Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

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sunynp
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby sunynp » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:49 pm

I'm not looking for school reported employment data, obviously. I've had a hard time finding solid data on birmingham firms. I think that any decision had to look at employment prospects and those seem to be very low for each of these schools.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby Aqualibrium » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:08 pm

sunynp wrote:Can someone post facts about this "thriving" or " healthy" market in Birmingham? I know there are relatively few 2l SA positions, most people who get one of these worked as a 1L, and that firms require people to split their summers, and that about half the class gets no- offered.

So what is with this rosy picture of jobs in birmingham? It may be less competitive than Atlanta because Atlanta is more desirable?



It hasn't been my intention to paint a rosy picture. I think you are the person who mentioned nalp earlier, and to that I'll say this: you can't honestly believe that there are only 9 unique law firm employers in the entire state of Alabama can you?

Birmingham isn't a "major" market by any means in relation to DC/NY/etc..., but it has survived the economic downturn far better than places like Atlanta where class sizes and associate positions have been slashed left and right.

The fact of the matter is, employment prospects are low in comparison to the t14 or t25. I've simply pointed out that I think Alabama with money and good grades gives a Southerner more opportunities than Emory/UGA with no or less money (and as Grizz said, this is especially true for someone who is a resident of another one of the deep South states).

I relayed some details of my own story. I turned down a t14, a few t25's and several schools in the t50 to come here on a full ride plus stipend because I was a Southerner who was comfortable with practicing in the South, and because I liked the environment when I visited the school. My hope was that with good grades I would have a shot at DC/VA as well. I ended up doing pretty well for myself, and have accepted an associate job at a large firm in DC/VA. It was a good decision for me. YMMV.

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jeeptiger09
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby jeeptiger09 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:56 pm

I don't know if "thriving" is the best way to phrase it (and I apologize, I'm not trying to mislead anyone here), but here's my take:

Atlanta
Atlanta is a popular place. It was booming--one of the most rapid growing cities--in the mid-2000s. Back when the economy was good, everything in Atlanta was excellent. But the economy has slowed significantly in Atlanta and is taking longer to recover than the rest of the South. Also, Atlanta has a higher market salary (depending on whom you ask, it's somewhere between $130K and $145) than Birmingham. Thus, it is a more popular destination, especially for kids from T14 schools. One of the reasons for this is that Atlanta is (in comparison to the rest of the south) the 'big city' and truly one of the only places in the region where you can find 'biglaw'. Most of the big firms in Atlanta are national firms (e.g. A+B, K&S, MLA, Sutherland, Kilpatrick, etc.); firms that are considered 'biglaw' in cities like B-ham, Nashville and Memphis would be 'midlaw' in Atlanta. And because bigger national firms recruit at T14 schools (and some regional firms do too, but not nearly like the national firms), there is a higher demand for Atlanta SA jobs. You also have to consider the number/caliber of schools that are feeding into Atlanta. There are a number of schools for which Atlanta is the primary target market (Emory, UGA, Georgia State, Mercer). Additionally, schools like Harvard, UVA, Vanderbilt, and Duke do well in Atlanta. And finally you have kids at the top of the class from Alabama, Tennessee, FSU, UNC and UF trying to get into the market.

TL;DR: it's very competitive.

Birmingham
Birmingham is more insulated because the biggest firms in Bham (BABC, Burr, Balch, Baker, etc.) don't traditionally recruit out of the T14 schools (caveat: UVA and Duke). Birmingham is still one of the more popular destinations in the South because it's salary is $105-115 depending on the firm. Also, firms in Birmingham IMO value ties much more than Atlanta. You don't necessarily need ties in Atlanta; you must have them in Bham, which means the demand for Birmingham SA jobs is significantly smaller. You don't have the presence of any major national firm in Birmingham; and most of the regional firms recruit the vast majority of students out of local schools. Also, Bama is the #1 school in Bham, without a doubt. Vandy and UVA/Duke do well, and Cumberland places alright, but you aren't going to face ridiculous competition from T14 schools. Also, you probably won't run into tons of kids from UNC, UF, FSU, etc. trying to get to Birmingham. Lastly, it's important to consider the COL is significantly less in Birmingham.

TL;DR: it's competitive, but not as competitive as Atlanta. And Bama's market share of Bham is much better than UGA's market share of Atlanta.

