1L Career Resources

First-year students are encouraged to review the resources below and to reach out to their Career Counselor with questions.

Meet the CSO Team


Application Materials


1L Grades

While law school grades are important, they do not define your career success. If you have questions or concerns about your academic record as it relates to securing summer legal employment, the CSO encourages you to review the information below and invites you to schedule an individualized counseling appointment if you would like to further discuss planning for your career goals.

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    If my grades are lower than I hoped, should I seek summer legal employment?

    All 1Ls in good academic standing are encouraged to seek summer legal employment. 1Ls who are not in good academic standing are encouraged to focus on achieving good academic standing and may benefit from pausing their search.


    If my grades are lower than I hoped, will there be opportunities available to me? Will a low grade or a certain GPA exclude me from pursuing some opportunities?

    Most employers do not set GPA requirements for applicants and instead conduct a holistic review of each applicant. While GPA is often a factor, employers recognize that many other factors are relevant to your ability to succeed in a position. For example, attention to detail, research and writing skills, problem solving skills, work ethic, and communication skills. To the extent an employer sets any requirements, students are expected to honor those requirements.


    Will a low grade prevent me from securing my first-choice summer career opportunity?

    Probably not. Employers are more likely to make note of your cumulative GPA. One low grade is likely to be more of a concern to you than to an employer. The CSO is available to speak with you about the specifics of your situation and coach you on how to best approach your situation and speak to your strengths.


    Do I need to address a low grade with an employer?

    Probably not. The CSO recommends focusing on your strengths. Unless specifically asked about a low grade, it’s usually not necessary or helpful to address low grades in cover letters, interviews, or otherwise.


    If an employer asks about a low grade, what is the best way to respond?

    All communications to employers should be positive and professional. Your explanation should acknowledge that the grade you received was the grade you earned—not the fault of the instruction or instructor. Your goal is to communicate that you identified areas of improvement, what you learned in light of that, and how you will use this as a growth opportunity for the future.

    Here are some examples:

    • Critical Lawyering Skills in Social Context is a new required 1L course focused on academic and practice skills. While I learned a lot in that course that will help me in law school and in practice, I struggled due to the online, asynchronous nature of the course. I didn’t understand the full requirements and it fell off my radar compared to my in-person classes. I now recognize the importance of intentionally prioritizing all classes. I also realize that as a future lawyer, it’s important for me to take the initiative to get the clarity I need to be successful with my work.
    • Applied Legal Theory and Analysis is the 1L legal research and writing course. I learned a lot in that course and look forward to continuing to build my skills this summer while contributing on work assignments. I scored high on the legal research assessments and needed to spend more time focused on my writing. Writing for my undergraduate program was very different than what was expected in law school, and it took me a little longer than I hoped to understand what was required of me for legal writing. I’ve worked with my professor to receive feedback and incorporated it into my writing sample, which I’m happy to provide, if that’s helpful to you in assessing the skills I would bring to this position.
    • Civil Procedure was a great class for me, but unfortunately, not a great exam. I did well on the assessments throughout the term, but had a misunderstanding about personal jurisdiction going into the final that I now understand following a conversation with my professor. I enjoy the subject and appreciate the importance of procedure to the practice of law.
    • Property was a challenge for me with respect to estates in land. I dedicated time to the course and appreciated the opportunity to learn about it, but recognize I was not as strong or interested in this class as others.

    How do I schedule an individualized counseling appointment to further discuss?

    Individualized career counseling is the best resource for students with concerns about how grades may impact their career opportunities. Students should email cso@udmercy.edu to request an appointment. Indicate that you would like to discuss grades as they relate to career opportunities for 1Ls. Students are also encouraged to consult the Academic Success Team.

Additional Information for 1Ls

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    Employment & Other Commitments During Law School

    Law school requires a significant time investment for success. Students should be realistic about their ability to succeed in light of employment and other commitments. It is important to do as well as you can academically, especially during the first year. Visit the Employment & Other Commitments During Law School page to learn more.


