dtl wrote:Figure my experience might be useful anecdotal information here.
I grew up in California and wanted to end up here. Unfortunately my grades and LSAT were not up to snuff as far as the top CA schools were concerned. After applying nearly everywhere I decided that the U of Arizona was a better bet compared to the schools in CA I got into (USD and Loyola). My reasoning was partly that I was hoping to transfer back, and knew that the better the school I went to the easier transferring was and partly that I figured if I ended up staying at the U of Arizona the job prospects in Arizona were good enough that it may be possible to do my dues in Arizona at a mid-big firm and try to move back to CA laterally.
My first semester at the U of Arizona netted me a 3.898. Happy with this I started looking all over southern california for a 1L summer job. The fact that I was from the U of A made this much, much harder and the job prospects in Arizona were extremely tempting. There were lots and lots of rejections, and the lack of a career office well versed with California was crippling. Despite this, I ended up doing very well my second semester and getting a summer gig at a large Los Angeles based public interest firm. Still, this was not quite what I wanted regardless of how great the experience was. I applied as a transfer throughout california and ended up getting accepted at UCLA - which is where I now go.
OCI at UCLA with a 3.8 from U of Arizona was a fucking catastrophe. I completely struck out. I may not be the best interviewer in the world but I am at least average. Employers in California simply did not want a transfer student when there were such great pickings from top schools in the state and so few jobs to go around. Given that my compatriots in Arizona with lower GPA's and rankings than me were getting very good jobs in Arizona stung a bit, but at the end of the day my family is in Los Angeles and that is important to me.
I just got my grades back from UCLA and did well enough that I think I have a shot at finding a summer job. Still, who the hell knows? I lucked out in the fact that I was able to transfer and last year, even with the impending transfer, UCLA OCI (which blows away U of A's) and a high U of A GPA I was unable to land anything firm based. I am sure a pure U of A grad would have an even harder time.
Not sure if this answers your question or even helps you but given I was in your situation I figured it may be worthwhile to type out. The U of A is an awesome school with a great faculty who really gives a shit and spends time with each student. The personal touches and student/professor interaction that I got used to at the U of A are almost entirely absent at UCLA. If you are not dead set on California it is not a bad choice in and of itself.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. This is why I started this thread, hoping that I would get a response from someone that had real insight on the situation. I really want a good legal education; personal attention from the professors and the like. I mean, if I'm dishing out all this $$, that's a realistic expectation, right? I am genuinely interested in the law and I want to personally grow while in law school. Your post made me reflect both on the possibility of transferring and also the feasibility of getting a job in CA post graduation. I have a lot to think about. I just wanted you to know that you have been very, very helpful.