TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

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TaipeiMort
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby TaipeiMort » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:11 am

Dudes I'm just messing and shouldn't have taken the bait. The HLS faculty is baller. If you could game the bidding system or whatever they have to get them then it would be awesome. But, is that really why someone goes to Harvard? I would go to Harvard in order to have the best possible high-end of the curve opportunities at any school in the world, to network with the HBS kids, and be seen as elite the rest of my life.

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danitt
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby danitt » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:25 am

Desert Fox wrote:This is pointless to argue about. How firms value "value of significant, relevant work experience" wildly varies and doesn't appear to significantly change the calculus on where to go to school.

Very few people have "value of significant, relevant work experience" in law school. Even in schools like Northwestern that require W/E.

I've always wondered what that even entails because people value experience differently. It's a crap shoot.

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TaipeiMort
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby TaipeiMort » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:37 am

danitt wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:This is pointless to argue about. How firms value "value of significant, relevant work experience" wildly varies and doesn't appear to significantly change the calculus on where to go to school.

Very few people have "value of significant, relevant work experience" in law school. Even in schools like Northwestern that require W/E.

I've always wondered what that even entails because people value experience differently. It's a crap shoot.


As I said earlier,

Deals firm value significant work experience-- something that makes their 100-person M&A project look nice an valuable to a Fortune 500 client. They don't care about your connections or experience, just how prestigous you look. They might care about knowledge once you become the one of your 100-person starting class who makes partner.

Business firms value experience that is relevant to their area of work. You will likely be staffed in conjunction with a partner on 5-10 clients' work. Because you may be the primary contact to these people, relevant work experience within their industry, practice, or with client interfacing and communication skills is valuable.

Litigation firms wont care.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:49 am

TaipeiMort wrote:
Bronck wrote:Yeah, because a lot of us have worked at places like Goldman before law school. This thread is stupid.


No, but if you target firms with business practices you should be able to build up a resume which targets what those firms are looking for. I received callbacks from every business firm I interviewed with except for a couple, which I wasn't able to tailor my background to. The key is being able to self-market the relevant experience you have. If you don't have any relevant experience, target deals or litigation.

Business firms are looking for fit. Deals firms are looking for prestige. Litigation firms are looking for brains.


Since you're completely making up terminology, would you like to explain your terminology? Business firms versus deal firms versus litigation firms?

And, I don't buy much of your argument. Quality of law school and grades trump everything else.

MrAnon
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby MrAnon » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:52 am

You are not going to have enough experience in 3 years working at a Fortune 500 that anyone would trust you with clients.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:08 pm

Yeah, I don't know what a "deals firm" or a "business firm" is, but I do know that in my experience, all kinds of firms just seemed to hire people based on grades + personality + work experience + academic background, in that order. Still gotta go to the best school you can and get the best grades you can, so having work experience doesn't change that calculus. Also, the notion that Chicago is an especially good fit for someone (over, say, CLS or NYU) due to their specific work experience is lulzy. It doesn't matter.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby CCN-S Transfer » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:53 pm

slsorhls wrote:
SLS students are generally a hotter commodity (especially on the East Coast) due to their rarity relative to HLS kids. However, I am wondering if a couple of years of good work experience would help this person get similar results out of HLS.


Over and over I've seen this claim put forward on TLS--that SLS students have an edge on the East Coast because of the rarity of the degree. I think that is 100% false. I've never seen any data that support it, and it defies common sense.


I have. SLS releases OCI results from the previous year to students going into OCI. I've seen V5s in NYC give offers to 75% of people who do a screener.

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Ph1neas
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby Ph1neas » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:14 pm

Taipei, would someone with 8+ years of HR experience for a Fortune 100 company be marketable in practice areas other than employment and labor. how about corporate law or even corporate litigation?

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby JusticeHarlan » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:14 pm

TaipeiMort wrote:Percentage State TTT Clerkships versus A3 Clerkships (Non-prestigous wash-out clerkships versus Real) :

Harvard: 27-percent (32 People)

The source you linked to says 26 people, not 32, doing state/local clerkships. Where is this number from?

