Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What About the 1L's?

This thread is highly related to the one immediately below, but probably worth keeping distinct. It solicits alumni who are on or have an inside angle with their firm's hiring committee, and asks: what about the 1L's? How, if at all, do you think your firm will adjust its hiring plan for this fall? How do you think 2009's 2L applicants to your firm will fare in comparison to 2L's from 2008?

There is a lot of gloom-and-doom information out there, and the last six months on ATL and related sites have seen an incredible development of what I suppose is called "conventional wisdom." While conventional wisdom (a phrase which may or may not be an oxymoron) is useful, I'd like to add something concrete to the mountains of speculation, but tugging on the coats of our alumni for a moment.

I think alumi thoughts would be particularly helpful to the class of 2011. The 1L's have been through a lot in the last year: twelve months ago they were still deciding to go to law school, six months ago they were figuring out what a "holding" is and whether they should join a journal, two months ago they were in full-panic mode for Spring OCIP and PIPS Day. Understandably, for each of these decisions they relied heavily on others' advice.

Fall OCIP is a similarly monumental and advice-driven affair. It's close enough that at least some firms must be thinking about their needs -- if you have the ability, please consider giving some much-needed context to the class of 2011's next staggering and totally foreign decision.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will happen to the current 1Ls during fall OCIP really depends on whether the economic outlook improves. We only took 5 summers for 2009 compared to 10 for 2008 in our office. If the economy remains as it is, I don't expect we'll take more than 5 again.

3/17/2009 9:06 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

The other real unknown for 1Ls is how many current 2Ls (and then 3Ls) they'll be competing with for jobs in the fall. If we all think we're getting offers this summer, we're dreaming.

3/17/2009 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would advise 1Ls to try for low leveraged and high profit firms such as Williams & Connolly, Munger, Keker, and irell.

3/17/2009 10:32 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Yeah, I'd advise 1L's to throw in the towel and work at Williams & Connolly, Munger, Keker, or Irell, too. In this economy, there's no sense in being overly ambitious, right?


3/17/2009 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for this post. Here's another question that I'd like someone to address, if possible: does the current economic situation affect the job prospects of only the bottom of the 1L class, or should people in the top 1/3 or so also be worried?

3/17/2009 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone should be worried to some degree, but people at the top of the class always have more options.

Bottom line: No one has any f-ing idea what is going to happen.

3/17/2009 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're in the top third of your class, and you aren't on law review, you may still justifiably be worried.

3/17/2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:56 is full of sh*t.

3/17/2009 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:56 is full of sh*t.

3/17/2009 12:00 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

If you're in the top third of your class, and you aren't on law review, and you're not omniscient, you may still justifiably be worried.

There, fixed it for you.

3/17/2009 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please. I doubt it's a coincidence that 11:56 makes law review seem mandatory right around the time CLR is starting it's recruitment/ information sessions. It's a different ball game at Boalt and the law review isn't the same kind of ticket to a job it is at other schools. Don't make 1Ls panic just to up your recruitment.

3/17/2009 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody who's compared the CLR website (http://californialawreview.org/) to that of any of its peer journals (for example, http://virginialawreview.org/index.php, http://www.michiganlawreview.org/), can tell almost immediately that CLR is not that serious of a journal. Any employer who stumbled across that website would never guess that this is the sixth most cited legal journal in the country. As a current CLR member, I'm embarrassed!

3/17/2009 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a great post on this over at the Berkeley Law Blog. Oh. . . . wait, nevermind.

3/17/2009 12:45 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

12:45 makes the post of the week.

3/17/2009 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who graduated years ago and is now on the other end of law school recruiting, I would have to disagree with the comments made about CLR. Law Review is Law Review. This idea that CLR is somehow less rigorous or less respected than Law Reviews at other schools because grades aren't factored into the admissions process is ridiculous. Please research the law review admissions process for the other top ten schools before making statements based primarily off of speculation. I am not aware of any law review at any top ten school that does not admit most, if not all, of its members by using a write-on competition that does not factor in grades. Yes, there are some schools that reserve a certain number of spots for students who finish within a certain percentage of their class, but no, there are not any (good) schools that do not have a write-on competition. Will law review be your ticket out of straight p-ville? Probably not, but it won't be of any less help to you than it would be at another school. The reality is, the people who will be interviewing you are not as familiar with the ins and outs of every organization at every school. They will stick to the basics. Did you make good grades? check, Did you make law review? check. That's it. The process takes about 1.2 seconds. No one is comparing and contrasting the websites of different journals, or poaching the student body to find out what the real deal is. So if you want to try out for CLR, try out, if you don't, don't. But I would hate to see someone not do it solely because a fellow student chose not to do it and convinced them to follow their lead (likely so he/she can feel better about their own decision). You should not confuse the fact that you can be successful without law review, with the fact that it still is a plus.

3/17/2009 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put law review in the "can't hurt, might help" category. But I can attest that in my experience, not doing it does not preclude you from much of anything, including an appellate clerkship. Do it if you want to, if you don't, don't. There.

