WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

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WUSTL vs BC

WUSTL ($135k COA)
6
18%
BC ($134k COA)
18
55%
W&M ($108k COA)
9
27%
 
Total votes: 33

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jcdc
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WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby jcdc » Fri May 27, 2011 11:08 am

Hey all,

Sorry for a second post, but my situation has changed a bit. I've worked in DC for the federal gov't for the past 4 years. While returning to the gov't as counsel would be a nice fall-back, I definitely want a shot at Biglaw. I've been told by credible sources that my work experience and professional network will be much more important than where I go to law school should I choose to return to the gov't post-graduation. Therefore, I need to focus on DC Biglaw placement.

I've been admitted with scholarships to WUSTL ($135k COA), BC ($134k COA) and W&M ($108k COA). I've been WL'd at GULC, and got auto-dings from GW and American (odd). I know region is important, but there's nothing I can do about it.

I was originally leaning toward W&M for its gov't placement, but since that's not an issue, I've pretty much dropped it bc of its poor Biglaw placement. I've been told I would need to be in the top 10% at either WUSTL or BC for DC Biglaw... is this true? If I have professional contacts at major DC firms, how do you think that'll affect my chances?

While I understand this is all speculation, can someone shed some light on WUSTL vs BC's Biglaw placement/ranking discrepancies? WUSTL's "NLJ 250 lawyer rank" is 15 whereas BC's is 25. However, WUSTL only places 19% of its grads in the NLJ 250, whereas BC places 33%. Is this merely self-selection (i.e. more NLJ 250 firms are in Boston so more people who want Biglaw go there, whereas many WUSTL grads are happy with mid-size firms in the Midwest)? Basically, do BC grads have a leg-up on WUSTL grads for Biglaw outside of Boston? According to NALP, the same # of firms recruit at each school, with more DC firms recruiting at WUSTL.

Is there any professional advantage of living in Boston over St. Louis (East Coast, ability to work for Boston firms during school, access to more interviews, networking with students at other top schools, etc)? For what it's worth, although I REALLY want DC, Boston > St. Louis for me, although I doubt many WUSTL grads want to stay in St. Louis.

I really like WUSTL, and would plan on working in DC each summer and doing its DC clinic. However, job placement is the most important factor to me.

What would be my chances of getting a Biglaw job in either St. Louis or Boston without any ties to the area? Would it be easier to transfer into DC Biglaw from a Boston/St. Louis firm or from a mid-size firm in DC?

Also, if I'm not in the top third of my class and return to the gov't, will the school make any difference for Biglaw after working a few years?

Sorry, lots of questions! Thanks so much for any insight y'all can provide.

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Fri May 27, 2011 11:50 am

BC without a doubt.

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jcdc
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby jcdc » Fri May 27, 2011 11:54 am

Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:BC without a doubt.


Care to elaborate? I feel like WUSTL is going out of their way to tap into outside markets like DC/NY/CA, whereas BC seems content staying a NE regional school.

alumniguy
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby alumniguy » Fri May 27, 2011 12:16 pm

DC is a hard market from both of these schools. You'll need to be top 25%-33%ish to be competitive from BC. BC's NLJ250 numbers are higher likely due to the facts that (i) it is located in Boston (a much bigger market than St. Louis) and (ii) NYC is BC's second largest "market." If you are willing to be in Boston or NYC to start your career, then I would say BC is hands down the better option.

I found the Boston market to be a bit odd. I had no ties to the area, was top 1/3 and struck out for Boston biglaw - I mean I didn't even have many 1st round interviews, let alone a callback. Contrast to my NYC experience with several offers from V100s in hand. With that said, career services told me that it was an anomaly that I had such bad luck with Boston firms. However, Boston firms do seem to prefer the NE candidates for some reason. Not saying that you are doomed, but there is some truth the notion that having ties to the area helps for Boston firms. NYC was a much easier market to break into for me.

If you are DC biglaw or bust (i.e., you'd rather go back to government than work biglaw in any other market) then I am not sure that either school really provides better opportunities. While not fully determinative, I would encourage you to dig a little deeper into the placement statistics for DC biglaw at both schools. This should give you a sense of where the students go, but you won't be able to figure out which students are at firms. If you have more time on your hands, start looking at firm websites for DC firms. Many will allow you to search by law school and you can get a good sense of where their juniors are coming from.

It would probably be easier to transfer to DC from a major East Coast firm than a St. Louis firm. DC firms are likely to have heard of major East Coast firms over St. Louis/midwest firms - which is going to get you your foot in the door for lateral hiring. I imagine that East Coast firms are likely working on similar deals than the lower cost midwest/St. Louis firms (this is a bit of a generalization, but I think it holds true especially when you are at such an early/unknown stage of your law school/legal career). There will always be exceptions, but generally it is easier to go from a bigger market to a smaller market than the other way around.

Regarding school attendance after you've been practicing for a few years, the answer is no - especially when comparing similarly regarded schools. As an attorney who has dabbled in lateral interviewing, I can assure you that school pedigree is about 1% (probably less) of what will get you hired. The determinative factors are your current employment and your ability to convey your legal skills during an interview. Unlike 2L hiring, there is little to no focus on school/gpa/etc. You certainly aren't likely to discuss this in a lateral interview and will more likely discuss the types of deals/documents/skills that you've developed and why you are looking to jump ship at your current firm. If we were talking about BC or WUSTL versus a T100, then that may be an issue. But for biglaw lateral purposes, I find it incredibly hard to imagine that either school looks better on a resume than the other.