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby snehpets » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:17 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Yeah, I don't know what a "deals firm" or a "business firm" is, but I do know that in my experience, all kinds of firms just seemed to hire people based on grades + personality + work experience + academic background, in that order. Still gotta go to the best school you can and get the best grades you can, so having work experience doesn't change that calculus. Also, the notion that Chicago is an especially good fit for someone (over, say, CLS or NYU) due to their specific work experience is lulzy. It doesn't matter.


Pretty sure you're wrong. Chicago is a T5 school AND it doesn't have a diluted faculty. Being at a T6 school you wouldn't understand...

:wink:

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TaipeiMort
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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby TaipeiMort » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:52 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
TaipeiMort wrote:
Bronck wrote:Yeah, because a lot of us have worked at places like Goldman before law school. This thread is stupid.


No, but if you target firms with business practices you should be able to build up a resume which targets what those firms are looking for. I received callbacks from every business firm I interviewed with except for a couple, which I wasn't able to tailor my background to. The key is being able to self-market the relevant experience you have. If you don't have any relevant experience, target deals or litigation.

Business firms are looking for fit. Deals firms are looking for prestige. Litigation firms are looking for brains.


Since you're completely making up terminology, would you like to explain your terminology? Business firms versus deal firms versus litigation firms?

And, I don't buy much of your argument. Quality of law school and grades trump everything else.


I am not making up terminology. Within the imprecise category of "corporate law" there are two subsets:

Business-- Within this category a firm continually provides particular services to the same clients. They are essentially augmenting the continuing needs of inhouse teams because of their specialized knowledge. For example, Kirkland has a significant practice dedicated towards serving the various needs of private equity clients. VC, tax, benefits, HR, entity formation, FCPA compliance all are examples of services that are provided by business firms. Many of these firms have one partner and one associate serving each client.

Deals-- These firms/groups are geared towards larger transactions. Two major examples are M&A and capital market/IPO deals. M&A groups will not center around one client, and major companies will have panels with sometimes 5-6 firms which rotate on these deals due to conflict issues. Some of these transactions last years and include 100+ attorneys per deal. When you say "I want NYC biglaw" the chances are good that you will end up in one of these groups.

For business groups relevant work experience is much more important. For deals groups grades and school matter a lot more.

If you have the relevant experience for a business group, your chances of obtaining a biglaw position in this area is greatly improved. So, going to a T14 instead of T6 is justified. Going to a smaller school like Cornell Stanford Chicago or Yale is also more important because the chances of being the only person in your class with the relevant experience is higher.

For deals firms going to the best school possible is better. However, I believe that Columbia Harvard Penn and NYU may have an edge over some of the other T14s because their grads are signaling an interest to be in New York, and Big Deals firms gobble up students from these schools.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby crumpledq » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:21 pm

I can't speak much to biglaw , but as someone who has worked (and hired) in both government and in non-profit policy organizations, relevant pre-law-school work experience can be critical for PI jobs. Policy and impact litigation orgs, especially, want to see that you have substantive knowledge and experience with their issues, experience lobbying/advocating, and experience with coalition-building and working with other orgs in your issue community. Not that you can't get a PI job without relevant experience, it just might put you at a significant disadvantage when competing against the many other applicants who do have that experience.

And although I can't speak to biglaw generally, a large part of how my spouse got his biglaw job was extensive work and clinical experience in the very specialized practice area he currently works in If you are looking to go into a very specialized practice, having work experience in that area can make you stand out from the other applicants who just want to be in litigation or another major practice area. It does close off some practice area options, of course, but if you know exactly what you want to do it can really pay off (as it did for my husband).

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby slsorhls » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:25 pm

I have. SLS releases OCI results from the previous year to students going into OCI. I've seen V5s in NYC give offers to 75% of people who do a screener.[/quote]


Is that info available by request? Is it tainted because only people with the best grades are applying? From looking at rosters for V5, the hls and sls people seem to have similar qualifications. Didn't see any median stanford kids. But you're suggesting even a median kid would do great

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby hung jury » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:02 pm

slsorhls wrote: Is that info available by request? Is it tainted because only people with the best grades are applying? From looking at rosters for V5, the hls and sls people seem to have similar qualifications. Didn't see any median stanford kids. But you're suggesting even a median kid would do great


Wait, how do you know whether you saw Stanford "kids" who were at median or below? Are V5s listing our grades on websites?