Conclusion
Birmingham, by all means, is a 'southern' market. Atlanta firms operate more like DC/NYC/Chicago firms. Ties are much more valued in Birmingham, and southern firms predominantly recruit from state schools. Also (I don't have evidence, but from what I have heard) Atlanta is ridiculously competitive for new associates--the billing requirements are in the 2100-2400 range, whereas Birmingham is closer to 1900-2100. Bottom line is that competition in Birmingham is less than Atlanta. Yes, the offer rates are lower, but that's just how the south operates. It sucks, yes, but Birmingham gives you the opportunity to get your foot in the door as a 1L, which will significantly increase your chances. Offer rates are shittier, but they're only relevant if you can score an SA gig, and your chances of doing so are significantly better in Birmingham from Bama than in Atlanta from UGA. And with the $$$ scholarship offer, assuming the OP's goal is 'biglaw', Bama is a no-brainer.
Last edited by jeeptiger09 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Grizz
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby Grizz » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:16 pm

+1 to JT and Aqua above

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Supremo Skelator
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby Supremo Skelator » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:44 am

I am wondering about a relevant dilemma. I may be down to choosing UGA or Bama. I am an Alabama resident, from Birmingham, and have family ties in law practice there. UGA has offered me in-state tuition. I am interested in living in the South, wherever employment is good. I’m aspiring for Southern big/mid law.

If I went to UGA, would a family connection be enough to open access to the Birmingham market?

I have a notion that UGA opens the door to Atlanta, while Bama would limit me to merely Alabama.
Any thoughts on this? Is there more at stake? More I should consider?

Thanks.

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Grizz
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:40 am

If you do super well at Bama, you can open ATL. But if you go to UGA and try to come back home, you're gonna have some awkward questions to answer.

iosborn12
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby iosborn12 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:28 am

Thanks for all the feedback! If everything were to stay the same as far as money goes, clearly Alabama is the correct choice.

What would your opinion be if UGA were to fork over a matching offer, or somewhere in the ballpark? All things equal, how do the schools match up with eachother?

If there are any current UGA law students reading this I would love to hear from you on your thoughts!
Last edited by iosborn12 on Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

tronredo
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby tronredo » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:35 am

Forrest gump and trent richardson

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jeeptiger09
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby jeeptiger09 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:37 pm

Supremo Skelator wrote:I am wondering about a relevant dilemma. I may be down to choosing UGA or Bama. I am an Alabama resident, from Birmingham, and have family ties in law practice there. UGA has offered me in-state tuition. I am interested in living in the South, wherever employment is good. I’m aspiring for Southern big/mid law.

If I went to UGA, would a family connection be enough to open access to the Birmingham market?

I have a notion that UGA opens the door to Atlanta, while Bama would limit me to merely Alabama.
Any thoughts on this? Is there more at stake? More I should consider?

Thanks.


Grizz is spot on. You will face constant "why not Bama" when you interview in Birmingham, and some firms may question whether you really want to be there, which will undoubtedly hurt you in the interview process. Bama will not limit you to AL, you still have outside shots at Atlanta, NOLA, Nashville, Memphis, but need to do very well for all. If you're hoping for ATL and using Bham to fall back, Bama is the right decision.

Caveat: your family connection is the hiring partner at a major firm. And that only makes your chances at that one firm decent.

iosborn12 wrote:What would your opinion be if UGA were to fork over a matching offer, or somewhere in the ballpark? All things equal, how do the schools match up with eachother?


Visited both, liked both. Can't speak to personal experiences, but the prevailing attitude is that they are both great schools and viewed essentially the same on a national scale. I'd recommend visiting both; TTown and Athens are both tons of fun.

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westinghouse60
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby westinghouse60 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:17 pm

I'm also in at both schools. Were there any stipulations to your scholly at Alabama? Mine was 25k/year if I stay in the top 40%, which isn't ideal IMO. Also, I haven't gotten any word on $$ from UGA. You may still get some but just have to wait.

iosborn12
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby iosborn12 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:54 pm

westinghouse60 wrote:I'm also in at both schools. Were there any stipulations to your scholly at Alabama? Mine was 25k/year if I stay in the top 40%, which isn't ideal IMO. Also, I haven't gotten any word on $$ from UGA. You may still get some but just have to wait.


I have the same stipulations, but whats really good is the instate tuition deal. If i get in state tuition it drops to $15k, with $10k guaranteed. I see no reason why I would not get in state tuition being independent for the last two years and picking up everything and moving to Alabama. So even if I fell in at the median or below, its only a $5k difference.

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sunynp
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby sunynp » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:47 am

I really appreciate the posts explaining the differences between Atlanta and Birmingham markets. Thanks for all that information.

I was hoping someone might have actual data regarding the number of SAs in Birmingham. I realize if you don't have ties going back to high school you might as well not bother. But, I am still looking for numbers.

Again I found about 60 SAs but at least a third of those were probably people who had been 1l SAs and about half of the total were no- offered. It seemsto me to be an incredibly limited market- maybe 30 permanent jobs? I know that seems low and I will double check the numbers- but if that is low then what is the actual number.

Maybe someone who went through OCI at Alabama can comment more directly on the actual numbers of SAs that lead to permanent offers? Or just about the number that even get SAs? Or the accuracy of my numbers? Or the number of firms attending and hiring from OCI ?