3/17/2009 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know what else is really helpful? The employment and plaintiff-side career panel tomorrow at lunch time in 170. It'll be the room with all the sushi.

(Yes, I realize it's in the BBB, thanks.)

3/17/2009 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(It's probably cross-posted on the Berkeley Law Blog, too.)

3/17/2009 4:47 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"Can't hurt, might help" is a fair assessment of CLR. Emphasis on "might." If you have good grades and are involved in something you can talk competently about during an interview, you're in as good shape as anyone else. If you have less than good grades or aren't involved in anything, CLR could prove a bit of a lifesaver. Everyone at every firm I've talked to says it's not the golden ticket it used to be, though. Also, a high-profile position on a "lesser" journal should prove at least as strong on the resume. The key is to do something you are good at and passionate about, and to sound really smart/competent when you tell them about it at OCI.

3/17/2009 6:59 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

As for the 1L hiring situation, I think nobody knows anything. I spoke with a partner at a firm about my prospects, and was told there hasn't been a hiring situation like this in 50 years, and no one really has any idea what to do about it. OCI is going to be pretty interesting. In the meantime, all 1Ls (or any of us) can do is keep working, build the resume, and pursue the jobs we want. If we don't get them, we'll just open a comic shop or something. Who's in?

3/17/2009 7:02 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I agree with everything Dan said, except "involved in something" should read "involved in a journal." I know of multiple employers who didn't like me because I wasn't on a journal. (No, I'm not speculating - I saw 'Journal?' written in the margins of my resume during at least three of my screening interviews.)

3/17/2009 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have ANY interest in clerking after law school (maybe a good way to ride out a bad economy), CLR is a good decision. For clerking, it seems like CLR will help, and lack of CLR will hurt. Sad but true.

3/17/2009 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a member and I think it really helped during OCIP. Did it make or break me, no, but is certainly helped. I always say it marked on my resume. My friends on other journals did not have the same experience. They still did fine in OCIP. That is a testament to the fact we go to Berkeley, not to the quality or importance of journal membership, I think.

3/17/2009 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second 11:52. CLR is important for clerking. If you don't make CLR, get heavily involved in a secondary journal.

I found that lack of CLR didn't hurt for OCIP.

3/17/2009 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant "7:52" not "11:52"

- 8:06PM

3/17/2009 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deep involvement as an RA is also a good path to a clerkship. It will get you a heartfelt recommendation and may open all sorts of doors as you delve deeply into an area of law.

3/17/2009 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the RA suggesstion. It's an untapped tool.

3/17/2009 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at a firm of the "Williams & Connolly, Munger, Keker, or Irell" type. In a good economy, I got multiple offers from this group even without CLR. HOWEVER, not doing CLR did hurt me somewhat during clerkship interviews. My advice is: just fucking do it. The economy's bad, and it would be unfair to yourself not to try to give yourself every possible advantage.

3/17/2009 11:12 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yeah, I agree CLR is important for clerkship opportunities. Why? Because judges are mostly old and only remember the days when any "secondary" journal was kind of a joke.

And Matt, funny you should mention, because I replaced the word "journal" with "something" to avoid offending any non-journal groups. But you're right, editing experience is important, and a journal is pretty much the only place to get it.

3/18/2009 12:12 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

This is off topic and definitely the subject of another posts, but journals are single-handedly destroying legal writing.

3/18/2009 12:16 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

There must be a word for the feeling you get when you are embarrassed for someone else.

What is it?

3/18/2009 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember that firms will be hiring this year's 1Ls for the fall of 2011. That's a really long ways off. I know my firm felt they really messed up by being way understaffed during the recovery period after the dotcom recession because they didn't have the capacity to take on new opportunities, and I doubt that they'll make that same mistake again. Orrick, Latham, Morgan Lewis, and others who are deferring 3Ls for a full year probably won't be doing a lot of hiring, but as McWho mentioned above, there are lots of firms out there and many are still doing ok. Certainly this recession is different, but I really think that 1Ls are going to do fine in OCIP.

3/18/2009 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're forcing our summers from last year to defer for until 2010 and suspending our summer program, thus we won't be recruiting at all next fall, and, probably, for the foreseeable future.

3/18/2009 5:06 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I didn't mean to suggest by any means that you're screwed if you're not on a journal, either. (I still got me a job.) But there are some employers - I won't name names - who appear to apply it as a threshold criteria.

And my theory is not that it's the editing experience, necessarily. (I had plenty of that outside of the journal context, which is part of the reason I wasn't on a journal.) My theory is that the hierarchies imposed by journals and the type of work they do compares well to the types of work done by early associates at law firms. Of course, I'm speculating based on hearsay about both.

3/18/2009 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this might be silly, but can you join a journal as a 2L?

3/18/2009 8:28 AM  
Blogger McWho said...

Yes. Just like Law Review, you can join as a general member as a 2L, and be a Board member as a 3L. Or you can be like one 3L I know and join your third year as a Board member with no prior experience whatsoever.

3/18/2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This CLR debate comes down to two groups of people:

1. People that didn't try out for CLR that want to rationalize not attempting the write-on

2. People that are on CLR that want to rationalize spending hours of their precious youth staring at a computer screen solving editing problems such as whether "regardless" and "irregardless" mean the same thing.

