Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

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ArchitectureVince03
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Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby ArchitectureVince03 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:15 am

Longtime lurker on the site and was hoping to get some advice on schools to apply to for Portland law firms if I perform well at LS. Grew up in Portland and my goal has always been to return. I already have several schools in mind for personal preference but was curious to hear from people who are familiar with Portland/PNW on the best way to get back to Portland with the mid-to-lower T14 and the rest of the T20 + UW and LC. So far the schools I have been most interested in are:

Berkeley
Michigan
Northwestern
UWashington

Love Berkeley but Berkeley's increasing costs and from what I've gathered reading this site a low percentage of scholarships given makes me nervous about huge amounts of debt, especially since other schools could provide great options to get back to Portland for less money.

I really enjoy Seattle and its similarities to Portland and like UW's campus and the area around it (as much as I hate to admit that as a life-long Duck fan). Does anyone know how generous UW is with merit aid, if they are at all? The website seemed to imply that it's mostly only financial aid, but it did look like someone could qualify for in-state tuition after the first year.

Are there other T-14 schools that would provide a good route to Portland, given I do well? Obviously Stanford would be incredible but while I might apply for it as a far reach my stats give me a better shot for the mid-to-low T14 and below. Would attending UCLA/USC possibly with some scholarships instead UW (would really only do this if they ended up being cheaper) still provide some options in Portland or does UW do significantly stronger in the PNW?

Thanks for all your help with what turned out to be multiple questions!

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dj666
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby dj666 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:39 pm

SE Portland here. Represent.

Can't really comment on the financial aid portion of your post, but would note that I've run into far more Michigan grads than one might expect around here. Local professionals do love to talk about how "prestigious" UW is, but the lawyers I know admit that your job search will be easier coming from Michigan, Northwestern, Berkeley, etc. I also met a recent Penn grad who found a job here with relative ease. The fact that you grew up here should give you a leg up on the countless other recent graduates vying to move to Portland.

I myself was torn between Penn, Michigan, and Berkeley, and really didn't find much info to differentiate job prospects in Portland coming out of any of those schools. In the end, I chose the one that worked best for me and my family.

Journeybound
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby Journeybound » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:52 pm

Portland is an extremely difficult market to crack. There are 4-6 major BigLaw type firms that pay around $110,000 to $120,000 per year. Each firm has been hiring 1-3 SAs during the bad economy, and they HAVEN'T extended offers to all of them. I was shocked when I heard that there wasn't a 100% offer rate. I know that 1-2 of the SAs hired that year were from University of Oregon. I also know that at least one was from Berkeley. A lot of the partners that I interviewed with were Lewis and Clark grads. As a Berkeley student, I was able to get call backs to four of the firms, but no SA offer. =(

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rinkrat19
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:21 pm

West sider here...still a 0L so I don't have any practical advice to contribute, but this topic is interesting to me as well. I'll be attending Northwestern (entering class of 2012; I deferred) and trying to get back to Portland to work. I'm not 100% set on big law, but I'd definitely like to have the option.

Semi-related tangent: anyone have any thoughts on the prestige (or lack thereof) of the clerkships available in Portland?

bdubs
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby bdubs » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:24 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:Semi-related tangent: anyone have any thoughts on the prestige (or lack thereof) of the clerkships available in Portland?


If you do really well you might have a shot at clerkships with judges sitting in Portland on the 9th Circuit (generally known as a pretty competitive/prestigious).

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rinkrat19
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:38 pm

bdubs wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Semi-related tangent: anyone have any thoughts on the prestige (or lack thereof) of the clerkships available in Portland?


If you do really well you might have a shot at clerkships with judges sitting in Portland on the 9th Circuit (generally known as a pretty competitive/prestigious).


I knew the 9th circuit COA was considered prestigious, but wasn't sure if that just referred to the main court in SF, or if the prestige also carries over to the Portland/Seattle/Pasadena courts. I'd love to clerk at the Portland court! (Assuming I can get the grades.)

bdubs
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby bdubs » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:41 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
bdubs wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Semi-related tangent: anyone have any thoughts on the prestige (or lack thereof) of the clerkships available in Portland?


If you do really well you might have a shot at clerkships with judges sitting in Portland on the 9th Circuit (generally known as a pretty competitive/prestigious).


I knew the 9th circuit COA was considered prestigious, but wasn't sure if that just referred to the main court in SF, or if the prestige also carries over to the Portland/Seattle/Pasadena courts. I'd love to clerk at the Portland court! (Assuming I can get the grades.)


I think the prestige comes with the individual judge and not the location. Portland has one senior judge, but I don't know if that judge is relatively well connected or considered a "feeder" for other prestigious positions/clerkships.

ArchitectureVince03
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby ArchitectureVince03 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:20 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies!

@dj- I noticed that Michigan was on Stoel Rives' OCI list and I think was the only other school besides Harvard west of the Mississippi so it definitely was an added plus to a personal preference for Michigan.

@JourneyBound- did attending Berkeley or your ties to Portland come up often in interview questions? Do you mind if I ask if you have ties to Portland? I'm curious if you think students from Lewis and Clark or UO had an advantage, even with Berkeley being a T10 or if you think it was the nature of the economy and the Portland market with the small number of big firms/positions. While I am pretty sure of my desire to move back to Portland and raise my family there I think I'd appreciate more time to experience other cities beforehand, but Lewis and Clark has always been on the table and be curious to hear your thoughts!

Many family friends and mentors/coaches from HS work in what I'd guess are medium to small firms in Portland compared to Stoel Rives and such. As a pre-0L I have no idea the competitiveness or process of getting positions with these firms (I'm sure some are too small for any SA positions), but if I didn't necessarily need a bigger firm do certain schools provide better opportunities for Portland? I know that's pretty specific but at this point I'm more interested in the law as a profession and Portland as the place I want to return rather than needing a large firm and would appreciate hearing people's knowledge as I look into schools to apply to. I definitely plan on asking those other lawyers for their own thoughts but from reading the forums I've found TLSers can be very knowledgeable about the current conditions and hiring processes.

Additionally does anyone know if the idea that UW is the "dominant school" in the PNW and thus what I took to provide the best regional opportunities for Portland has changed with the economy? I always gathered from TLS that it'd provide the best opportunities, given performing well, for the whole region but I also knew that L&C did well specifically for the Portland market. Also any one have knowledge or thoughts on UW/L&C vs. USC/UCLA?

Thanks again for your help with the numerous questions!

AV

Journeybound
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Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby Journeybound » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:34 pm

I was a transfer from UO to Berkeley, and I grew up in Eugene, OR. The firms immediately jumped on me when I sent out letters. It did seem like the transfer might have had some negative effect on native interviewers who had gone to the UO--that was awkward. I think that I had sufficient ties/academic background. You just have to be the best 1-2 people out of hundreds who send in the application. They can choose whoever they want. And again, it was Schwabe that straight up told me in the interview that that summer they had like 2-3 interns, and they had just no-offered one of them, even though he was perfectly qualified, just because the firm wasn't doing well. Also, they did tell me that Portland is even tougher to crack as a lateral than it is to enter right away. So anyways, to sum it up, it is extremely difficult to get into a Portland BigLaw type firm.

ArchitectureVince03
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:42 am

Re: Schools to Apply To For Portland, OR Firms

Postby ArchitectureVince03 » Sun May 01, 2011 9:21 am

Thanks JourneyBound I appreciate your multiple responses and hearing your experience and thoughts on applying for Portland firm jobs. Makes shooting for a school with more of a national reach and thus more markets a better plan at this point with the way the economy and firm hiring is in Portland.




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