Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

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tlslsnlsp
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Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby tlslsnlsp » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:56 am

I'm deciding between Duke and UCLA (for now let's ignore the money). I was born+raised in LA, have family members in LA and went to college in LA, so I'm guessing I qualify as someone with the coveted "ties" to LA that LA firms look for. Do you think this means I'd be better off going to Duke for firms in LA?

Basically I'm sort of freaking out after seeing a bunch of people vouch for Cornell to a 0L with LA ties looking to work in LA deciding between USC and Cornell. Until I read the thread I thought conventional wisdom was "if you KNOW you want to work in LA, go to USC/UCLA", but apparently the caveat of having LA ties suddenly makes the non-LA t-14s better options than USC/UCLA even for LA jobs? Please help this confused 0L.

Also, as a side note, while my dream situation is a market biglaw job in LA, my first priority is to get a market biglaw job period, whether it's in NY, SF, Chi, DC, Dallas, etc. If I were at Duke could I pitch the whole "look at my background, I'm an LA guy looking to get back to LA" angle to LA firms only to turn around and pitch the "I lack NYC connections but I'm ready to start a new life in NYC, I'm in it for the long haul" angle to NY firms? Or do the firms talk to each other and realize I'm lying to one side....? I'm asking because if this is possible I'm guessing Duke is clearly the better option as the non-LA biglaw placement has to be way better at Duke. If this is not possible, however, and my background will basically tie me to being attractive to LA firms only, I'm wondering if I might as well go to the LA specialist UCLA.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby lakerfanimal » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:06 pm

tlslsnlsp wrote:I'm deciding between Duke and UCLA (for now let's ignore the money). I was born+raised in LA, have family members in LA and went to college in LA, so I'm guessing I qualify as someone with the coveted "ties" to LA that LA firms look for. Do you think this means I'd be better off going to Duke for firms in LA?

Basically I'm sort of freaking out after seeing a bunch of people vouch for Cornell to a 0L with LA ties looking to work in LA deciding between USC and Cornell. Until I read the thread I thought conventional wisdom was "if you KNOW you want to work in LA, go to USC/UCLA", but apparently the caveat of having LA ties suddenly makes the non-LA t-14s better options than USC/UCLA even for LA jobs? Please help this confused 0L.

Also, as a side note, while my dream situation is a market biglaw job in LA, my first priority is to get a market biglaw job period, whether it's in NY, SF, Chi, DC, Dallas, etc. If I were at Duke could I pitch the whole "look at my background, I'm an LA guy looking to get back to LA" angle to LA firms only to turn around and pitch the "I lack NYC connections but I'm ready to start a new life in NYC, I'm in it for the long haul" angle to NY firms? Or do the firms talk to each other and realize I'm lying to one side....? I'm asking because if this is possible I'm guessing Duke is clearly the better option as the non-LA biglaw placement has to be way better at Duke. If this is not possible, however, and my background will basically tie me to being attractive to LA firms only, I'm wondering if I might as well go to the LA specialist UCLA.


If that's truly the case, go to Duke. From what I've heard, you don't have to pitch ties to NY firms by any means. You can use this to find who interviews at which school during on-campus interviews: --LinkRemoved--. Percentage wise, it seemed like people around the middle still got some big-law job at Duke. If this site's profile was accurate, then UCLA doesn't look great for big-law- "I guess I was slightly naive coming into UCLA and thinking that everyone gets good jobs. In a good economy, about 40 percent of the class gets a firm job." I've heard similar stuff from friends who have UCLA connections. If you wanted to do PI in LA, I think it'd be a little different but other than that, Duke gives you a better shot at what you want to do. Good luck!

tlslsnlsp
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby tlslsnlsp » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:05 am

Thanks for the response. Anyone else know much about going back to LA from MVPDNCG if you have LA ties?

mikunta
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby mikunta » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:27 pm

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Last edited by mikunta on Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PDaddy
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby PDaddy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:39 pm

mikunta wrote:
At least that's how I'm approaching it. Went to admitted students day at UCLA and really liked everything except I thought the classrooms were absolutely terrible. Pale white walls and weird greenish desks that look like baby poop. The campus is beautiful though.


Really? I have seen the B-School, and that looked really nice. Haven't seen the law school tho.

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bk1
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:42 pm

If your first priority is biglaw in any market then go to Duke. You will be able to get NYC or LA, the latter may be harder considering the market is smaller than the former, from Duke with your background. NYC doesn't care about ties.

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beachbum
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby beachbum » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:47 pm

Try asking in the "Duke 1L, hanging out on the Internet" thread, as I believe there's at least one or two current students shooting for California. My impression is that it's possible, but you'll have to do a lot of legwork to get a look from SoCal firms (not many at OCI).

