DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

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lawschool22
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DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:37 pm

I have done some searches on this, but most of the information that I could find is a few years old. I wanted to get an update take on this. If your goals are primarily DC BigLaw or BigFed, how should you prioritize T14 schools? I am particularly interested in anyone with actual experience on this - i.e. those who are familiar with OCI results for DC firms and agencies, 2Ls and up, or anyone actually working in a DC firm or agency.

I know the raw numbers, but I would like to (as much as possible) eliminate self-selection bias. So if you are aware of any first-hand accounts of how various schools do in DC for these two goals, please feel free to add to this thread.

Thanks!

californiauser
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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby californiauser » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:54 pm

Yale, Harvard and Stanford

Sincereley,
0L

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twenty
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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:05 pm

DC is a rough market to get into, though UVA is perhaps slightly better than its peers for getting in, and GULC is probably slightly better than its peers (i.e, Cornell and Northwestern) for getting in. HYS is really the only way to go if you want DC Biglaw for sure.

For most federal agencies (i.e, not DoJ or SEC), your school choice has either no, or almost no bearing on your getting in. HYS, Chicago and Berkeley provide a minor boost due to the grade system.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:10 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:DC is a rough market to get into, though UVA is perhaps slightly better than its peers for getting in, and GULC is probably slightly better than its peers (i.e, Cornell and Northwestern) for getting in. HYS is really the only way to go if you want DC Biglaw for sure.

For most federal agencies (i.e, not DoJ or SEC), your school choice has either no, or almost no bearing on your getting in. HYS, Chicago and Berkeley provide a minor boost due to the grade system.



Thanks for the thoughts.

Assuming I don't end up at HYS (still waiting on that unlikely JS2...), what type of things are there that the DC market is looking for? You say it's rough, and I have heard that frequently. Does this mean if you're at a school like Columbia or UVA you need to be at the top of your class (say top 25%) to have a shot at DC? Do you need to have LR? I guess what I am getting at is yes, it is a tough market, but they do have to hire people (as it is one of the top markets for NLJ250 firms), and first-years are not all coming from HYS. So a) what do graduates from other schools do to crack this market? And b) is UVA the next best bet outside of HYS?

Thanks!

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby hichvichwoh » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:29 pm

While the data I've gotten from OCS does indicate that median GPA for hiring in DC offices are higher than in the NY offices within the same firm, this doesn't really capture it. The fact is that there are just vastly fewer positions, so a good candidate who targets D.C. has a much higher chance of striking out completely than a good candidate targeting NYC.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:47 pm

hichvichwoh wrote:While the data I've gotten from OCS does indicate that median GPA for hiring in DC offices are higher than in the NY offices within the same firm, this doesn't really capture it. The fact is that there are just vastly fewer positions, so a good candidate who targets D.C. has a much higher chance of striking out completely than a good candidate targeting NYC.


Thanks for the info. Yeah I think this data might help capture the fact that there are fewer jobs available. It's from the NALP survey of 2012 graduates and shows the number of jobs that 2012 graduates secured in each city.

City -- Number of Jobs
New York -- 1,775
Chicago -- 774
Washington, DC -- 640
http://www.nalp.org/0913research

The problem is we have no idea how many students are vying for DC vs. NYC vs. Chicago, so I'm not sure this data is all that useful, but interesting nonetheless.
Last edited by lawschool22 on Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Nelson » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:47 pm

lawschool22 wrote:Thanks for the thoughts.

Assuming I don't end up at HYS (still waiting on that unlikely JS2...), what type of things are there that the DC market is looking for? You say it's rough, and I have heard that frequently. Does this mean if you're at a school like Columbia or UVA you need to be at the top of your class (say top 25%) to have a shot at DC? Do you need to have LR? I guess what I am getting at is yes, it is a tough market, but they do have to hire people (as it is one of the top markets for NLJ250 firms), and first-years are not all coming from HYS. So a) what do graduates from other schools do to crack this market? And b) is UVA the next best bet outside of HYS?