    CareerConnect Job Postings

    As a Detroit Mercy Law student and future alumnus, you will have access to CareerConnect to identify and apply for legal opportunities. Login with your Titan ID and password.

    Documents submitted to CareerConnect such as resumes, cover letters, and writing samples must conform generally to legal application standards and require CSO approval. Documents that are accurate, error free, and conform to legal industry expectations as reflected in the CSO templates are typically approved within two business days, depending on the volume of documents being uploaded to CareerConnect. Documents that require edits will take longer for final approval, so it is recommended that you upload documents for review at least one week before any deadline.

    CareerConnect Job Postings for Students


    On-Campus Interviews

    Employers may interview 1Ls on-campus during the winter term for paid positions beginning in the summer term. Your Career Counselor will notify you via your Detroit Mercy Law email if any such opportunities arise.

    Learn more about OCIs


    CSO Expectations of Student Representations

    Students are expected to be honest and accurate in all the information they provide to employers. Misrepresentations or distortions of information, orally or in writing, on a resume, writing sample, transcript, references, or other application materials or during an interview, whether or not the material passes through the CSO, may be the basis for a charge under the Detroit Mercy Law Honor Code. An Honor Code violation may also be reported to the State Board of Law Examiners in whatever state the student may sit for the bar exam.


    Employment Regulations for International Students

    Visit the International Students page for more information.


    If an employer requests a transcript, but does not explicitly request that it be official, you may use your unofficial transcript.

    • Log in > my.udmercy.edu
    • Self-Service – Student > Student Profile > Academic History
    • Confirm the Transcript Level is “Professional” and Transcript Type is “WEB Transcript” > Submit
    • This will take you to your unofficial transcript. Right click and select “Print”.
    • Change your printer destination from an actual printer to “Save as PDF”.
    • Use a reasonable name for the file, for example: firstlastlawtranscript
    • Use this saved PDF as your unofficial transcript.

    If an employer requests an official transcript, order it through the University Registrar’s Office on the McNichols Campus.

    Your GPA on your resume should match your GPA on your transcript.


    GPA, Rank, Dean’s List, Book Awards


    The GPA on your resume must be your official GPA as reflected on your transcripts. See the Academic Calendar (hyperlink) for when official grades will be released.

    • Include your law GPA on your resume if it is at or above 3.0. When you include your law GPA, you should include your undergraduate GPA if it is also above a 3.0.
    • Omit your law GPA from your resume if it is below a 3.0. When you omit your law GPA, your undergraduate GPA should also be omitted.

    Dual JD Program: Your Detroit Mercy Law transcript will include your Windsor Law grades converted to a 4.0 scale. Do not change or calculate your GPA on your own for resume purposes, even if you have received individual grades that are not yet factored into your cumulative GPA. Questions about grade conversions should be directed to the Law Registrar’s Office at lawregistrar@udmercy.edu.



    The Law Registrar releases ranks by program and division.

    Include your rank as a fraction on your resume if you are in the top 10 of a cohort over 50 students or in the top 3 of a cohort under 50 students. The numerator is your rank; the denominator is the cohort size.

    • GPA: 3.89 | Rank: 1/121

    Include a percentile ranking to give context to your GPA if you are in the top 25% or better. Use increments of five percent. To calculate your percentage, divide your rank by the total number in the cohort. Round up to a percentile increment. For example: 20/150 = 13.3%, which would be rounded up to top 15%.

    • GPA: 3.44 | Top 15%
    • GPA: 3.33 | Top 20%


    Dean’s List

    Include Dean’s List as a dot point under Detroit Mercy Law. If you earned this award, it will be reflected on your transcript. You do not need to include the term.

    • Dean’s List


    Book Awards

    Include Book Awards as a dot point under Detroit Mercy Law. Include the full and proper name of the course.

    • Book Awards: Contracts I, Applied Legal Theory and Analysis I