Berkeley for SF big law?

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Waydowninthehole
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Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby Waydowninthehole » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:20 pm

Hey guys.

I was accepted at boalt not too long ago and was wondering how well it placed in SF big law. I know it's a great school for CA prospects and I heard it does great in LA, but whenever I hear people talking about how tough the SF Market is to crack, I begin to have doubts. I've heard stuff like it's only HYS+ boalties with straight HHs who can feel comfortable in their chances come OCI. Is this true? I'm a male urm (probably doesn't mean anything, but I felt I should share in case it does). Also, some info on Silicon Valley would be nice (not IP law).

if possible, could you guys rank the top 6 or 10 schools for likelihood to get SF big law, excluding people who have ties to the region?

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Ramius
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby Ramius » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:26 pm

Although LST only bores out based on state, there is ample evidence that boalt is likely as good as any school for SF big law. Obviously HYS outperform pretty much everywhere, you can't pick another better school than boalt for SF big law.

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rpupkin
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:42 pm

Waydowninthehole wrote:Hey guys.

I've heard stuff like it's only HYS+ boalties with straight HHs who can feel comfortable in their chances come OCI. Is this true?

Not true at all. Even Boalties at median--i.e., no HHs and more Ps than Hs--have a shot at SF big law. And folks in the top 25% have a very good chance. Yeah, it's a tight market and you'll hear stories of Boalties with good grades who would prefer SF but end up in LA or NYC, but going to Boalt gives you a fighting chance at the SF market without top grades and without ties. If you're at some other non-HYS T14 school with middling grades and no ties, you'll need a lot of luck.


Waydowninthehole wrote: I'm a male urm (probably doesn't mean anything, but I felt I should share in case it does). Also, some info on Silicon Valley would be nice (not IP law).

The fact that you are a URM definitely means something. Plenty of law firms (in SF and elsewhere) are itching to increase their diversity by adding URM associates. It can be especially helpful for landing a 1L SA position.

As for Silicon Valley, most of the offices have an IP focus. It's not uncommon for big law firms to have their non-IP practices in a San Francisco office and an IP practice in a Palo Alto/Redwood Shores/Menlo Park office.


Waydowninthehole wrote:if possible, could you guys rank the top 6 or 10 schools for likelihood to get SF big law, excluding people who have ties to the region?

If you don't have ties to the region, then it's HYS>B>rest-of-T14. I don't think it's worth getting more granular than that. I mean, I'm sure you can find examples of some SF hiring partner who thinks that Chicago is better than, say, Penn; or thinks that CLS is better than Michigan. Overall, though, I don't think firms in SF adhere to the T14 sub-tiers that TLS worships.

If your goal is SF big law, and if you don't get into one of HYS, then it would be silly to turn down Boalt for some other school (unless that other school offered you a big scholly that Boalt won't match).

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worldtraveler
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:55 pm

There are about 2 people at Boalt r who get straight HHs every year and way more than that get big law options in SF.

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Redamon1
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby Redamon1 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:32 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Waydowninthehole wrote:Hey guys.

I've heard stuff like it's only HYS+ boalties with straight HHs who can feel comfortable in their chances come OCI. Is this true?

Not true at all. Even Boalties at median--i.e., no HHs and more Ps than Hs--have a shot at SF big law. And folks in the top 25% have a very good chance. Yeah, it's a tight market and you'll hear stories of Boalties with good grades who would prefer SF but end up in LA or NYC, but going to Boalt gives you a fighting chance at the SF market without top grades and without ties. If you're at some other non-HYS T14 school with middling grades and no ties, you'll need a lot of luck.


Waydowninthehole wrote: I'm a male urm (probably doesn't mean anything, but I felt I should share in case it does). Also, some info on Silicon Valley would be nice (not IP law).

The fact that you are a URM definitely means something. Plenty of law firms (in SF and elsewhere) are itching to increase their diversity by adding URM associates. It can be especially helpful for landing a 1L SA position.

As for Silicon Valley, most of the offices have an IP focus. It's not uncommon for big law firms to have their non-IP practices in a San Francisco office and an IP practice in a Palo Alto/Redwood Shores/Menlo Park office.


Waydowninthehole wrote:if possible, could you guys rank the top 6 or 10 schools for likelihood to get SF big law, excluding people who have ties to the region?

If you don't have ties to the region, then it's HYS>B>rest-of-T14. I don't think it's worth getting more granular than that. I mean, I'm sure you can find examples of some SF hiring partner who thinks that Chicago is better than, say, Penn; or thinks that CLS is better than Michigan. Overall, though, I don't think firms in SF adhere to the T14 sub-tiers that TLS worships.

