How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

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ThatGuyWithTheFace
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How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:48 pm

I keep reading comments about how important "ties" are in the job hunting process, and how lack of ties can be a serious impediment to employment.

What I really want to know, is how much they really matter. Answers from people with direct knowledge of the hiring process (i.e. law firm recruiters or those that have sat on hiring committees) are most welcome. Yes, I am mostly interested in working at a Firm, size is not as important.

I'm in my late 20's, and I've lived in 4 states in the last decade. I have ties everywhere and nowhere. I don't know what that means for me.

I also don't have a strong preference as to where I would like to practice after law school. NYC? Lived there already, wouldn't mind going back. Chicago? I've lived in colder, snowier places. DC? Absolutely. Smaller markets with lower pay? Sure, why not. Deep South? I live in the south now, deeper is no problem (My fiance has the accent for it, already, it's adorable). I'm getting married soon, and after school we just want to find a nice city to settle into for the long haul (I will be moving out of state for school).

Help?

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cinephile
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby cinephile » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:11 am

I PM'd you, but anyway I'm not so sure that going to law school in the area qualifies as a tie, at least not for all markets.

ThatGuyWithTheFace
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:41 am

cinephile wrote:I PM'd you, but anyway I'm not so sure that going to law school in the area qualifies as a tie, at least not for all markets.


Thanks for the input. This is sort of what I'm struggling with. I live in Tennessee, currently. I didn't bother applying to Vandy because on the off chance that I was actually admitted, I'd be paying sticker at one of the most expensive schools in the country. There aren't really any other attractive options.

I just don't see myself as a geographic captive. I've lived 50 miles from the Mexican border and 50 miles from the Canadian border, and I loved both places.

What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?

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IAFG
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby IAFG » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:52 am

ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote:Thanks for the input. This is sort of what I'm struggling with. I live in Tennessee, currently. I didn't bother applying to Vandy because on the off chance that I was actually admitted, I'd be paying sticker at one of the most expensive schools in the country. There aren't really any other attractive options.


If you don't have the stats for a big scholarship and aren't willing to pay for a prestigious school, you are putting yourself at a very high risk of not getting well-paying firm work. IMO it's a false economy, especially for someone who is geographically flexible. You seem like the sort of person who would most want to go to a national school.

ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote:I just don't see myself as a geographic captive. I've lived 50 miles from the Mexican border and 50 miles from the Canadian border, and I loved both places.

What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


They do this because they are worried about training someone who doesn't really want to be in that city and will flee at their first chance. In a better economy, it was a lot easier for below median students to get jobs in mid-sized cities than in major ones. I don't think it's as true anymore, in fact, I think Minneapolis is as grade-selective as NY, but firms are still on guard about it.

ThatGuyWithTheFace
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:03 pm

IAFG wrote:
ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote:Thanks for the input. This is sort of what I'm struggling with. I live in Tennessee, currently. I didn't bother applying to Vandy because on the off chance that I was actually admitted, I'd be paying sticker at one of the most expensive schools in the country. There aren't really any other attractive options.


If you don't have the stats for a big scholarship and aren't willing to pay for a prestigious school, you are putting yourself at a very high risk of not getting well-paying firm work. IMO it's a false economy, especially for someone who is geographically flexible. You seem like the sort of person who would most want to go to a national school.

ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote:I just don't see myself as a geographic captive. I've lived 50 miles from the Mexican border and 50 miles from the Canadian border, and I loved both places.

What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


They do this because they are worried about training someone who doesn't really want to be in that city and will flee at their first chance. In a better economy, it was a lot easier for below median students to get jobs in mid-sized cities than in major ones. I don't think it's as true anymore, in fact, I think Minneapolis is as grade-selective as NY, but firms are still on guard about it.


I've received respectable scholarships from a couple of schools. The one I'm most interested in is W&L, where somewhere around 50% either work at a firm (all sizes) or a clerkship (including state courts). I'm comfortable with that breakdown in general. I have previous WE and I'm confident (not arrogantly so), that I can stay on the top-end of my class. I'm also more than happy to work in VA or DC, where W&L is strongest.

What I worry about is putting in 3 years of hard work and losing opportunities to the hometown boys and girls who underperform me.