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby slsorhls » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:14 pm

Law review, latin honors, etc.-- best estimate.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby hung jury » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:41 pm

slsorhls wrote:Law review, latin honors, etc.-- best estimate.


I looked at the SLS 2010 data and every V5 placement was placed without grade-on law review or latin honors. I've concluded we send the bottom of our class to the V5. HTH.

In all seriousness, try asking admissions if they'll part with the data. It's for internal use so we can't share it.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby chasgoose » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:58 pm

slsorhls wrote:
SLS students are generally a hotter commodity (especially on the East Coast) due to their rarity relative to HLS kids. However, I am wondering if a couple of years of good work experience would help this person get similar results out of HLS.


Over and over I've seen this claim put forward on TLS--that SLS students have an edge on the East Coast because of the rarity of the degree. I think that is 100% false. I've never seen any data that support it, and it defies common sense.

Common sense is that nothing beats Harvard when it comes to East Coast biglaw or big-anything. I can see a good argument actually for some firms questioning an SLS grad's commitment to working and staying on the East Coast if he's spent his entire life in California. Meanwhile, no one is going to question someone who went to Harvard. Harvard is Harvard. Harvard and Yale are truly the only two law schools where opportunities abound across the country, and students really spread out (and for Harvard arguably all over the world). SLS students self-select to stay in California largely.

I'm more concerned about someone who is fine but doesn't really stand out from the rest of her classmates in terms of interviewing skills/academic record. This person would generally be better off interviewing for big firms at SLS because there will be fewer classmates that are just like her


I don't think the average student at HLS or SLS is going to have trouble landing a good job. Any difference will be on the margins. Again, from what I've seen, students who strike out at HLS strike out because of bad bidding strategy and/or personality traits/bad interviewing (i.e. creepy, not just average).


I think comparatively, there isn't much difference between an HLS and an SLS grad for big law employers in terms of desirability. All top firms want graduates from both. The difference is that at SLS, there aren't nearly as many people to go around so firms can't be quite as picky if they want an SLS person in their SA class. If every V50 firm took 3 SLS students (across all offices), that would more than exhaust the number that even wanted big law in any given class, whereas at HLS, there would still be 400 more looking for jobs.

The big difference comes at the bottom of HLS/SLS. Being in the bottom 10-25% at HLS is still a risky position, since firms will still have no problem finding SA's from the class. At SLS, there will still be firms that take a similarly ranked student just to get someone from SLS (they won't be V10 firms or fancy litigation boutiques, but they will be market-paying biglaw firms). Being in the top third at HLS/SLS won't make much of a difference, at median SLS students will probably have a slightly easier time getting a more "prestigious" firm but still their opportunities probably will be similar to those of a median HLS student, but at the bottom, SLS students have a much easier time than they do at HLS.

Note that this logic does not extend to Chicago for two reasons. First, Chicago grads aren't as desirable as SLS grads to the point that a firm will overlook a poor ranking just to say they hired someone from Chicago. Second, the fact that Chicago has a numerical grade system makes it much easier to determine who the bottom students are and harder for a firm to gloss over a poor GPA.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:46 am

TaipeiMort wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
TaipeiMort wrote:
Bronck wrote:Yeah, because a lot of us have worked at places like Goldman before law school. This thread is stupid.


No, but if you target firms with business practices you should be able to build up a resume which targets what those firms are looking for. I received callbacks from every business firm I interviewed with except for a couple, which I wasn't able to tailor my background to. The key is being able to self-market the relevant experience you have. If you don't have any relevant experience, target deals or litigation.

Business firms are looking for fit. Deals firms are looking for prestige. Litigation firms are looking for brains.


Since you're completely making up terminology, would you like to explain your terminology? Business firms versus deal firms versus litigation firms?

