1L Big Law Bound (Top 10 AmLaw Firm) - Tier 3 school, highest LSAT 163

fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
edited April 2021 in Law School Admissions 404 karma

Hi everyone!

I can't believe I am almost done with my 1L year. I remember the days where I felt like 7Sage was my digital home, so as 1L comes to a close, I wanted to hop on here from "the other side" to share where I am.

I remember when I was here on 7Sage, I felt like everyone was posting their 170+ journey and strategy and sharing their journeys from a subpar LSAT to a T14 school. I have so much respect for everyone who shared those stories, but I felt isolated because I could not connect with their journey and it gave me a bit of anxiety of whether I could be successful.

Since I feel like I don't fit the mold of someone who is heading into Big Law, I wanted to share my story.

Here are my stats:

  • Graduated undergrad 2011 from a top 5 school (GPA 3.0; no involvement in any extracurriculars)
  • Career in corporate marketing (client services organization), non-profit
  • Highest LSAT score 163
  • Current law school ranking 50-100
  • Selected for a 1L summer associate position at a top 10 AmLaw firm
  • Current law school GPA 3.5 (2 A's, 2 B's; we don't have +/-)

When they say they look at the holistic candidate profile, I feel like they mean it. My stats are not stellar compared to the average associate at my firm, but I have extensive corporate client services experience working (successfully) in a fast paced environment very similar to a law firm environment. Managing clients is a good chunk of your work as a lawyer in a Big Law firm. I also have stayed very engaged and involved in my community and corporate culture all throughout my life. My GPA is not at the top by any means, but I'm also doing Zoom school while caring for my two children during this pandemic, so I think overall, the hiring committee saw that I have the soft skills to succeed as a lawyer in an intense environment, because I have a proven track record of doing so.

For those who are interested in the nitty gritty, I'll leave some more specific details about my journey below. And of course, feel free to ask me anything!

Choice of Law School
I did not get into my "top choice" school, but this school is absolutely the right choice for me. So when the admissions roll on, don't fret no matter how disappointed you may feel. My stats are considerably higher than my peers, so I ended up getting a 70% merit scholarship. I cannot stress enough how much in hindsight this was such a wise move for me... I felt strongly that if I let my waitlist schools know that I would go no matter what with 0 financial aid, I would have a very, very good shot at getting in. However, I decided not to do that. To not have the burden of tuition hanging over my head gave me the freedom to consider ALL options. So many of my friends who came in for public interest are quickly pivoting to other career paths because it's not a financially sustainable choice for them. Also, I don't know how else to say this, without sounding arrogant, but my stats had indicated that my scholastic abilities were at least above average. I went to a top 5 undergrad, and I can definitively say that A's seem more attainable for me here than they did at my undergrad (this is NOT to say that law school is easy... it is challenging for sure!) Simply put, I would not have the grades I have now if I had gone to my top choice, much higher ranked school, especially because I have a family and I am not in a life stage where I can devote 100% of my time into caring for myself and my studies.

Network, Network, Network
Most Big Law firms hire one 1L summer associate through their diversity programs. I learned about this opportunity by attending a variety of virtual events and speaking with various attorneys. When time came for my interviews with the firm I am heading to, I had probably had 15+ 1:1 Zoom calls with both attorneys and recruiters that I was extremely comfortable talking about my resume and also being myself in an interview setting. Be proactive about reaching out to attorneys and recruiters for informational interviews and ask them to connect you to someone else (if it makes sense). Law firms keep a file on you and take note of which events you attended, who you have spoken with etc. Even though the 1L opportunity may not be open to all students since they tend to be diversity based, I know several upperclass students who received offers before OCI started because they networked successfully (5-10). For those who may not be familiar, OCI stands for on-campus interviews and it's the formal recruiting event for those interested in Big Law summer associateships.

Pivoting to Big Law
I did not set out to go to law school to get into Big Law. In fact, I applied to every public interest scholarship opportunity and thought I was going to become a prosecutor and particularly interested in criminal justice reform. I'm going into law school 10 years out of college, this was a very deliberate decision for me. So what changed? I attended a lot of career events at school and quickly learned that public interest did not necessarily align with my personal goals. I ultimately pivoted to Big Law because I realized that law firms are NOT like Suits (and it occurred to me that I had a very stigmatized impression of Big Law). The firms I developed interest in have very robust pro bono programs integrated into their practices, and I realized that I could make potentially a bigger impact by bringing my firm's name value and resources to causes and organizations I care about.

There is an entire world beyond admissions, and I want to break the stigma that in order to get into a top Big Law firm, you need to go to a T14 school. My school has about 50 summer associates heading to a variety of highly ranked Big Law firms; essentially almost everyone who wanted to go into Big Law got in. Our school has maintained amazing relationships with major firms, and our career director recently told us at a Big Law overview event that even though our school ranking trails behind other schools, we absolutely have a shot and a seat at the table. My school is located in a major Big Law hub, which I think helps. It's not always about the T14 or T20 or T50 (lol)... it's really about how much opportunity you create for yourself!


  • yunonsieyunonsie Member
    611 karma

    Thank you for sharing! This resonated with me (especially the family to care for) so this was encouraging to read.

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    @yunonsie of course! feel free to message me as well if you have any specific questions. I'm the only one in my class with a family so it's definitely a different experience compared to most

  • Granger DangerGranger Danger Alum Member
    717 karma

    This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes the T14 mentality can be really overwhelming.

  • jamw881619jamw881619 Core Member
    42 karma

    Grateful you made the decision and took the time to post this! I'm a mother of 2 as well trying to make a career change. Seeing you on the other side of the LSAT is motivation to continue. Truly! Thank you!

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    @"Granger Danger" said:
    This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes the T14 mentality can be really overwhelming.

    I had completely ruled out big law because I didn't get into a T14, and SURPRISE! it turns out T14 is truly not the only pathway to big law, and a reputable one at that :smile:

  • learn2skipQslearn2skipQs Member
    730 karma

    wow thanks superb post.

  • jaea6195jaea6195 Core Member
    67 karma

    I'm a mama of 2 changing careers from pharma sales. I may end up at a lower ranked program part time while working for financial reasons. This gives me a lot of hope. I'd love to do big law.

    Thank you so much for this.

  • joannechoices123joannechoices123 Free Trial Member
    2 karma

    yes thank you for sharing, My time is limited as I work full time and I have another semi full time job plus other personal commitments thank you for sharing it is so encouraging

Sign In or Register to comment.