Thanks!

What school you go to doesn't matter nearly as much as your grades. DC firms are very grade selective, and the biggest DC classes are some of the most selective (Williams, Covington, Hogan, etc.).
Last edited by Nelson on Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:48 pm

Nelson wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Thanks for the thoughts.

Assuming I don't end up at HYS (still waiting on that unlikely JS2...), what type of things are there that the DC market is looking for? You say it's rough, and I have heard that frequently. Does this mean if you're at a school like Columbia or UVA you need to be at the top of your class (say top 25%) to have a shot at DC? Do you need to have LR? I guess what I am getting at is yes, it is a tough market, but they do have to hire people (as it is one of the top markets for NLJ250 firms), and first-years are not all coming from HYS. So a) what do graduates from other schools do to crack this market? And b) is UVA the next best bet outside of HYS?

Thanks!

What school you go to doesn't matter nearly as much as your grades. DC firms are very grade selective.


Thank you - good to know

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby 0913djp » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:56 pm

Nelson wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Thanks for the thoughts.

Assuming I don't end up at HYS (still waiting on that unlikely JS2...), what type of things are there that the DC market is looking for? You say it's rough, and I have heard that frequently. Does this mean if you're at a school like Columbia or UVA you need to be at the top of your class (say top 25%) to have a shot at DC? Do you need to have LR? I guess what I am getting at is yes, it is a tough market, but they do have to hire people (as it is one of the top markets for NLJ250 firms), and first-years are not all coming from HYS. So a) what do graduates from other schools do to crack this market? And b) is UVA the next best bet outside of HYS?

Thanks!

What school you go to doesn't matter nearly as much as your grades. DC firms are very grade selective, and the biggest DC classes are some of the most selective (Williams, Covington, Hogan, etc.).


This is a good response. I tend to think that top UVA students are typically successful if students target DC. Again this is relative to New York. Williams and Connolly, Covington and Burling, Arnold and Porter, Hogan and Lovells are for sure the big four and are all very small because they either have just a DC office or not many other offices.

Disclaimer: 0L who happens to know a few who work in the offices at two of the four firms mentioned above.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby jarofsoup » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:15 pm

Try to go to the best school u can as a rule of thumb. For "big fed" what ever the hell that is.....outside of the honors programs it is very random and I am increasingly seeing the positions go to clerks.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:51 pm

Honestly, I'd probably start in NYC and try to move over to DC once you've already established a job that pays 160k a year. Striking out ITE sucks.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:57 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Honestly, I'd probably start in NYC and try to move over to DC once you've already established a job that pays 160k a year. Striking out ITE sucks.


Yeah, I guess I'll have to make that call once OCI comes around and I know where I stand grade wise. The feeling I'm getting is that advice for DC is the same as any other desirable outcome: just go to the best school you can get in and get the best grades you can :D.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:13 pm

californiauser wrote:Yale, Harvard and Stanford

Sincereley,
0L

Yale, Harvard and Stanford (or top 10-20% at any of the other T14 schools)

Sincerely,
2L

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby hichvichwoh » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:21 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:Honestly, I'd probably start in NYC and try to move over to DC once you've already established a job that pays 160k a year. Striking out ITE sucks.


Yeah, I guess I'll have to make that call once OCI comes around and I know where I stand grade wise. The feeling I'm getting is that advice for DC is the same as any other desirable outcome: just go to the best school you can get in and get the best grades you can :D.


added caveat: If your school isn't in DC and you have no other ties you might wanna find a 1L internship in the city.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby jmkelly » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:37 am

0913djp wrote:
This is a good response. I tend to think that top UVA students are typically successful if students target DC. Again this is relative to New York. Williams and Connolly, Covington and Burling, Arnold and Porter, Hogan and Lovells are for sure the big four and are all very small because they either have just a DC office or not many other offices.

Disclaimer: 0L who happens to know a few who work in the offices at two of the four firms mentioned above.



