Did you have less than stellar grades in law school? How do you overcome that and find the job you're hoping for?
Overcoming Mediocre Grades
Q: What is the best way to overcome mediocre grades from a less than top tier law school? Despite having significant practical experience and a proven track record of excelling in real life legal work, I am struggling to catch the eye of the types of firms I like.
A: If you do indeed have a proven track record, you should be able to take advantage of it by networking with your contacts in the profession. Be honest with them and tell them about your not so illustrious past. Show them, by your record, that the past is not the present. Hopefully, they will go to bat for you when their firms hiring attorney raises the specter of your past. The support of your peers is absolutely critical; make sure that you develop that support by networking and making sure they are aware of your track record.
Big Firm, Big Pay...But Not So Good Grades
Q: I recently graduated from a law school in the Midwest (3rd-tier) and my grades were not very good. I am living in Virginia (I just took the VA bar in July) and I have no idea as to how to find a job in the DC Metro area. I would like to practice law, anything but litigation. I would love a job at a big firm with big pay and long hours, but that seems unlikely based on my grades and law school reputation.
A: I encourage every career candidate to pursue vigorously exactly the type of employment most desired. However, to be realistic, in view of your academic record, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment if you seek only positions at a big firm with big pay and long hours. Such positions certainly exist, but they are extremely competitive in the Washington, D.C. area. Since you just took the Virginia bar, I would urge you to consider pursuing contacts at small to medium firms in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. Your chances will be better there, and you are less likely to become demoralized before you find a job. The secret to finding a job in this context is to network, network, network, and to pursue all options.