Grades are important to many law firms making hiring decisions. However, the weight that they carry in these decisions most often depends on the particular firm involved and whether you are (A) a junior attorney or law student, (B) a mid level to senior associate or (C) a partner. At each stage of your career, the importance of your law school grades will diminish and your work experience will take precedence in hiring decisions.
However, it is also worth noting that many prestigious firms are often willing to look at individuals who are stellar performers from schools that are not in the Top 10 or even the Top 25. The most prestigious firms are looking for excellence, and excellence in their minds begins the second you receive your first grades in law school, whether it is a first, second or third tier law school. Either you have it or you do not.
What third or even second tier school cracks the top 25?