And, I don't buy much of your argument. Quality of law school and grades trump everything else.


I am not making up terminology. Within the imprecise category of "corporate law" there are two subsets:

Business-- Within this category a firm continually provides particular services to the same clients. They are essentially augmenting the continuing needs of inhouse teams because of their specialized knowledge. For example, Kirkland has a significant practice dedicated towards serving the various needs of private equity clients. VC, tax, benefits, HR, entity formation, FCPA compliance all are examples of services that are provided by business firms. Many of these firms have one partner and one associate serving each client.

Deals-- These firms/groups are geared towards larger transactions. Two major examples are M&A and capital market/IPO deals. M&A groups will not center around one client, and major companies will have panels with sometimes 5-6 firms which rotate on these deals due to conflict issues. Some of these transactions last years and include 100+ attorneys per deal. When you say "I want NYC biglaw" the chances are good that you will end up in one of these groups.

For business groups relevant work experience is much more important. For deals groups grades and school matter a lot more.

If you have the relevant experience for a business group, your chances of obtaining a biglaw position in this area is greatly improved. So, going to a T14 instead of T6 is justified. Going to a smaller school like Cornell Stanford Chicago or Yale is also more important because the chances of being the only person in your class with the relevant experience is higher.

For deals firms going to the best school possible is better. However, I believe that Columbia Harvard Penn and NYU may have an edge over some of the other T14s because their grads are signaling an interest to be in New York, and Big Deals firms gobble up students from these schools.


Calling firms "business firms" versus "deal firms" is a bit silly. Many/most of the V10, for example, do all of what you list under each category that you've developed. Plus, there tends to be considerable flexibility in what practice group you actually end up in. And, there is significant overlap between the groups. Tax groups and ERISA groups tend to get involved in deals doing regulatory due diligence.

And, I'm not sure how much a 1L's (or 2L?) view really adds.

I don't think anyone here would really disagree that work experience matters; however, it is only 1 factor among many and it certainly doesn't trump school+grades.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby chasgoose » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:35 pm

vamedic03 wrote:Calling firms "business firms" versus "deal firms" is a bit silly. Many/most of the V10, for example, do all of what you list under each category that you've developed. Plus, there tends to be considerable flexibility in what practice group you actually end up in. And, there is significant overlap between the groups. Tax groups and ERISA groups tend to get involved in deals doing regulatory due diligence.

And, I'm not sure how much a 1L's (or 2L?) view really adds.

I don't think anyone here would really disagree that work experience matters; however, it is only 1 factor among many and it certainly doesn't trump school+grades.


Based on my experience, WE matters the most for 1L jobs. Grades are of course the first cutoff, but there are still far more people with the requisite grades (especially considering that outside of the tippy top people, everyone gets mushed together by the fact that there are only so many possible combinations of grades from 1 set of exams) in the T14 (even HYS) than there are positions. Based on what I saw, you needed top 1/3rd or so grades AND good WE to land a 1L SA job. Once you crossed the grade threshold, the difference between people who got hired and those that didn't almost completely was made by WE, ie straight-throughs with top 5% grades struck out while people who were just at the top 1/3rd mark or a little lower but who had solid WE got offers.

I think this still probably continues to a certain extent in 2L hiring. While higher GPA is always better, except at the 5-10 most selective firms, once you are above a certain GPA cutoff, they care more about other things on your resume. Once again, a top 1/3rd GPA at some schools can still mean there are 100+ people with the same GPA or better and since there are fewer slots, WE becomes more important than grade differentials. Solid, applicable WE is more difficult to come by in law schools than a high GPA since most people with the type of WE that a firm would value DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL because they already have a good job. GPA is not a very precise predictor of success as a lawyer, it can be used as a threshold inquiry to provide a range of potential candidates through cutoffs, but beyond that, the difference between someone in the top 25% and the top 10% is probably 1 or 2 grades and firms are more likely to use WE to make a decision between such students than grades. WE probably does come into play for all but the most hyper-selective grade conscious firms (and even then, good luck getting a job at say WLRK with just top 10% grades at a T6, they want and get people with both top 10% grades and solid financial WE) and people with good WE and good enough grades do better than those with nothing and slightly higher grades.