The bolded is wrong / misleading.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:36 am

jmkelly wrote:
0913djp wrote:
This is a good response. I tend to think that top UVA students are typically successful if students target DC. Again this is relative to New York. Williams and Connolly, Covington and Burling, Arnold and Porter, Hogan and Lovells are for sure the big four and are all very small because they either have just a DC office or not many other offices.

Disclaimer: 0L who happens to know a few who work in the offices at two of the four firms mentioned above.



The bolded is wrong / misleading.



Lol Hogan is one of the biggest firms in the world. It has 40 offices and 2,500 attorneys, 500 of which are in the DC office. Hogan's office is like a village. There is pretty much an office of every big law firm in the country/world in DC. Some are small outpost office, but some firms have a major presence here.

Going to school in DC and interning in DC I have never thought of DC as a four firm market. If you walk down K street you are constantly passing big firms.

That being said UVA does have a strong presence here. So does the top 14. GULC and GW have strong regional placement. American and Catholic, not so good.

So if you want to work in DC I would reccommend: Going to a Top 14+like UT and Vandy, if you dont get into one look at GW.

When you include the Federal Government, DC is a massive legal market. But that being said there is no shortage of talent in DC. DC's lateral market is a bit insane.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Blindmelon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:04 am

jmkelly wrote:
0913djp wrote:
This is a good response. I tend to think that top UVA students are typically successful if students target DC. Again this is relative to New York. Williams and Connolly, Covington and Burling, Arnold and Porter, Hogan and Lovells are for sure the big four and are all very small because they either have just a DC office or not many other offices.

Disclaimer: 0L who happens to know a few who work in the offices at two of the four firms mentioned above.



The bolded is wrong / misleading.


Egregious HoLove trolling. Also, doesn't really make sense to say that x firms are the big four when these places emphasize different things. And I've also only heard big three - Cov, Wilmer, A&P. W&C isn't really full-service and so is in a different category.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:08 am

jarofsoup wrote:
jmkelly wrote:
0913djp wrote:
This is a good response. I tend to think that top UVA students are typically successful if students target DC. Again this is relative to New York. Williams and Connolly, Covington and Burling, Arnold and Porter, Hogan and Lovells are for sure the big four and are all very small because they either have just a DC office or not many other offices.

Disclaimer: 0L who happens to know a few who work in the offices at two of the four firms mentioned above.



The bolded is wrong / misleading.



Lol Hogan is one of the biggest firms in the world. It has 40 offices and 2,500 attorneys, 500 of which are in the DC office. Hogan's office is like a village. There is pretty much an office of every big law firm in the country/world in DC. Some are small outpost office, but some firms have a major presence here.

Going to school in DC and interning in DC I have never thought of DC as a four firm market. If you walk down K street you are constantly passing big firms.

That being said UVA does have a strong presence here. So does the top 14. GULC and GW have strong regional placement. American and Catholic, not so good.

So if you want to work in DC I would reccommend: Going to a Top 14+like UT and Vandy, if you dont get into one look at GW.

When you include the Federal Government, DC is a massive legal market. But that being said there is no shortage of talent in DC. DC's lateral market is a bit insane.


Thanks for the info. From what you've seen, if I don't end up at HLS, then UVA would be my next best bet? Also, at this point I've been accepted to Duke and NYU - have you seen any noticeable difference between those two schools? I know that we can't separate self-selection from placement power at a given school, but if I'm going to try and intern during my 1L year in DC, it might be nice to be closer geographically.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby 0913djp » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:43 am

For the record, I clearly wasn't trolling. Take whatever I said at the level that I said. I have zero connection to any of the above firms other than knowing paralegals at two of those (not Hogan).

