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Thread: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

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    Junior Member Constantine's Avatar
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    Question Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    Hi guys. I'm a thid year law student who is beginning to become concerned about my marks.

    Last year for the first time I failed a subject (47). It is a compulsory first year commerce subject but regardless I still can't help but feel worried. In my first year I was on a distinction GPA but last year was a rough year for me, including a car accident so I am currently on a credit average. My marks last year ranged from a fail to a credit, with three passes.

    I will be straight and say that I thought I could handle it, getting an alright ATAR and making it into law. However, to be completely honest, I haven't really truly studied in the past two years due to a combination of reasons. Lazy and being too greedy with work and uni involvement. I was working seven days a week with 2 part time and 1 casual and was involved in numerous university extracurriculum activties, including completing a marketing internship with a university department and getting several leadership roles in programs and societies. I am yet to have any jobs in the legal industry tho.

    I am determined to turn it around this year. Going to focus more on studies, sit down and get those marks. I am passionate about the legal industry and I want to practise law in the future so it's time to grow up and be smart about it and start making some smart choices and try harder.

    I want to be realistic about the future as well. If I want to get into a mid to big law firm, what are the marks I should be getting? Distinction GPA? Would one fail subject in a commerce first year unit impact negatively by a lot? I have quit all my jobs, keeping one to pay living expenses and hopefully replace it with a legal industry related on later this year but is it important to keep up with the extra activites from uni? Is it worth it when it pays off in marks?

    Any response is much appreciated.
    Ta thanks.
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    Moderator enoilgam's Avatar
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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    Having briefly worked in graduate recruitment for a top tier law firm, the field is extremely competitive and it isnt unusual to find candidates who are the total package in terms of marks, experience and personality. For law graduate programs especially with top tier firms, marks do count a lot more then they would in the commerce fields. If you want to land a role with a top tier firm, then you really need to be on a Distinction average to be competitive. A high credit average might be sufficient if you have strong ECs/work experience, but even then it will be an uphill battle.
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    Sleep Deprived Entity RivalryofTroll's Avatar
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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    By no means am I an expert with getting into mid-tier/top-tier law firms but Law firms 'basically' only care about your Law marks when it comes to assessing your academics (when they ask you to input marks, it's usually just your Law marks).
    This means a Distinction average Law WAM (i.e. 75+) tends to be a good starting point. That one fail for a Commerce subject shouldn't matter too much if your combined average GPA/WAM is okay.

    Still not too late to get legal experience. Third year is a decent time (basically you'd have 1-1.5 years of some legal experience before clerkship application season).

    Having seen my own Law marks suffer due to extracurricular activities and work experience, I think it just comes down to getting the right balance (or sacrificing sleep lol). Ultimately, work experience (whether it be legal or non-legal) and law marks will always be more important than any extracurricular activities (unless you're an executive or even better, the president of LawSoc). If you already have so many EC activities, it's best to keep them down to a minimum. I think it's great that you already have a marketing internship under your belt.

    As a side note, if you want to engage with some law firms early, I recommend that you check out some pre-penultimate programs since you're a third year now:
    - http://www.allens.com.au/careers/gra...vein/index.htm
    - http://www.utslss.com/education/mint...alent-pathway/
    - http://careers.kwm.com/en/graduates-...nsight-program
    If marks aren't your strong point, you can still give yourself an edge with early engagement with firms (i.e. the importance of networking).
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    Junior Member Constantine's Avatar
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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    Quote Originally Posted by enoilgam View Post
    Having briefly worked in graduate recruitment for a top tier law firm, the field is extremely competitive and it isnt unusual to find candidates who are the total package in terms of marks, experience and personality. For law graduate programs especially with top tier firms, marks do count a lot more then they would in the commerce fields. If you want to land a role with a top tier firm, then you really need to be on a Distinction average to be competitive. A high credit average might be sufficient if you have strong ECs/work experience, but even then it will be an uphill battle.
    Thank you for your reply especially since you have worked in the recruitment area. Much appreciated.
    2 O 1 4 : H S C (ATAR: 97.05) / / 2 O 1 5 : Business/Law at UTS
    Eng Ext. | History Ext. | Economics | Business Studies | Legal Studies

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    English Advanced(93), Ext (47), Bussiness (93), Economics (92), Modern History (95)
    Full access to notes and essay checks online during exam period - CLICK HERE

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    Junior Member Constantine's Avatar
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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    Quote Originally Posted by RivalryofTroll View Post
    By no means am I an expert with getting into mid-tier/top-tier law firms but Law firms 'basically' only care about your Law marks when it comes to assessing your academics (when they ask you to input marks, it's usually just your Law marks).
    This means a Distinction average Law WAM (i.e. 75+) tends to be a good starting point. That one fail for a Commerce subject shouldn't matter too much if your combined average GPA/WAM is okay.

    Still not too late to get legal experience. Third year is a decent time (basically you'd have 1-1.5 years of some legal experience before clerkship application season).

    Having seen my own Law marks suffer due to extracurricular activities and work experience, I think it just comes down to getting the right balance (or sacrificing sleep lol). Ultimately, work experience (whether it be legal or non-legal) and law marks will always be more important than any extracurricular activities (unless you're an executive or even better, the president of LawSoc). If you already have so many EC activities, it's best to keep them down to a minimum. I think it's great that you already have a marketing internship under your belt.

    As a side note, if you want to engage with some law firms early, I recommend that you check out some pre-penultimate programs since you're a third year now:
    - http://www.allens.com.au/careers/gra...vein/index.htm
    - http://www.utslss.com/education/mint...alent-pathway/
    - http://careers.kwm.com/en/graduates-...nsight-program
    If marks aren't your strong point, you can still give yourself an edge with early engagement with firms (i.e. the importance of networking).

    Thank you for this detailed response and to hear the thoughts of another law student!
    2 O 1 4 : H S C (ATAR: 97.05) / / 2 O 1 5 : Business/Law at UTS
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    PERSONAL PROMO: Tuition | Starting at $40/hr
    English Advanced(93), Ext (47), Bussiness (93), Economics (92), Modern History (95)
    Full access to notes and essay checks online during exam period - CLICK HERE

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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    Can honestly say as someone who's a third year lawyer, don't sacrifice your marks for part time employment. If your financial situation permits, get some volunteer experience, but beyond that, for the purpose of clerkships/grad jobs, marks are important.

    This is coming from someone whose marks were eh, but extracurricular and work experience was pretty good. I ended up doing alright but yeah.

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    Junior Member Jaxxnuts's Avatar
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    Re: Marks for legal employment - sacrificing results for work?

    I don't know whether or not this question has been asked yet but how important are marks in law (whether it's a HD WAM or a D WAM) considering that it is a competitive field? Do employers ever take into account your uni marks (considering the competitiveness of the field)?

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