If your goal is SF big law, and if you don't get into one of HYS, then it would be silly to turn down Boalt for some other school (unless that other school offered you a big scholly that Boalt won't match).


This entirely.

kolokena
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby kolokena » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:43 pm

H or Y *might* get you SF big law, but that's all dependent on your grades and ties to the area. Going to Berkeley on the other hand, is itself considered a "tie" e.g. you live there now, you love it, etc. etc. The Berkeley grading system can't be beat (even some Ps on your 1L transcript would give you a fighting shot at SF big law, and a P can mean you just barely passed a class). Not sure how Stanford does w/ SF big law but Berkeley has nearly 100% of the reputable firms in the bay area attend OCI. And, the "blind" bidding system at Berkeley OCI ensures that you'll get 20 interviews with your top choice firms (law firms cannot screen you off their call sheet before the interviews). Considering the size of the SF market, I don't think you can beat Berkeley.

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ArtistOfManliness
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:52 pm

kolokena wrote:H or Y *might* get you SF big law, but that's all dependent on your grades and ties to the area. Going to Berkeley on the other hand, is itself considered a "tie" e.g. you live there now, you love it, etc. etc. The Berkeley grading system can't be beat (even some Ps on your 1L transcript would give you a fighting shot at SF big law, and a P can mean you just barely passed a class). Not sure how Stanford does w/ SF big law but Berkeley has nearly 100% of the reputable firms in the bay area attend OCI. And, the "blind" bidding system at Berkeley OCI ensures that you'll get 20 interviews with your top choice firms (law firms cannot screen you off their call sheet before the interviews). Considering the size of the SF market, I don't think you can beat Berkeley.


With no factual basis for this, I will allege that SLS does just as well.

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rpupkin
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:08 pm

ArtistOfManliness wrote:
kolokena wrote:H or Y *might* get you SF big law, but that's all dependent on your grades and ties to the area. Going to Berkeley on the other hand, is itself considered a "tie" e.g. you live there now, you love it, etc. etc. The Berkeley grading system can't be beat (even some Ps on your 1L transcript would give you a fighting shot at SF big law, and a P can mean you just barely passed a class). Not sure how Stanford does w/ SF big law but Berkeley has nearly 100% of the reputable firms in the bay area attend OCI. And, the "blind" bidding system at Berkeley OCI ensures that you'll get 20 interviews with your top choice firms (law firms cannot screen you off their call sheet before the interviews). Considering the size of the SF market, I don't think you can beat Berkeley.


With no factual basis for this, I will allege that SLS does just as well.

SLS does even better. As I wrote earlier, I think that Boalt is better for SF big law than the rest of the non-HYS T14. Kolokena, however, went a little overboard.

As for the grading system that "can't be beat," each of HYS has a similar system (albeit with a little less granularity at the top of the class). And I think that Kolokenea underestimates the weight of a law degree from Harvard or Yale. Rationally or not, a law degree from one of those schools gets hiring committees all hot and bothered, even in the SF Bay Area. You can get away with below-median grades at HLS or YLS and still get a big law job in SF. That's possible from Boalt as well, but it's harder.

Absent some unusual circumstance (e.g., big scholly from Boalt, family reasons for staying in the SF Bay Area, strong patent law focus), I wouldn't choose Boalt over H or Y.

And SLS, of course, has the advantage of being in the Bay Area (thus solving the "ties" problem), and it has a more prestigious reputation than Boalt.

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thewaves
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby thewaves » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:13 pm

Yeah, I think kolokena means to suggest that Boalt has an advantage over H or Y for people who have no ties to the SF market since Boalt provides one.

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rpupkin
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:18 pm

thewaves wrote:Yeah, I think kolokena means to suggest that Boalt has an advantage over H or Y for people who have no ties to the SF market since Boalt provides one.

Yeah, and I think that suggestion is wrong. I mean, I'm sure you can find an example here and there of some hiring partner who doesn't like to hire HLS grads who don't come from NorCal. Overall, though, I think the prestige of HY overcomes concerns about ties.

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goldenflash19
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby goldenflash19 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:38 am

rpupkin wrote:
thewaves wrote:Yeah, I think kolokena means to suggest that Boalt has an advantage over H or Y for people who have no ties to the SF market since Boalt provides one.

Yeah, and I think that suggestion is wrong. I mean, I'm sure you can find an example here and there of some hiring partner who doesn't like to hire HLS grads who don't come from NorCal. Overall, though, I think the prestige of HY overcomes concerns about ties.