That said, it's still stupid to go to a lower-ranked school banking on the fact that your WE will allow you to overcome any GPA mishaps that may happen 1L year w/o decent $$ to make up the difference. WE might get you the offer, but your school plus GPA are largely going to be the most determinative factors in getting a callback. You won't get any offers w/o callbacks.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby slsorhls » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:02 pm

chasgoose wrote:
slsorhls wrote:
SLS students are generally a hotter commodity (especially on the East Coast) due to their rarity relative to HLS kids. However, I am wondering if a couple of years of good work experience would help this person get similar results out of HLS.


Over and over I've seen this claim put forward on TLS--that SLS students have an edge on the East Coast because of the rarity of the degree. I think that is 100% false. I've never seen any data that support it, and it defies common sense.

Common sense is that nothing beats Harvard when it comes to East Coast biglaw or big-anything. I can see a good argument actually for some firms questioning an SLS grad's commitment to working and staying on the East Coast if he's spent his entire life in California. Meanwhile, no one is going to question someone who went to Harvard. Harvard is Harvard. Harvard and Yale are truly the only two law schools where opportunities abound across the country, and students really spread out (and for Harvard arguably all over the world). SLS students self-select to stay in California largely.

I'm more concerned about someone who is fine but doesn't really stand out from the rest of her classmates in terms of interviewing skills/academic record. This person would generally be better off interviewing for big firms at SLS because there will be fewer classmates that are just like her


I don't think the average student at HLS or SLS is going to have trouble landing a good job. Any difference will be on the margins. Again, from what I've seen, students who strike out at HLS strike out because of bad bidding strategy and/or personality traits/bad interviewing (i.e. creepy, not just average).


The big difference comes at the bottom of HLS/SLS. Being in the bottom 10-25% at HLS is still a risky position, since firms will still have no problem finding SA's from the class. At SLS, there will still be firms that take a similarly ranked student just to get someone from SLS (they won't be V10 firms or fancy litigation boutiques, but they will be market-paying biglaw firms). Being in the top third at HLS/SLS won't make much of a difference, at median SLS students will probably have a slightly easier time getting a more "prestigious" firm but still their opportunities probably will be similar to those of a median HLS student, but at the bottom, SLS students have a much easier time than they do at HLS.


There are a couple issues with this. First, and this is a huge issue we've been overlooking for awhile, it's actually not that easy to determine who is at the bottom of the class. If we're talking about people with LPs, at HLS today that means people who really didn't put in the work. And despite what some people have said, there really are people at HLS who don't put in the work. You have to earn an LP in a sense. It doesn't happen by accident.

Where does that leave us? Well, it means that the previous reasoning may in fact be correct, BUT it wouldn't mean trouble for the bottom of the class. It would mean trouble for people who are really bad at interviewing or have no work experience.

BUT, I want to question a little bit of this. Are there really firms out there that get 1-3 SLS grads every class and insist on always getting them? I doubt a firm would go to the length of getting a really bad SLS candidate just so that they can say they hired an SLS grad in every class. But perhaps I'm wrong?

If every V50 firm took 3 SLS students (across all offices), that would more than exhaust the number that even wanted big law in any given class, whereas at HLS, there would still be 400 more looking for jobs.


This is the same misleading reasoning someone else put forward earlier. These firms hire many more HLS grads than SLS grads. So the baseline for HLS grads is much higher than the baseline for SLS grads. They realize that HLS has a lot more grads, and they are more than happy to accept more HLS grads as a result. Each school, in fact, seems to end up with proportionate numbers among V50 firms. I have seen some firms where SLS is slightly over-represented. But it seems like this could be offset by other firms where they hire a particularly large number from HLS.

Additionally, the relatively large SLS representation, as I've pointed out before, could be because the students who go to SLS happen to be more employable. In other words, student A would have equally good results from either school. But in overall numbers, SLS could do better because they happen to have more students who are employable. The firms don't say "Stanford has a lot of good students, so we'll give a bump to everyone there." They evaluate the candidates individually, and SLS, because of the admissions process, happens to have a lot more well-rounded candidates, as opposed to some HLS students who may be very smart, but horrible at interviewing.

