QI am currently a 1L at a Tier 1 law school. I finishing my first semester and am very disappointed in how I did. My grades will not be respectable. I am determined to improve my grades, but given the exceptional nature of the students I am competing with, I am concerned that I may never climb out of the “lower 25%” basement that I will soon find myself in. So my question is twofold:
First, for those students who graduate from a Tier 1 law school and fall in the lower 25% of their class, can these individuals still obtain jobs at decent law firms in the summers and ultimately upon graduating? Basically, what happens to these people?
Second, I was given a full ride to a Tier 3 and turned it down in order to attend the Tier 1. Thoughts of transferring schools have entered my mind. I assume I would be ranked higher in my class at the Tier 3 compared to my current Tier 1. For hiring purposes, would law firms prefer someone in the lower 25% of their class at a Tier 1 school or the top 33% of their class at a Tier 3? I understand that I am only in my first year and that it is early to jump to conclusions, but I was hoping to gain some insight into how law firm hiring practices relate to class rank. Thank you so much.
AShut up and do better. (I say that with kindness in my heart.) Transferring from a T1 to a T3 because you’re intimidated by the students at your T1 is dumb. It just is.
Law firms like smart, ambitious, competitive people. They don’t like people who transfer to T3 schools because they’re afraid of smart, ambitious, competitive people. Now, if money is an issue and you don’t want to incur any law school debt, transferring to a lower-ranked school is not totally crazy. It’s not smart, but it’s at least a rational, if not strategically sound, move. But, if you do transfer, you better graduate in the top 5% of your class—and that’s not easy. I don’t care if it’s the worst school in America, it’s tough to graduate in the top 5%. Ask me, it’s a lot easier to graduate in the top 50% of a T1, which to most employers is roughly the same thing.
But remember this: When you’re walking down the hallway at Sullivan & Cromwell, and the snobby Partner asks, “Where’d you go to law school?” He doesn’t ask, “What was your class rank?” So my advice would be to stay put at your T1 school, study harder and do better.