a shot at clerking to bother throwing out some apps), many wouldn't hold a bad first semester of undergrad against you at all.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a T13 now, but my first semester of college I basically bombed out due to a host of personal reasons and took a medical leave. Should I even bother applying to federal clerkships? It seems like there's no way around listing your grade for each class in undergrad on OSCAR.

I bombed my state-school undergrad (include non-punitive D’s and F’s) and still managed to nab “prestigious” clerkships. I should note that, looking back, I was probably too conservative in that I didn’t apply to ANY judges that asked for undergrad transcripts because one of my judges ended up asking for it anyway before offering me an interview, and it obviously wasn’t dispositive. But I just applied mostly via paper apps and only to judges who didn’t seem to require undergrad GPAs and it worked out fine. More than enough DC/2d/9th/Sdny/DDC/ndca/cdca judges who dont require UGPA

I would go the paper route (so your application isn’t auto-sorted out in OSCAR) and insofar as you apply to judges who require UG transcripts (If you end up not being as conservative as I was), stick the transcript at the back of your application.

We got UG transcripts all the time during my clerkships and they never seemed relevant

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby GoldenPuppy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:12 pm

Someone I know very well, who clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, barely had a 3.00 and earned several Cs, Ds, and Fs in undergrad. Insanely high LSAT score. Graduated #1 in his or her law school class. Of course, they'd rather hire someone who nailed undergrad (rote memorization and essay writing) and nailed law school (application of rules plus slanting things and higher level writing), but doing well is law school is what's gonna carry the day. If you did well in law school, I would definitely apply.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:57 am

OP here, thanks for your feedback everyone, I’m glad to hear it!

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby momoney6801 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:44 pm

I am planning on taking a few community college classes in between college and law school to be patent bar eligible. When judges ask for UG transcripts, would I need to submit these community college class grades as well? FYI, I already have finished my UG degree.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:32 pm

momoney6801 wrote:I am planning on taking a few community college classes in between college and law school to be patent bar eligible. When judges ask for UG transcripts, would I need to submit these community college class grades as well? FYI, I already have finished my UG degree.

Former clerk here.

Use your discretion. A judge is not like the LSAC; if you don’t submit those transcripts, the chambers and judge will almost certainly never know about it. I don’t think any of my judges would have cared if they found out that someone took post-B.S. classes and didn’t submit them (likewise, my judges didn’t explicitly ask for M.A. transcripts). Maybe some judges/chambers would?

If I were in your shoes, insofar as an application required UG grades, I’d only submit all transcripts concerning my actual degree. I wouldn’t submit any non-degree seeking student transcripts; nor would I submit any grad school transcripts unless they asked for them (or the grades were just stellar and I wanted to bring them to the judge’s attention). But that’s just me. I’m sure someone may have a different opinion.

(FWIW my clerkship were in the “competitive” locations)

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:00 am

Requiring undergrad transcripts for anything other than patent law is dumb. Aside from the fact that the courses are generally not remotely relevant (and not uniform from school to school), a lot of law students have several gaps years between them and their undergrad mistakes. So, if you're going to ask a 35 year old law student to submit his undergrad transcripts, why stop there and not ask the K-JD law students to submit their high school and middle school transcripts as well? If you're going back ten years on some students, why not go back ten years on all of them? People are different in law school.

nixy

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby nixy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:04 am

Sure, but that doesn’t help anyone who’s applying to a judge who wants to see UG grades.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a T13 now, but my first semester of college I basically bombed out due to a host of personal reasons and took a medical leave. Should I even bother applying to federal clerkships? It seems like there's no way around listing your grade for each class in undergrad on OSCAR.

I bombed my state-school undergrad (include non-punitive D’s and F’s) and still managed to nab “prestigious” clerkships. I should note that, looking back, I was probably too conservative in that I didn’t apply to ANY judges that asked for undergrad transcripts because one of my judges ended up asking for it anyway before offering me an interview, and it obviously wasn’t dispositive. But I just applied mostly via paper apps and only to judges who didn’t seem to require undergrad GPAs and it worked out fine. More than enough DC/2d/9th/Sdny/DDC/ndca/cdca judges who dont require UGPA

I would go the paper route (so your application isn’t auto-sorted out in OSCAR) and insofar as you apply to judges who require UG transcripts (If you end up not being as conservative as I was), stick the transcript at the back of your application.

We got UG transcripts all the time during my clerkships and they never seemed relevant


Interesting, can you still send paper apps even if the application method for a judge listed on OSCAR just says "apply online"? Assuming of course the judge doesn't otherwise specify to NOT send paper apps.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
momoney6801 wrote:I am planning on taking a few community college classes in between college and law school to be patent bar eligible. When judges ask for UG transcripts, would I need to submit these community college class grades as well? FYI, I already have finished my UG degree.

Former clerk here.

Use your discretion. A judge is not like the LSAC; if you don’t submit those transcripts, the chambers and judge will almost certainly never know about it. I don’t think any of my judges would have cared if they found out that someone took post-B.S. classes and didn’t submit them (likewise, my judges didn’t explicitly ask for M.A. transcripts). Maybe some judges/chambers would?

If I were in your shoes, insofar as an application required UG grades, I’d only submit all transcripts concerning my actual degree. I wouldn’t submit any non-degree seeking student transcripts; nor would I submit any grad school transcripts unless they asked for them (or the grades were just stellar and I wanted to bring them to the judge’s attention). But that’s just me. I’m sure someone may have a different opinion.

(FWIW my clerkship were in the “competitive” locations)



Thanks for your help here. This is very helpful.

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Re: Terrible undergrad grades

Postby QContinuum » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:01 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:Requiring undergrad transcripts for anything other than patent law is dumb. Aside from the fact that the courses are generally not remotely relevant (and not uniform from school to school), a lot of law students have several gaps years between them and their undergrad mistakes. So, if you're going to ask a 35 year old law student to submit his undergrad transcripts, why stop there and not ask the K-JD law students to submit their high school and middle school transcripts as well? If you're going back ten years on some students, why not go back ten years on all of them? People are different in law school.

Presumably the judges are only taking a cursory glance to see if there are any "red flags." A little bit of excessive caution, perhaps, but hardly something warranting outrage (even a few law firms want to see undergrad transcripts, e.g., Cravath). I can't imagine any judge caring about whether someone's college GPA was 3.4 or 3.8.

College is different from grade school because folks are (generally) adults in college. There is much more of a cultural norm to discount things folks did as minors.



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