Another point here: a lot of noise is made about SLS grads having a much better shot at Silicon Valley/SF positions. But an HLS student with a legitimate tie to that geographic area/practice area apparently would find no trouble getting a position. And the reverse argument about degree rarity would apply here as well. If you look at some of the firms like Wilson Sonsini, I'm guessing you'll find less HLS grads and plenty of SLS. In that case, maybe firms would appreciate adding a few more Harvard grads. The same thing could even apply to a lesser degree among other California firms.

(I have to point out I'm not sure I believe the degree rarity idea for either case--SLS better on the East Coast or HLS better on the West Coast. But if the two possibilities sort of cancel each other out, then it's a wash no matter what.)

So even if there were stats that showed better results for SLS, it's really hard to say whether that means student A would in fact have better opportunities from SLS. The best argument I've seen would be the one you've mentioned, but I'd like to see real data that indicate firms would go out of their way to hire SLS students just so they can ensure they have them in their classes.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby slsorhls » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:21 pm

I just looked at the stats for the Class of 2010. 68 SLS grads in CA; 52 HLS grads. Looks like the degree rarity argument wouldn't hold in CA. If anything, like I said, there are probably a number of firms (ESPECIALLY Palo Alto and San Francisco) where the argument could work the other way in favor of Harvard.

Of course, I've never heard anyone make that argument. If anything, it's the opposite--TLS'ers often say SLS gives much better opportunities in Palo Alto and San Francisco.

That further leads me to believe that the degree rarity argument doesn't hold in either case. It seems likely that HLS will have the upper hand on the East Coast (especially Boston), SLS will have the upper hand on the West Coast (especially Northern California), and the degree rarity talk is nonsense.

That's assuming the advantage talk is right, of course. It's also possible it's all due to self selection, firms that want local ties, and other issues. Then taking all that into consideration, both schools are relatively equal across the country when it comes to jobs right after law school. I'm not sure about later on.

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Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby ph14 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:37 pm

slsorhls wrote:
chasgoose wrote:
slsorhls wrote:
SLS students are generally a hotter commodity (especially on the East Coast) due to their rarity relative to HLS kids. However, I am wondering if a couple of years of good work experience would help this person get similar results out of HLS.


Over and over I've seen this claim put forward on TLS--that SLS students have an edge on the East Coast because of the rarity of the degree. I think that is 100% false. I've never seen any data that support it, and it defies common sense.

Common sense is that nothing beats Harvard when it comes to East Coast biglaw or big-anything. I can see a good argument actually for some firms questioning an SLS grad's commitment to working and staying on the East Coast if he's spent his entire life in California. Meanwhile, no one is going to question someone who went to Harvard. Harvard is Harvard. Harvard and Yale are truly the only two law schools where opportunities abound across the country, and students really spread out (and for Harvard arguably all over the world). SLS students self-select to stay in California largely.

I'm more concerned about someone who is fine but doesn't really stand out from the rest of her classmates in terms of interviewing skills/academic record. This person would generally be better off interviewing for big firms at SLS because there will be fewer classmates that are just like her


I don't think the average student at HLS or SLS is going to have trouble landing a good job. Any difference will be on the margins. Again, from what I've seen, students who strike out at HLS strike out because of bad bidding strategy and/or personality traits/bad interviewing (i.e. creepy, not just average).


The big difference comes at the bottom of HLS/SLS. Being in the bottom 10-25% at HLS is still a risky position, since firms will still have no problem finding SA's from the class. At SLS, there will still be firms that take a similarly ranked student just to get someone from SLS (they won't be V10 firms or fancy litigation boutiques, but they will be market-paying biglaw firms). Being in the top third at HLS/SLS won't make much of a difference, at median SLS students will probably have a slightly easier time getting a more "prestigious" firm but still their opportunities probably will be similar to those of a median HLS student, but at the bottom, SLS students have a much easier time than they do at HLS.


