Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

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bowmanbl
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Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby bowmanbl » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:54 pm

I am currently a student at Oregon State University. I have a 4.0 but have not taken the LSAT. I'm putting together a list of law schools I will apply to with the hopes of landing a job at a large law firm in either Seattle or Portland. Since I don't know my LSAT it is hard to say what my chances will be so I included top 10 schools as well as regional. My order is based on giving me the best chances to get a job a large Northwest law firm.

1. Stanford
2. Harvard
4. Columbia
5. University of Washington
6. Cal Berkley
7. UCLA
8. University of Michigan
9. Lewis and Clark
10. University of Oregon
11. Seattle University


Is this a reasonable order?

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RVP11
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby RVP11 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:57 pm

YHS, probably Stanford with an edge above the others

Rest of T14, probably Berkeley with an edge above the others

UCLA

UW

Seattle/L&C/Oregon

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ConMan345
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby ConMan345 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:58 pm

I'd agree with the above, other than UW probably beats UCLA in Seattle.

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Paratiel
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby Paratiel » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:11 pm

This is a futile effort without an LSAT score; however, assuming you get a high score, I would recommend that you amend the list a bit.

First, any school in the top ten will allow you to return to the NW, especially if you have ties to the area. I am most familiar with UVA, but they definitely have a strong presence and a very committed alumni base. I would add them to the list, unless you have a personal dislike for the school.

Second, I would not rank UW above any school in the top ten. Do not forget that all of the 180 students in a UW class want big law in Seattle, but the firms are only going to care about the top percentiles. If you are in the top 10% at UW, the whole market is yours. Anything less, and you become a cheap commodity. Also, UW has not always had a stellar reputation in the region. I recently spoke with a high-level attorney in the city who said that a couple decades ago UW grads were considered sub-par. Poor reputations die hard, so the people making current hiring decisions at BigLaw firms might still hold such a bias.

Third, the last three on your list (LC, UO, SU) are really constrained schools. I would personally avoid them if you want the optimal shot at BigLaw, especially Seattle U. Seattle is a metropolitan market that attracts a lot of people from top schools and SU's reputation is light years behind UW's. It would not be a sound investment, unless you really do not care about what kind of law you practice.

This is just my two cents. I also intend to practice in Seattle and have chosen a t10 over UW simply because 1) I have very strong ties to the city (which matters a great deal in hiring decisions), and 2) I become a more interesting hire than the all too common NW law school grad.

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Paratiel
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby Paratiel » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:33 am

Irishman86, thanks for posting the discussion board link. It definitely provides a more sobering and honest perspective than other sources.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:56 pm

moot discussion until you have taken the lsat.

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jcl2
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby jcl2 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:17 pm

ConMan345 wrote:I'd agree with the above, other than UW probably beats UCLA in Seattle.


And probably some of the schools in the 10-14 range, but that is debatable.

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jcl2
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby jcl2 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:27 pm

irishman86 wrote:I found this on TLS about the Seattle market.
How do I break this to you? You are unlikely to find a job here. In fact, I'll say you will not find a job here absent family connections. I graduated from the UW with Honors last year and have been unable to find an entry level job. I now have to pick my family up and leave the state so that I can practice law.

Two of my closest friends in law school were among the top five students in our class and they both had to move to California to find work. Another close friend of mine was in the top third of our class and holds a PhD in Biochemistry. She's working for Jones Day down in San Francisco but did not get a single offer here. Imagine that, hired as an associate at Jones Day but no one in Seattle would touch her.

There are about 190 new associate positions in the Seattle firms each year and with the UW and SU graduating close to 600 combined and all of the Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Penn, and Michigan grads that want to move here, very few people out of the UW find jobs in Seattle (and we are supposedly a top tier school - yah, top tiered and top grades didn't do a damn thing for me - do I sound bitter? I am!)

You will have to do what many of my classmates did, which is accept your first job is going to be in another market, get the experience and then try to come (back) here as a lateral. I know it's harsh, but everyone kept telling me I was going to have to relocate. I didn't want to do it because my husband has a job that he loves and we own a home, but the market is such that if I ever want to practice, I've gotta get the heck out of here.

Because I have just gone through the entire job searching process, please feel free to DM me for more information.