Edit: It looks like Duke sends about 15-25 students/year to California (out of a class of 200-230), for whatever that's worth.
Last edited by beachbum on Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mikunta
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby mikunta » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:48 pm

PDaddy wrote:
mikunta wrote:
At least that's how I'm approaching it. Went to admitted students day at UCLA and really liked everything except I thought the classrooms were absolutely terrible. Pale white walls and weird greenish desks that look like baby poop. The campus is beautiful though.


Really? I have seen the B-School, and that looked really nice. Haven't seen the law school tho.


The law library is really nice, the new moot court room is crazy nice. Outdoor patios, hallways, everything is really beautiful except I *hated* the classrooms. They looked like they were straight from a public high school or something. Im not looking for oak paneling or anything but come on...

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beachbum
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby beachbum » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:51 pm

mikunta wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
mikunta wrote:
At least that's how I'm approaching it. Went to admitted students day at UCLA and really liked everything except I thought the classrooms were absolutely terrible. Pale white walls and weird greenish desks that look like baby poop. The campus is beautiful though.


Really? I have seen the B-School, and that looked really nice. Haven't seen the law school tho.


The law library is really nice, the new moot court room is crazy nice. Outdoor patios, hallways, everything is really beautiful except I *hated* the classrooms. They looked like they were straight from a public high school or something. Im not looking for oak paneling or anything but come on...


+1. Most of campus is insanely beautiful, and the law facilities are solid- but the large lecture classrooms left something to be desired.

nightynite
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby nightynite » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:21 pm

I'm headed to Duke, from OC. I had the same debate you did. I've worked at a regional CA firm and a large corporate CA firm. From my understanding (talking to the partners at my firms and other lawyers I've met around LA and OC), I think Duke will give you fair opportunities with your LA ties. Your competition isn't only with other law school grads looking for jobs in LA, but also among your law school. For instance, a biglaw firm isn't going to want to hire all its associates from UCLA/USC; performing at slightly above the median at Duke might be more forgiving than the same at UCLA. If you are graduating from UCLA, nearly ALL of your classmates will be looking for jobs in CA. But at Duke, there is a much smaller number of grads even trying to land CA firms. But bottom line, both UCLA and Duke are really respected by hiring partners. As for the # of LA firms interviewing, I looked at Duke's OCI and all the big names are there, and I imagine you can still make yourself an attractive candidate to firms NOT doing OCI at Duke by seeking them out and applying anyway.

I went to Duke's ASW, and loved the campus/area. It's definitely a change from what we're used to here in SoCal...but as a product of the UC system, I can say I really appreciated the individual attention given to each student. If anything, I'm going to Duke so I can come back to California and never feel the need to leave ever again...

nightynite
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby nightynite » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:22 pm

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Last edited by nightynite on Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tlslsnlsp
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby tlslsnlsp » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:56 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Didn't know there were so many in the same situation! Looks like most of you recommend Duke. The 15~25 out of 200 part does make me worry though... hopefully all of the Duke -> CA guys on TLS are part of the 15~25 in 2014 lol.

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beachbum
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby beachbum » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:20 pm

tlslsnlsp wrote:Thanks for all the replies. Didn't know there were so many in the same situation! Looks like most of you recommend Duke. The 15~25 out of 200 part does make me worry though... hopefully all of the Duke -> CA guys on TLS are part of the 15~25 in 2014 lol.


eh, I would bet money on that number being low due to self selection. Duke is much more of a southern/east coast school, so it tends to attract more students who are looking to work in those areas. The mobility of a Duke degree- even to the opposite coast- shouldn't be a problem. You're likely going to have to be a bit more proactive with LA firms than someone at UCLA, but the prestige/placement power of the degree will not hold you back, and could certainly give you an advantage over the surplus of UCLA grads.

mikunta
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby mikunta » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:12 pm

tlslsnlsp wrote:Thanks for all the replies. Didn't know there were so many in the same situation! Looks like most of you recommend Duke. The 15~25 out of 200 part does make me worry though... hopefully all of the Duke -> CA guys on TLS are part of the 15~25 in 2014 lol.


I was considering subtly voting UCLA over Duke in every one of these threads so my own Duke back to southern CA chances increase. Just kidding.

But seriously.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke vs. UCLA for LA jobs *catch: has LA ties

Postby Reedie » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:43 pm

nightynite wrote:I went to Duke's ASW, and loved the campus/area. It's definitely a change from what we're used to here in SoCal...but as a product of the UC system, I can say I really appreciated the individual attention given to each student. If anything, I'm going to Duke so I can come back to California and never feel the need to leave ever again...


I don't think you will regret it. The weather and atmosphere here are pretty nice.

As to the UCLA Law School, I went to grad school at UCLA and spent most of my time in Bunche right by the Law School. I'm not sure why, but I always got a bad vibe about the Law School, even when just using their library. I hesitate to say it, and nobody should read too much into that. Talk to current students and trust your own intuitions over mine.




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