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Last edited by goldenflash19 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kolokena
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby kolokena » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:42 pm

rpupkin wrote:
thewaves wrote:Yeah, I think kolokena means to suggest that Boalt has an advantage over H or Y for people who have no ties to the SF market since Boalt provides one.

Yeah, and I think that suggestion is wrong. I mean, I'm sure you can find an example here and there of some hiring partner who doesn't like to hire HLS grads who don't come from NorCal. Overall, though, I think the prestige of HY overcomes concerns about ties.


H and Y's prestige will obviously carry you far...it might just take a little more effort on your part since not EVERY big SF firm will be at their OCI. What you might do is bid on the firm you want to work at (e.g. the east coast office), then indicate at the interview that you prefer the SF office. Or, you could just apply directly to the office in SF that you're interested in. In my experience, each office handled their own hiring and recruiting.

And to clarify my post earlier, when I said "Not sure about Stanford" I really meant that I wasn't sure. I'm sure other posters who attend/have attended can shed light on the exact benefits of being at Stanford for landing a job in SF big law. Do they have a blind-OCI? I think this is a key factor in landing a job, especially if you're a strong interviewer trying to distinguish yourself with median grades (a mixture of H's and Ps). If they do, then Stanford's prestige is also a huge factor to take into account. Both Berkeley and Stanford's proximity to the city is an asset during callback season (for logistic reasons). And, lots of alum saturate the market (both SF and SV).

mushybrain
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby mushybrain » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:57 pm

What rpupkin said above is credited.

Keep in mind that SF class sizes are just not as large as other major markets, so it can be tough even if you have the tie narrative from attending S/B. Definitely do not bid exclusively on SF or you may well regret it. I ended up with an SF BigLaw SA (and most certainly do not have straight HHs... or any HHs), but I also bid on LA and my home market to cover my bases and I'm glad I did.

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Vincent
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby Vincent » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:32 pm

Boalt has the HH/H/P system, which conveniently lines up with A/B/C.
SLS has H/P/LP (the bottom apparently doesn't really exist).

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Dignan
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby Dignan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:25 pm

Vincent wrote:Boalt has the HH/H/P system, which conveniently lines up with A/B/C.
SLS has H/P/LP (the bottom apparently doesn't really exist).

Boalt has its version of the LP: the "Sub-Pass" grade. So, technically, Boalt has a HH/H/P/SP system. Like the LP at SLS, the SP at Boalt is rarely given. (Though I know students at both SLS and Boalt who have received those rarely-given grades. It does happen.)

Also, it's not really accurate to say that Boalt's HH/H/P lines up with A/B/C. If we're using the standard of the curves at other T14 law schools, then the HH is an A, the H covers an A- to a high-B+, and the P covers a low B+ on down to a B-. The "LP" is basically a D/C. (As I understand the grading practices of other T14 schools, Cs and Ds are given out about as often as LPs.)

wholahoop
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby wholahoop » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 pm

Hope you guys don't mind me budging in... :oops:

but how does UCLA/USC play into this scenario?

I'm in at both with $$ and would love to do big law in SF since I'm from Santa Clara. Or would a T-14 (Northwestern? Cornell? UPenn? Michigan?) mean a better shot?

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worldtraveler
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:54 pm

wholahoop wrote:Hope you guys don't mind me budging in... :oops:

but how does UCLA/USC play into this scenario?

I'm in at both with $$ and would love to do big law in SF since I'm from Santa Clara. Or would a T-14 (Northwestern? Cornell? UPenn? Michigan?) mean a better shot?


I would pick UCLA in this case. But how much money? And if you don't get big law are there still law jobs you want to do or any connections that would help you out?

wholahoop
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Re: Berkeley for SF big law?

Postby wholahoop » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:32 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
wholahoop wrote:Hope you guys don't mind me budging in... :oops:

but how does UCLA/USC play into this scenario?

I'm in at both with $$ and would love to do big law in SF since I'm from Santa Clara. Or would a T-14 (Northwestern? Cornell? UPenn? Michigan?) mean a better shot?


I would pick UCLA in this case. But how much money? And if you don't get big law are there still law jobs you want to do or any connections that would help you out?


UCLA's giving me 90K as long as I maintain a 2.5 GPA. I'm totally fine with not doing big law, but I really want to stay in the area. UCLA's offer is great, but I can't deny that I want that T-14 name (no debt, my parents are willing and able to pay for all of it).

I only have a couple of weak connections in the legal departments of the big tech companies, nothing that will land me a job though. :?




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