Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

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dasseeker
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Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby dasseeker » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:58 am

Hi folks,

Hoping to gain some insight here as I am struggling to find the answers I seek through the ole' google search. So I understand that conventional wisdom states that if you are going to a school outside the T-14, then you should be comfortable living/working in the geographic location of that school. My question is, is it easier to move to a different legal market after obtaining some work experience in the field? To provide a scenario, I have been offered a solid scholarship to the University of Alabama. Now I have no intention of living in Alabama, or the south, in the long term. That said it seems like a great school and I would leave there with 0 debt. If I went there, and then stayed in the area for a few years to get work experience, would it then be easier to take that degree and experience and find a job back home in the north east or elsewhere?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:27 am

It *can* be done, you're just going to be making your life harder than if you go to school where you want to live/work. You will have to work hard to create contacts and make connections where you want to work, and you won't be able to take much advantage of any of the connections you will get through school. It will also depend on what kind of experience you develop (how in demand it is), and you can't predict what the market will look like that far down the road in the place where you'd really like to be. So yes, people do move markets, but it's putting obstacles in your way and it's hard to predict/control.

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icechicken
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby icechicken » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:09 pm

dasseeker wrote:Now I have no intention of living in Alabama, or the south, in the long term.


In light of what Nony said, I think this is a big problem with your plan. If you're not at least okay with the plan B of living near where you got your JD, you're creating a very bad set of possible outcomes for yourself. Personally I wouldn't tolerate even a 10% chance of getting stuck in a city or region that I couldn't imagine living in.

Different example: "I think Atlanta would be a perfectly reasonable place to live, although on balance I'd much prefer to end up in a 'cool' Southern city like Asheville and I'd ideally get NYC biglaw." < That person wouldn't be shooting themselves in the foot by going to Emory. But that person seems a lot more okay with their school's home market and secondary destinations than you are with Alabama's.

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:11 pm

What Nony said is pretty much exactly what I was going to say.

To give an example, I had a close friend who planned to do this (going from the state where she and I both lived/practiced to her home state after a few years of practice). She ultimately accomplished her goal but it was pretty difficult: she had to take the bar in a new state (after she had already taken two bars for her first job) and made some fairly large investments of time and money to network with people in her home state.

It's possible, and it can work out, but it's almost definitely making life harder than if you had originally gone to one of your state's preferred schools.

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pancakes3
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:26 pm

if you're looking at bama w/ full scholly, i'm assuming you're looking at GW/Fordham/BC/BU with partial scholly, and imo, you probably have a better shot with the hometown school even with the higher debt - but depends on how much higher. <75k difference, i think you go hometown. >75k, i think deeper soul-searching (retake, if LS is worth it at all, if you're ok w staying in 'Bama long term, etc.) is required.

J Eazy
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby J Eazy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:30 pm

For more input: I asked a similar question about UCLA, although I was totally fine with staying in California—just wanted to know to what extent other options would be open 2-3 years down the line. viewtopic.php?f=5&t=276993&p=9947413#p9947413

albanach
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Re: Portability of a degree after getting work experience?

Postby albanach » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:01 pm

I think exit options would be broadened if you work in a federally regulated area. So if you can find a local job in finance, telecommunications, ERISA, EPA, healthcare, immigration and I'm sure many other fields, you might find there's an ability to take that skill-set and move

If your work is significantly based on state law, it's going to be harder to take those skills to a new state.




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