Do good grades get the job?

I found this blog post about unpaid internships Above the Law blog and it got me thinking about credentials and whether your GPA will give you an edge in getting hired as a paralegal. I’ve been working hard to keep my GPA high, but I noticed that other students in the paralegal studies program at Colorado Technical University attend class about half the time and are shopping for shoes or browsing Facebook during class. Participation in online forums is an important part of these law classes and some students don’t participate in those either. Yet, their framed degree hanging on the wall will look exactly like mine. So, am I’m busting my butt for nothing?

I worked for a law firm in Minneapolis in the early 1980s and remember how law firms used to compete to hire law students from Harvard or Duke University. They wanted the brightest and the best students as law clerks, and waited patiently as they studied to pass the bar exam and then proudly added their name on the letterhead as attorneys.

Does this still happen today? Will getting good grades give me an edge in the hiring process? I hope so.

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2 Responses to Do good grades get the job?

  1. Corporate Paralegal says:

    As a professor in a paralegal program and a working paralegal involved in the hiring of other paralegals, I can tell you, without a doubt, that grades do make the difference. But attitude makes more of a difference. In class, I see who is working hard and who is shopping for shoes. When you apply for a position with a local law firm, they will contact me (or other professors) and I will tell them the truth (good/bad student, attentive or shoe-shopping). I always tell my students that classroom time with me is not just about learning what I teach. It is also an ongoing job interview. I have told many potential employers about a students behavior. And have recommended C students over A students because of attitude. In that case, the grades worked in the opposite, but the attitude was key.

    Keep going to class and working hard. Keep participating in online discussions in a thoughtful and meaningful way. That will help you to get good grades but it will also get you noticed – in a good way.

    • Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I can see how attitude could make a difference in hiring a paralegal. Even though I haven’t graduated, I can recognize which students are truly interested in the law. They participate in class and ask well thought-out questions. I’ll continue to do my very best in each class. I appreciate you letting me know that my hard work will pay off!

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