Continue on with this discussion.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Alexandria » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:21 pm

I was an associate at one of the DC firms listed in this thread and went to Michigan. I'm not convinced that UVA has an advantage over comparable schools -- just that more UVA students are interested in DC. Randomly, my summer at my firm, Michigan had the most summers of any school -- though that was unusual. It was typically Harvard. Actually, I'm not really convinced that Chicago, NYU, or Columbia have an advantage, over UVA, Michigan, Boalt, Penn. Georgetown and GW are definitely well represented. It's really hard to judge, though, since it seems like not a lot of Chicago, Northwestern, Stanford, Boalt people are trying to go to DC.

You definitely also see a handful of George Mason, Maryland, Catholic, UNC people around as well -- though I'm sure they did exceptionally well. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other schools among the people I know. Oh, I do know a Minnesota grad.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:57 am

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Alexandria
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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:23 am

I don't know. I mean, I'm certainly not saying there is definitely no advantage, but it's not clear to me that there is one, or, if there is, that it is significant. 9 percent versus 12 percent isn't particularly striking, since we don't know what percentage of those classes were trying to get into DC in particular.

Just from personal experience in one of those firms, I didn't get the impression that CCN were held in higher esteem or considered to be in a different tier than UVA, Michigan, etc. H and Y were definitely in a different league, so if I ever felt any kind of inferiority complex, it was about not being in one of those two clubs. An anecdote to sort of illustrate my experience -- once, I was in an elevator with two partners/senior counsel in their 70s. I guess this must have been when Kagan was nominated and/or confirmed. The two partners had evidently gone to Harvard, and they were gloating about the fact that they had a majority of the SCOTUS justices, "beating" their Yale colleagues at the firm. It made me want to vomit.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby crit_racer » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:53 am

whoever said that grades are more important than school is absolutely right, IMO. I'm at UT and was in the top 10% going into OCI. I was offered W&C and Covington. Some of my friends at CCN, etc who aren't in the top 10% were shut out by DC and shocked that I was able to make it in. I think wherever you go, you need to absolutely KILL IT to crack DC. If you don't do well after 1L year, bid NY and don't waste your time on DC (especially if you go to CCN, where NY is basically guaranteed so long as you aren't bottom of the class)

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby lawschool22 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:45 pm

So the consensus seems to be that there is a distinct advantage for HYS and breaking into DC. But for CCN vs other schools like UVA, it is a bit murky.

Do we have any idea what the advantage is for a school like H? If we're talking about needing to be top 10% for lower T14, what is the approximate cutoff for Harvard grade wise? How about for CCN? How about UVA et al.?

What I'm eventually going to be choosing between is likely H (no $), CCN ($), and rest of T14 ($$), and I am trying to guesstimate the marginal increase in value of each school as you move up in rankings to see what makes the most sense for someone targeting DC, while weighing that increase against the increase in total COA.

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Re: DC Biglaw and/or Bigfed - which schools?

Postby Alexandria » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:18 pm

lawschool22 wrote:So the consensus seems to be that there is a distinct advantage for HYS and breaking into DC. But for CCN vs other schools like UVA, it is a bit murky.

Do we have any idea what the advantage is for a school like H? If we're talking about needing to be top 10% for lower T14, what is the approximate cutoff for Harvard grade wise? How about for CCN? How about UVA et al.?

What I'm eventually going to be choosing between is likely H (no $), CCN ($), and rest of T14 ($$), and I am trying to guesstimate the marginal increase in value of each school as you move up in rankings to see what makes the most sense for someone targeting DC, while weighing that increase against the increase in total COA.


One thing I wonder is -- why DC? Is it just geographic, or are you interested in a particular type of practice? The thing that makes DC practice great to me is all of the interesting substantive niches you can get into, rather than just being a generic litigation or corporate associate. If you do have a reason to go into a particular regulatory area -- like a history in labor relations or a burning desire to do FDA work, faculty expertise in those areas is something you might want to consider in picking from among relatively similarly situated law schools. But none of that is going to change the fact that you have to have great grades to get your foot in the door for an interview. It might just give you an edge in an interview over a more "generic" candidate. My firm, for example, definitely cared about what my substantive interests were, and I was interviewed and taken to lunch by attorneys in those areas.




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