BCLS Alum
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby BCLS Alum » Fri May 27, 2011 2:45 pm

I can elaborate a bit on this.

BC has a large off-campus interview program in DC. Each student usually gets around 6 interviews throughout a day. If you do well on your interview, you'll get a call back. The largest and top DC firms go, along with boutiques and midsized firms. Certain federal government agencies also attend. Usually, you'll have around 30 people in a class that end up in DC, typically at V100 firms, though there are some good regulatory boutiques down there that some students go to.

There are probably a few alum/students on this board who summered in DC at large firms. You should ask around about their interviewing experience and their summer associate classes. I would be curious if any of them had fellow summers from WUSTL. I've never actually met an attorney or law student from WUSTL on the east coast, but I know they are here and the school is well respected. It might just be self-selection in that most WUSTL students want to stay in the midwest. This may also account for the NLJ stats everyone keeps harping on, as the largest law firms are typically in the northeast, thus eschewing the stats for WUSTL. Just a thought.

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby fl0w » Fri May 27, 2011 2:52 pm

jcdc wrote:
I really like WUSTL, and would plan on working in DC each summer and doing its DC clinic. However, job placement is the most important factor to me.

What would be my chances of getting a Biglaw job in either St. Louis or Boston without any ties to the area? Would it be easier to transfer into DC Biglaw from a Boston/St. Louis firm or from a mid-size firm in DC?

Also, if I'm not in the top third of my class and return to the gov't, will the school make any difference for Biglaw after working a few years?

Sorry, lots of questions! Thanks so much for any insight y'all can provide.


So if you like WUSTL and you plan to work in DC each summer and do the DC clinic... done, right? To give you a bit of perspective, I was trying to break into the other coast. I got a clerkship with a federal judge in california and I got to WUSTL (I start work on Tuesday!). WUSTL is currently working hard to get into DC and NYC (more so than california, but they did just institute an off campus interview program in Cal. for the summer). There is also a NYC clinic starting next year for WUSTL.

After you have worked for a few years, people care a LOT less about where you went to school. And Boston v. WUSTL will not make anyone's decision for a lateral. Your GPA probably wouldn't be a question either. They want to make sure you know the area of law on which you are going to be working when you lateral.

hth

Slevin Kelevra 2011
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:55 pm

Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Fri May 27, 2011 3:39 pm

fl0w wrote:
jcdc wrote:
I really like WUSTL, and would plan on working in DC each summer and doing its DC clinic. However, job placement is the most important factor to me.

What would be my chances of getting a Biglaw job in either St. Louis or Boston without any ties to the area? Would it be easier to transfer into DC Biglaw from a Boston/St. Louis firm or from a mid-size firm in DC?

Also, if I'm not in the top third of my class and return to the gov't, will the school make any difference for Biglaw after working a few years?

Sorry, lots of questions! Thanks so much for any insight y'all can provide.


So if you like WUSTL and you plan to work in DC each summer and do the DC clinic... done, right? To give you a bit of perspective, I was trying to break into the other coast. I got a clerkship with a federal judge in california and I got to WUSTL (I start work on Tuesday!). WUSTL is currently working hard to get into DC and NYC (more so than california, but they did just institute an off campus interview program in Cal. for the summer). There is also a NYC clinic starting next year for WUSTL.

After you have worked for a few years, people care a LOT less about where you went to school. And Boston v. WUSTL will not make anyone's decision for a lateral. Your GPA probably wouldn't be a question either. They want to make sure you know the area of law on which you are going to be working when you lateral.

hth


What? They JUST started an off campus interview program in California? Seriously? BC, BU, USC and UCLA have been doing cross coastal offcampus programs for years. BC and BU actually have two, one in northern Cali and one in southern Cali. This way students get more interviews. This might explain why WUSTL doesn't place well on the coasts or in biglaw. Good to see they are moving in the right direction, but man are they behind the ball.

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby fl0w » Fri May 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:

What? They JUST started an off campus interview program in California? Seriously? BC, BU, USC and UCLA have been doing cross coastal offcampus programs for years. BC and BU actually have two, one in northern Cali and one in southern Cali. This way students get more interviews. This might explain why WUSTL doesn't place well on the coasts or in biglaw. Good to see they are moving in the right direction, but man are they behind the ball.


haha wow. i read what i wrote and i see why you interpreted it that way. I meant to say the firm list just went out. Not that this is the first year they've done something like this.

That was terrible wording on my part. WUSTL has off campus interviewing across the nation for the summer just like what you mentioned above. Also two in Cal. I need to read things before I hit submit.

rebexness
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby rebexness » Fri May 27, 2011 5:18 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jcdc
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Re: WUSTL ($) vs BC ($) for DC Biglaw

Postby jcdc » Tue May 31, 2011 11:56 am

Thank you, all, for the thoughtful responses.

Alumniguy, I've actually looked through the attorney directories of most of the big DC firms and there's 3-4x as many BC grads as WUSTL grads. This seems to reflect BC's much higher placement rate; I just wish WUSTL's "lawyer rank" wasn't as contradictory.

Rebexness, you're saying that St. Louis wouldn't take me without ties... but according to Alumniguy, Boston might not either. Do you have different insight?

The reason I want DC (besides loving it here) is because I think my strength will be in the public policy and regulatory law arm of firms. I would assume this practice area is largely focused in DC. Also, since I have professional contacts in almost every area of the federal gov't and several big DC law firms, I figure my ties to the area won't be questioned.




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