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(Message started by: hamea77 on Jul 31st, 2006, 1:25pm)

Title: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by hamea77 on Jul 31st, 2006, 1:25pm
I just came across this message board and have found this to be very helpful.  Thanks to all who take the time and provide such valuable insight to people such as myself who are just entering the field.

I have a 3 part question but before I ask it, Id like to give you a brief background on my qualifications.

I have an undergraduate degree in ME from Cornell, have been working in software development for 6 years and just graduated from a 3rd tier law school in Boston that has a GREAT IP Program which is highly reputed with the local firms.  Since, I was attending law school in the evening it took me 4 years to finish law school. During the second year exams, I was assigned to a client project in South Dakota, which in turn, is reflected in my transcripts as straight C's for that year.  However, I made Deans List for all other years, won an award for a paper I wrote for my Advanced Copyright class and was part of a Patent Moot Court team.  I also passed the Patent Bar in October while I was in law school and working full-time.

I applied to several top firms for Summer Associate positions and made it to 2nd round interviews for every firm.  However, I did not get hired because of my second year grades.  I know that the grades were the sole reason behind the rejection letters because I was getting 2nd round interviews based on my resume and interview skills reviewing my transcripts.

My current employer knows that since I have graduated from law school and taken the bar, I'll be leaving soon.  But I dont have anything lined up yet and my bar results dont come out till November.  So with that background, here are my questions:

1) Do I have any chance of getting a job with a big law firm for patent prosecution/litigation considering my poor 2nd year grades?

2)  Is it worth applying to firms between now and November when you dont know whether you have passed the bar or not?

3)  I dont want to waste too much time at my current job doing non-legal work after law school.  If law firms are not an option, what is the next best alternative?

Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by Isaac on Jul 31st, 2006, 1:56pm

on 07/31/06 at 13:25:26, hamea77 wrote:
1) Do I have any chance of getting a job with a big law firm for patent prosecution/litigation considering my poor 2nd year grades?


I'm not sure I understand the grading system.  You have exams which cover an entire second year?  In any event, given that you've made the deans list 3 of 4 years, your 2nd year grades are obviously not telling the whole story.    When you look for real jobs, the focus won't be just on a few grades.


Quote:
2) Is it worth applying to firms between now and November when you dont know whether you have passed the bar or not?


Yes.  Apply for jobs regardless of whether or not you have bar results.


Quote:
3) I dont want to waste too much time at my current job doing non-legal work after law school. If law firms are not an option, what is the next best alternative?


Your initial question was about big law firms.  If they don't work out, then look at boutiques and other smaller law firms.    Maybe you can hook up with a solo.  Perhaps an experienced practioner who cannot handle software applications but is willing to review your mess.

IMO, starting a solo practice is *NOT* an option for someone who does not have at least several years of day to day prosecution experience.

Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by wallflower on Jul 31st, 2006, 2:22pm
Do large firms hire graduated law students for summer associate positions?  I haven't heard of that before.

It's not clear to me from your post when you gave the firms your transcript.  I would suggest being up front with a firm about your grades.  Don't wait until a post-second interview surprise -- that would indicate, at least to me, that you're trying to hide something.  Explain to them that the 2nd year was an anomaly and stress the stellar credentials from your first, third, and fourth years.

In any case, I second the suggestion to try the boutique firms.

Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by Isaac on Jul 31st, 2006, 2:44pm

on 07/31/06 at 14:22:36, wallflower wrote:
Do large firms hire graduated law students for summer associate positions? I haven't heard of that before.


I haven't either.  What did you take as asking about or descibing such a thing.


Quote:
It's not clear to me from your post when you gave the firms your transcript. I would suggest being up front with a firm about your grades. Don't wait until a post-second interview surprise -- that would indicate, at least to me, that you're trying to hide something.


I think what happens is that you apply for a summer associates position during the fall, and then the firms want to see your 1st semester grades when they come out.

It might be a good idea to give out the transcript information up front, but firms are not going to conclude that you are hiding something because generally they ask for your transcript at the time they want to look at it.  Some ask for it at the same time as your resume, while others ask for it only after you've made the first interview cut.    It might also depend on what academic information you have on your resume.  If your resume says you were the valedictorian at NYU, then a firm might not ask for your transcript until after they've made an offer.

Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by wallflower on Jul 31st, 2006, 3:10pm

on 07/31/06 at 14:44:56, Isaac wrote:
I haven't either.  What did you take as asking about or descibing such a thing.


The OP stated, "I applied to several top firms for Summer Associate positions and made it to 2nd round interviews for every firm."  In the previous paragraph he stated, "I...just graduated from a 3rd tier law school in Boston."  I continued the timeline from graduation to applying for summer associate positions.  Now that I read it again, it makes more sense that the OP is talking about what he did during law school with regards to the summer associate position.

In my experience, when people have a good reason for having bad grades one semester or one year, they usually like to bring it up during the interview as a way of "defending" themselves.  If they don't bring it up and send me a transcript after the interview, I get the impression that there is something hide.

Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by Isaac on Jul 31st, 2006, 4:07pm

on 07/31/06 at 15:10:37, wallflower wrote:
If they don't bring it up and send me a transcript after the interview, I get the impression that there is something hide.


Makes sense to me wally!


Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by Dr. V on Jul 31st, 2006, 7:27pm
Do grades reflect your ability to perform your job as a patent lawyer? I am not sure! I had seen many top exam crackers doing low quality work in big firms!  (by the way, I was one of those exam crackers!!).

Is there a "rational relation" between your grade in 3 hr final exam and patent lawyer tasks? Its just amazing that people (lawyers), without much thinking, ask questions on grades! Howabout his past performance of getting into Cornell's BSME progam! Does his fulltime software experience count?

I used to interview law students! I was looking for good attitude, presentability, totality of resume, track record of accomplishments (not just school grades), and interest in patent law!



Title: Re: Period Between July and Novemeber
Post by hamea on Aug 9th, 2006, 2:29pm
Thank you all for your responses.  Just to clarify, I was referring to applying for Summer Associate positions during law school, not after graduation.  

I agree with everyone with regard to being upfront about grades (I have never hidden my bad grades - just tried not to draw attention to something negative during the interview).  However, one of the partners during my second round of interviews flat out told me that he wouldn't have even called me for a first round had he seen my transcript ahead of time.  I used that opportunity to explain the circumstances and he seemed convinced at the time. But the end result was a rejection three days later.  It makes sense too, because if there is another person who does NOT have the problem of bad 2nd year grades, then why would they hire me over him.

Going forward though, I will send my transcripts with the initial submission but include my 'defense' in the cover letter itself.

But as Dr. V stated, doesnt my professional background, Cornell education, passing the patent bar and going to law school while working full-time count for anything?  Is there a way to get feedback from the people you interview with to see why you were rejected?  That will at least help the candidates figure out if its their interview skills that need work or their credentials.



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