Thanks!

murray18
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby murray18 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:37 pm

Great thread. I've gotten the same offer from bama as one of the recent posters, and was wondering if anyone knew how hard it might be to get residency in alabama.

sgoodman
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby sgoodman » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:53 pm

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Last edited by sgoodman on Tue May 01, 2012 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

creader
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby creader » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:03 pm

Last year mine was upped around 4k/yr and the stipulation was moved to 50%


I can second this. Also, Alabama has some pretty stringent requirements about establishing residency instate. UGA only requires you to get a Georgia drivers license whereas Alabama requires you to establish residency for some purpose other than going to school. Don't bank on becoming an instate resident at Bama.

JakeL
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby JakeL » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:41 pm

I just wanted to add to this to warn the OP of section stacking at UA. It exists.

iosborn12
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby iosborn12 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:18 pm

JakeL wrote:I just wanted to add to this to warn the OP of section stacking at UA. It exists.


Can you elaborate on this? I.e. how bad it is? Where you got your info, ect.

Are you a current student? Is there anything else to be worried about wih Alabama that I wouldn't be aware of through my own research?

kaspar
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby kaspar » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:29 pm

jeeptiger09 wrote:Also (I don't have evidence, but from what I have heard) Atlanta is ridiculously competitive for new associates--the billing requirements are in the 2100-2400 range, whereas Birmingham is closer to 1900-2100.
I can't add much to this discussion, but this is patently absurd. All the big firms in Atlanta have hours targets between 1900 and 2000. Obviously some will go over that but there are few associates in Atlanta billing 2400 hours.

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beezy08
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby beezy08 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:03 pm

iosborn12 wrote:
JakeL wrote:I just wanted to add to this to warn the OP of section stacking at UA. It exists.


Can you elaborate on this? I.e. how bad it is? Where you got your info, ect.

Are you a current student? Is there anything else to be worried about wih Alabama that I wouldn't be aware of through my own research?


Curious about all of this as well. I have been trying to find out about section stacking at UA.

sgoodman
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby sgoodman » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:22 pm

.
Last edited by sgoodman on Tue May 01, 2012 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

iosborn12
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby iosborn12 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:47 pm

sgoodman wrote:
beezy08 wrote:
iosborn12 wrote:
JakeL wrote:I just wanted to add to this to warn the OP of section stacking at UA. It exists.


Can you elaborate on this? I.e. how bad it is? Where you got your info, ect.

Are you a current student? Is there anything else to be worried about wih Alabama that I wouldn't be aware of through my own research?


Curious about all of this as well. I have been trying to find out about section stacking at UA.


I would love to hear your evidence of this as well, since, as a student here, I have seen absolutely no evidence of section stacking. I know many people in each of the three sections with scholarships.


Thanks for the info!

JakeL
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby JakeL » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:35 pm

A peer said that he is friends with someone who works in the admissions office and was told that although there are recipients in all sections of scholarship money, one section does have significantly more. The objective of this is obviously to reduce the amount of scholarship $ distributed in the second year. I should have said that I haven't confirmed it myself, but I definitely think the likelihood of this being true is high. I have no idea why someone would lie to me, and others about this, but I shouldn't have been so definite.

murray18
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby murray18 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:45 pm

I'm not entirely sure that constitutes section stacking. By putting a stipulation on a scholarship, they are implicitly saying that they don't plan on renewing all of their scholarships for the second year. I appreciate the heads up, but I think the stipulation itself is more troubling than section stacking as you describe it.

creader
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby creader » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:15 pm

As a student, I can honestly say there is little to no section stacking. There are three sections for 1Ls, and they all have similar numbers of scholarship recipients. Scholarship recipients are not the basis for how they organize sections. The admissions office assigns everyone an academic predictor number based off of your GPA/LSAT and then puts everyone in sections based off of an equal curve.

While scholarship recipients are typically higher in the GPA/LSAT range, there are some students, especially those from in state, who have similar statistics to those out of state but do not get scholly's.

TL/DR: section stacking is a myth.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Thoughts on Alabama/UGA and other southern schools?

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:04 pm

kaspar wrote:
jeeptiger09 wrote:Also (I don't have evidence, but from what I have heard) Atlanta is ridiculously competitive for new associates--the billing requirements are in the 2100-2400 range, whereas Birmingham is closer to 1900-2100.
I can't add much to this discussion, but this is patently absurd. All the big firms in Atlanta have hours targets between 1900 and 2000. Obviously some will go over that but there are few associates in Atlanta billing 2400 hours.



Everyone I know who has experience with the big Atlanta firms say the hours are rough, particularly at Alston and K&S. I know someone at Alston who says they almost always work 12 hours a day.




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