Ideally, my grades would stand alone, be they top 5% or bottom 5%. I'd like to be judged on merit, but it sounds like there are deep-rooted prejudices in some markets that undermine the meritocratic order of things.

Oh well.

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IAFG
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby IAFG » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:12 pm

ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote: I'm confident (not arrogantly so), that I can stay on the top-end of my class.

I think that is arrogant, and this thread is approximately why:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=176539

ThatGuyWithTheFace
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:22 pm

IAFG wrote:
ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote: I'm confident (not arrogantly so), that I can stay on the top-end of my class.

I think that is arrogant, and this thread is approximately why:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=176539


I fully respect your opinion. When I said "top end," I really meant "above median." I'm not going to underestimate my competition, but I think this is a reasonable and attainable goal. Anyway, not here to argue this point with you. I do not expect to be top 5%, even though that's what what I'm going to shoot for. I do appreciate your input, otherwise.

nouseforaname123
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby nouseforaname123 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:43 pm

I just don't see myself as a geographic captive. I've lived 50 miles from the Mexican border and 50 miles from the Canadian border, and I loved both places.


The problem for you is that your "ties" to a particular market are not evaluated in a vacuum. The firms will ask you why you are interviewing in a particular city. You are expected to articulate a sincere, genuine reason for wanting to be in that city.

Imagine firm XYZ is interviewing two candidates at Wake Forest Law for the firm's Charlotte, N.C. office.

Both candidates are in the Top 10% of their class and made Law Review:

Candidate A grew up in San Diego, graduated from UCLA, went to WF because it gave the best employment prospects of any school he was admitted to and claims he is not geographically tied to any area as he's been happy living all over the country. He has no family in the area and cannot articulate a meaningful reason for wanting to be there beyond "going where the work is."

Candidate B grew up in Greensboro, N.C., has family spread out all over the state, her SO is a banker in Charlotte, she went to N.C. State for undergrad and is a season ticket holder for N.C. State football.

The two candidates are indistinguishable academically. Who is the safer bet to be happier living and working in XYZ's Charlotte, N.C. office?
What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


It is a buyers market and they can afford to be this picky.

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rinkrat19
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:08 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:
What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


It is a buyers market and they can afford to be this picky.

+1

It's expensive to take a fresh law school grad and turn him into a useful, functional lawyer, and it takes a while. If a firm is going to invest 2 years of salary and other expenses in training you up, they want to make sure you're not going to bolt for NYC the first chance you get.

ThatGuyWithTheFace
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:50 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


It is a buyers market and they can afford to be this picky.

+1

It's expensive to take a fresh law school grad and turn him into a useful, functional lawyer, and it takes a while. If a firm is going to invest 2 years of salary and other expenses in training you up, they want to make sure you're not going to bolt for NYC the first chance you get.


Is this really that common, though? I don't mean the impression that it's true, but the actual event happening. It seems like small and midsize markets suffer from a serious inferiority complex if they assume anyone that isn't born and bred on their side of the state line is secretly pining to head off to the big city. There are tons of great small and midsize cities that I could easily settle down in.

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rinkrat19
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:18 pm

ThatGuyWithTheFace wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
What kind of reasoning do firms offer for this stance?


It is a buyers market and they can afford to be this picky.

+1

It's expensive to take a fresh law school grad and turn him into a useful, functional lawyer, and it takes a while. If a firm is going to invest 2 years of salary and other expenses in training you up, they want to make sure you're not going to bolt for NYC the first chance you get.


Is this really that common, though? I don't mean the impression that it's true, but the actual event happening. It seems like small and midsize markets suffer from a serious inferiority complex if they assume anyone that isn't born and bred on their side of the state line is secretly pining to head off to the big city. There are tons of great small and midsize cities that I could easily settle down in.
It's probably not as common now, when everyone's just happy to HAVE a job.
But in the end, it doesn't matter whether it's true; it matters whether the firms THINK it's true, and whether they base their hiring practices on that belief. And since people ARE still having trouble landing interviews/jobs with firms in smaller markets to which they don't have ties, they must be.

ThatGuyWithTheFace
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Re: How important are regional ties, for employment purposes?

Postby ThatGuyWithTheFace » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:22 pm

But in the end, it doesn't matter whether it's true; it matters whether the firms THINK it's true


Good point.




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