3/18/2009 11:24 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

They are synonyms, right? Regardless and irregardless?

3/18/2009 11:25 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I will physically remove people's limbs for using irregardless. You've been warned.

3/18/2009 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Warren said...

Don't forget Moot Court and other BoA activities! It can only help too.

Tryouts start the week of April 20th.

3/18/2009 11:29 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Um, I didn't do the CLR write-on, and have spent quite a bit of time thinking thinking about irregardless. In which group do I belong?

3/18/2009 11:30 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

People, people. The 1Ls are here looking for advice. Not for our banter.

(By the way, I do not support the use of the plural-apostrophe-s for 1Ls. Is there a rule for that? Now I'm going to answer my own question: the Purdue OWL - my source of authority for these things, since they are one of the best writing labs in the nation - says sort of. Here it is: "Apostrophes are used to form plurals of letters that appear in lowercase; here the rule appears to be more typographical than grammatical, e.g. "three ps" versus "three p's." To form the plural of a lowercase letter, place 's after the letter. There is no need for apostrophes indicating a plural on capitalized letters, numbers, and symbols (though keep in mind that some editors, teachers, and professors still prefer them).")

3/18/2009 11:36 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Well, irergardless of what Armen says about you or your limbs (which is an idle threat, by the way -- the guy can't even open a pickle jar without hot water and a towel), "irregardless" is a word (pdf). It's just an ugly, stupid, worthless one.

Avoid it for the sake of your dignity, not some half-baked threat from a diet coke drinking BigLaw associate from LA.

3/18/2009 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're here talking about useless things (N&B's modus operandi)

I'd just like everyone to know that my favorite word is acquiesce.

What is yours?

3/18/2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

Irregardless (and apparently the Idaho spelling is "irergardless") is as much a word as arguendo. Sure, you're welcome to use it. But in this economic climate, are you willing to risk your job over it? Guess who's reviewing your nifty little summer associate memo while sipping on Diet Coke.

3/18/2009 11:49 AM  
Blogger Toney said...

I've always liked facetious, because of the whole "all vowels in alphabetical order" thing.

Arsenious also qualifies, but I would be surprised if anyone has ever used it in a sentence.

3/18/2009 11:52 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Guess who's reviewing your nifty little summer associate memo while sipping on Diet Coke.

Um, I would guess the same hiring partner who bought the diet coke, but the sentence didn't end with a question mark. That makes it an imperative, but I don't take orders from limp-wristed pickle eaters.

Note that Armen maintains a word can simultaneously not exist, AND have a correct spelling. It's like admitting you know nothing about the economy or the weather, but using phrases like "economic climate." How very yuppie. How very Los Angeles.

3/18/2009 11:57 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Oh, and Matt. 1L is essentially an acronym for first year law student. Like every other MLA (multi-letter acronym) it is pluralized with an apostrophe.

3/18/2009 12:06 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

That makes it an imperative, but I don't take orders from limp-wristed pickle eaters.

What a strange statement from someone who writes daily love letters to Steve Jobs on a white laptop.

3/18/2009 12:07 PM  
Blogger Toney said...

Patrick's laptop is as black as his sense of humor. Or as a winter Idaho sky. Or as my toast (which I forgot about).

3/18/2009 12:09 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Actually, it's a black laptop, Armen. While identical to the white ones, they cost a few hundred bucks more, and are therefore several million times more stealthy cool. While I'm not surprised to hear that stealthy coolness is a foreign concept to you, I'd be glad to help.

Perhaps we can begin with your car or your soda habits?

3/18/2009 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous-haters, nice way to frustrate a potentially useful thread.

3/18/2009 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an effort to return to the "useful" discussion of CLR, I will add my sample size = 1 observation that my firm didn't seem to care that I was on CLR, and cared even less that I was an editor. Other firms care more/less depending on the particular experiences/biases of the interviewer. And one appellate partner at a very well-respected firm told me that when he was at Boalt, he actively campaigned to get get rid of CLR because all the law review folks were such bastards.

3/18/2009 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:31 is right. Even within single firms, interviewers vary enormously. Some will prioritize CLR; some will prioritize most schools' flagship journals but think CLR doesn't count; others will ignore journal work entirely.

Can't Hurt Might Help. But if you actively don't want to do it, don't, and don't worry about it.

3/19/2009 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a top position on a non-CLR journal and I'm sure it helped me get a job as a 3L job hunter. Nearly everyone who interviewed me commented on it.

3/21/2009 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2005 grad here.

I was on a journal and did moot court - and despite my "eh" grades managed to get a pretty great job - which I think had a lot to do with those activities. So - whether it something you "want" to do or not, you need every advantage possible these days so why would you put yourself out of the running at the "journal necessary" firms??

As to the original question...I'm not a hiring partner, but my gut feeling? Good luck out there 1Ls, it ain't pretty.

3/23/2009 8:04 PM  
Anonymous nisha said...

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10/31/2010 10:12 PM  

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