There are a couple issues with this. First, and this is a huge issue we've been overlooking for awhile, it's actually not that easy to determine who is at the bottom of the class. If we're talking about people with LPs, at HLS today that means people who really didn't put in the work. And despite what some people have said, there really are people at HLS who don't put in the work. You have to earn an LP in a sense. It doesn't happen by accident.

Where does that leave us? Well, it means that the previous reasoning may in fact be correct, BUT it wouldn't mean trouble for the bottom of the class. It would mean trouble for people who are really bad at interviewing or have no work experience.

BUT, I want to question a little bit of this. Are there really firms out there that get 1-3 SLS grads every class and insist on always getting them? I doubt a firm would go to the length of getting a really bad SLS candidate just so that they can say they hired an SLS grad in every class. But perhaps I'm wrong?

If every V50 firm took 3 SLS students (across all offices), that would more than exhaust the number that even wanted big law in any given class, whereas at HLS, there would still be 400 more looking for jobs.


This is the same misleading reasoning someone else put forward earlier. These firms hire many more HLS grads than SLS grads. So the baseline for HLS grads is much higher than the baseline for SLS grads. They realize that HLS has a lot more grads, and they are more than happy to accept more HLS grads as a result. Each school, in fact, seems to end up with proportionate numbers among V50 firms. I have seen some firms where SLS is slightly over-represented. But it seems like this could be offset by other firms where they hire a particularly large number from HLS.

Additionally, the relatively large SLS representation, as I've pointed out before, could be because the students who go to SLS happen to be more employable. In other words, student A would have equally good results from either school. But in overall numbers, SLS could do better because they happen to have more students who are employable. The firms don't say "Stanford has a lot of good students, so we'll give a bump to everyone there." They evaluate the candidates individually, and SLS, because of the admissions process, happens to have a lot more well-rounded candidates, as opposed to some HLS students who may be very smart, but horrible at interviewing.

Another point here: a lot of noise is made about SLS grads having a much better shot at Silicon Valley/SF positions. But an HLS student with a legitimate tie to that geographic area/practice area apparently would find no trouble getting a position. And the reverse argument about degree rarity would apply here as well. If you look at some of the firms like Wilson Sonsini, I'm guessing you'll find less HLS grads and plenty of SLS. In that case, maybe firms would appreciate adding a few more Harvard grads. The same thing could even apply to a lesser degree among other California firms.

(I have to point out I'm not sure I believe the degree rarity idea for either case--SLS better on the East Coast or HLS better on the West Coast. But if the two possibilities sort of cancel each other out, then it's a wash no matter what.)

So even if there were stats that showed better results for SLS, it's really hard to say whether that means student A would in fact have better opportunities from SLS. The best argument I've seen would be the one you've mentioned, but I'd like to see real data that indicate firms would go out of their way to hire SLS students just so they can ensure they have them in their classes.


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abacus
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:05 am

Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby abacus » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:10 pm

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Last edited by abacus on Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

slsorhls
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: TLS' Ignored Factor in Picking a School: Own Work Experience

Postby slsorhls » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:36 am

abacus wrote:Having spoken to SLS students, I have gotten the sense that anyone who wants a V20 job can get it (especially in NYC). The HLS students just say "anyone who wants a biglaw job can get it" or "even people with LPs get jobs." I just get the sense that a considerably larger portion of the SLS class has access to the top jobs and their pick of firms. I've sorta been leaning towards HLS, but this sort of stuff definitely gives me pause.


Putting aside biglaw for a minute, I've seen troubling things about SLS as well. I think I read something from Dean Kramer in the SLS magazine/something for alumni that talked about how students were in deep trouble when it came to public interest jobs. I've seen that a number of HLS students interested in public interest were also in some trouble though.

But it's really hard to believe that somehow SLS is a magic pill where students can get in to any prestigious firm they choose. For one thing, we don't really know what the stats would look like if a larger portion of the class were looking for jobs outside of California. I don't see any other reasons firms would prefer SLS other than the degree rarity argument, and for some of the reasons I've already stated, I don't know how strong of a factor that is.




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