Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:I don't think that UT grads wanna hear it, but if the hiring partner is not an alum then that quote is spot on. Just because a firm is located in Texas doesn't mean that UT students get a magical bump over similarly qualified students from other school.. it is that the hiring partners/leadership from a shit ton of firms in Texas are alumni of UT.
OP you could get a job in Texas from both schools, but going to UT will get you face to face with far more employers who could hire you. Don't assume you are going to get your job through a resume/coverletter oh what school does this kid go to type of situation, because most people don't. Go to UT.
I really don't think UT students get a bump over peer school in terms of grades (maybe they do a little if it's an alum hiring or maybe outside schools get a slight boost to increase diversity of schools represented by the law firm). But that's not the reason why what the earlier quoted partner said is very misleading.
1) Say you are a top 10% student:
From UT- You are very, very likely to get biglaw in Texas (assuming not socially incompetent in interviews). The biggest risk to whiffing on biglaw is if Texas firms really don't think you want to stay in Texas. Going to UT helps alleviate this concern (but of course, it's still not a guarantee of a "I want to stay in Texas" message).
From Vandy- You are very, very likely to get biglaw in Texas (assuming not socially incompetent in interviews). The biggest risk to whiffing on biglaw is if Texas firms don't really think you want to stay in Texas. Going to Vandy does not help alleviate this concern. If you have zero ties to Texas, you need to start inventing a significant other in interviews or find some other way to convince Texas firms you really want to stay in Texas.
Advantage? UT. While a person with Texas ties should be fine from both, the risk of Texas firms being antsy about his desire to stay in Texas is higher for the Vandy student. Not a huge risk, but a non-trivial risk nonetheless.
2) Say you are a top 25% student:
From UT- Still likely to get biglaw in Texas (assuming not socially incompetent in interviews). Getting as many screening interviews with Texas firms is important to make sure you maximize chances. UT is preselect/lotto hybrid, but if you bid smart you should be able to get between 20-25 (25 is max allowed) screening interviews.
From Vandy- I'm sure that they are still likely to get biglaw in Texas. Butt how many Texas firms visit during OCI? Even if a ton go, it's hard to imagine you be able to be as strategic in targeting the firms most likely to hire you. You can probably put together a better list of reaches and safeties at UT. A vandy student will need to do more mass mailing and has less room for error.
3) Say you are a top 50% student:
Things get less certain for either UT or Vandy students. I still think if you are a good interviewer, then you should be able to find something. But I really don't have as clear of an idea for both schools when it comes to this range. The one thing I'm fairly confident in saying is that a UT student has a better shot due to more interviews and the fact that many of your screeners were median students at UT.
4) Below median?
Probably an uphill battle from either school, but UT I think has a huge advantage over Vandy in this category. Vandy person will be having to mass mail like crazy and most firms will probably not pay attention to him. UT students still can land screening interviews by targeting firms that emphasis grades less and will be in a much better position to mass mail Dallas and Houston (and drive there whenever for interviews--it's like 3 hours to each). Plus the student can try and network his ass off for the small firms in Austin and try to work there P/T during the semester.
5) Those who want to gun for bad-ass litigation boutiques?
Houston has some of the best litigation boutiques in the country (Susman Godfrey, Yetter Coleman, Gibbs & Bruns, Beck, Redden & Secrest). Dallas has some too (Bickel & Brewer, McKool Smith). You will need to be at least top 10% to be competitive for most of these places, but all these firms regularly hire UT people. Not too many schools allow students to interview with so many top litigation boutiques.
I think both UT and Vandy are great schools. Vandy might have a placement advantage over UT in most all other locations. But for Texas, it's not a controversial statement to say that UT>Vandy.