The poster mentions Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Penn and Michigan.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/seattle- ... t-2-a.html


I don't know how much stock I would put in this. If you look at the published list of the employers of all 2008 graduates, you will see that the majority ended up working in Seattle, many at big firms. If you have a biglaw or bust attitude, you would be wise to consider other markets to increase your chances, but if you do well you will have a shot at biglaw in Seattle.

edit: by my count about 10% of the people on that list ended up at Seattle biglaw firms. You could probably also assume that a number of the people listed as having clerkships also will end up in biglaw, and that some of the people with public interest or government work would have otherwise been qualified for biglaw. This leads me to believe that the cutoff for having a shot at Seattle biglaw at UW is somewhere close to top 20%, probably more like top third if you are willing to look at other markets.
Last edited by jcl2 on Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RVP11
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby RVP11 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:30 pm

jcl2 wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:I'd agree with the above, other than UW probably beats UCLA in Seattle.


And probably some of the schools in the 10-14 range, but that is debatable.


If you have ties to Seattle, it's hard to see how UW could beat DCNG.

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jcl2
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby jcl2 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:46 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
jcl2 wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:I'd agree with the above, other than UW probably beats UCLA in Seattle.


And probably some of the schools in the 10-14 range, but that is debatable.


If you have ties to Seattle, it's hard to see how UW could beat DCNG.


Perhaps, but it is going to be competitive either way, you will have to do pretty well at any of those schools to have a good shot at Seattle biglaw. In choosing between any of DCNG and UW it would be wise to consider the difference in cost, which is likely pretty significant, and whether getting a biglaw job is more important to you than getting a job in Seattle. Seattle biglaw is far from a guarantee either way and I doubt DCNG would give you any significant advantage for midlaw/government/PI work, and it would be tough to take a non biglaw job with the debt you would likely end up with from DCNG anyway.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby FunkyJD » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:49 pm

Nicholasnickynic wrote:moot discussion until you have taken the lsat.

+1. Purely academic exercise at the moment.

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RVP11
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby RVP11 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:40 pm

jcl2 wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
jcl2 wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:I'd agree with the above, other than UW probably beats UCLA in Seattle.


And probably some of the schools in the 10-14 range, but that is debatable.


If you have ties to Seattle, it's hard to see how UW could beat DCNG.


Perhaps, but it is going to be competitive either way, you will have to do pretty well at any of those schools to have a good shot at Seattle biglaw. In choosing between any of DCNG and UW it would be wise to consider the difference in cost, which is likely pretty significant, and whether getting a biglaw job is more important to you than getting a job in Seattle. Seattle biglaw is far from a guarantee either way and I doubt DCNG would give you any significant advantage for midlaw/government/PI work, and it would be tough to take a non biglaw job with the debt you would likely end up with from DCNG anyway.


Okay, but these discussions are generally about pure placement power. Cost/benefit analyses that take account of $$$ differences are another debate. And the best place to analyze pure placement power has to be in what are generally the most competitive jobs: BigLaw SAs.

In Seattle BigLaw, it's probably true that DCNG + Seattle ties > UW, given equal class rank.

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jcl2
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Re: Want a Job at a Big Law Firm in the Northwest

Postby jcl2 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:07 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
jcl2 wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
jcl2 wrote:
And probably some of the schools in the 10-14 range, but that is debatable.


If you have ties to Seattle, it's hard to see how UW could beat DCNG.


Perhaps, but it is going to be competitive either way, you will have to do pretty well at any of those schools to have a good shot at Seattle biglaw. In choosing between any of DCNG and UW it would be wise to consider the difference in cost, which is likely pretty significant, and whether getting a biglaw job is more important to you than getting a job in Seattle. Seattle biglaw is far from a guarantee either way and I doubt DCNG would give you any significant advantage for midlaw/government/PI work, and it would be tough to take a non biglaw job with the debt you would likely end up with from DCNG anyway.


Okay, but these discussions are generally about pure placement power. Cost/benefit analyses that take account of $$$ differences are another debate. And the best place to analyze pure placement power has to be in what are generally the most competitive jobs: BigLaw SAs.

In Seattle BigLaw, it's probably true that DCNG + Seattle ties > UW, given equal class rank.


I agree, and I guess I was diverging a little from the discussion at hand. I just think that if it actually came down to choosing between these schools, better biglaw placement in Seattle would not be a sufficient reason to choose DCNG over UW, I think the difference is likely small enough that there are other much more important things to consider, as mentioned above. As you pointed out, though, that discussion is off topic here, so I will leave it at that.




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