Tarheel10 wrote:Also, it seems like I'd have piss poor mobility having been raised in Nashville, gone to UNC, spent a year in Washington state, and then gone to Vandy.
Your mobility is going to pretty limited no matter where you go, honestly. Even from HYS, you can't just waltz into a secondary market (i.e., anywhere other than NYC/DC/Chicago/LA/SF) and think you have a chance at a job. (I don't have experience bidding in any of the following cities, but cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas may be more willing to hire top candidates if they don't have ties, but even these seem to like some regional ties.) I will say that I have one friend who will be working in Charlotte this summer (at a large firm) without any real ties to Charlotte, but he has a somewhat unique situation (i.e., one that does not apply in your case)--and it is the only time I have seen that happen.
From what I have seen, it is going to be near impossible to try to get a job in any city where the market rate is below $140k unless (1) you are from there, (2) your spouse is from there, (3) you have spent time working there in the past, or (4) you went to law school and/or undergrad there. I would say that the law school/undergrad tie is not necessarily terribly strong either--it could be, but I have seen a number of firms blow that off too. Firms are surprisingly--shockingly, even--hesitant to hire people without demonstrated ties to a market. I guess it is because when they hire relatively small summer class sizes, they can afford to be selective.
The moral of the story is that if you go to Vandy, you could get a job in NYC, DC (if grades are good enough, etc.), Atlanta, Nashville, maybe Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, maybe Washington state if you want to go back, and maybe (probably somewhat depending on your grades and sales pitch combo) in TX or elsewhere in semi-major markets. But if you want to work at more of a lifestyle firm, your geographic options do shrink pretty dramatically--probably mainly to Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, maybe Washington state. (Of course, the other wildcard is if you have a spouse/serious SO... for instance, if you marry a girl from Cincinnati, that suddenly becomes an option.)
If you don't go to Vandy, though, your options don't really expand that much geographically. I mean, if you just really want to work in Philly, then you should probably go to Penn over Vandy. And if you are dying to work in Chicago, it might be worth considering Northwestern (although I think Chicago would be easier to get to from Vandy than Philly would be). But going to Penn doesn't necessarily make it any easier to get a sweet job in Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Columbus, etc.