What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

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What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:19 pm

2 questions:

1. Can someone please list a few examples of "ties" to a city, other than being born/raised there?

2. How should I go about demonstrating my interest in a city if I don't have the standard (born/raised) ties? My girlfriend and I do not want to live in our hometown (at all). We'd like to live in a larger city (i.e. San Antonio/Austin/Houston). I go to UT, so I think that should be a good enough tie to Austin (yes/no?). Buuut, would that be good enough for San Antonio? We really love San Antonio and visit often (gf has a bunch of family there). Same for Houston.

Thanks.

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blerg
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby blerg » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2 questions:

1. Can someone please list a few examples of "ties" to a city, other than being born/raised there?

2. How should I go about demonstrating my interest in a city if I don't have the standard (born/raised) ties? My girlfriend and I do not want to live in our hometown (at all). We'd like to live in a larger city (i.e. San Antonio/Austin/Houston). I go to UT, so I think that should be a good enough tie to Austin (yes/no?). Buuut, would that be good enough for San Antonio? We really love San Antonio and visit often (gf has a bunch of family there). Same for Houston.

Thanks.


The general idea is that you want to be in the region, so don't go to LA if you want to work in Boston. Going to a great school in TX, when you're (I assume) from TX should be fine for any TX city.

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hmlee
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby hmlee » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:09 pm

The above response is correct. Also, it sometimes matters what city you're talking about. Cities like New York or Washington don't require as strong local ties as other cities like Chicago or Boston. Some cities just generally assume that people not from there will move for job or other opportunities, so it doesn't really matter where they originated from.

The whole idea is that firms don't want to hire someone who is going to bolt within two or three years. Most new associates don't start making money for a firm after at least three or four, so the firm puts a lot of resources over that time towards actually turning you into a lawyer. The theory goes that if you have family or a past history of living in a location, you'll be less likely to bolt before the firm can recoup its investment.

Texas is kind of a weird market. Many of the people I know who are going to work there are from there, and ties do seem important. But I go to a school in Chicago. I don't think you will have a problem at UT, even if you aren't from the specific city you want to work in.

Edit: Also the fact that your girlfriend has family there can help you. In any interview if someone asked "Why San Antonio? Why not Houston? Or Dallas?" your response should contain not just how much you love San Antonio, but you could also toss in that your girlfriend has family there and would like to move close to them. You don't need to be more specific than that (so it doesn't matter if it's her second cousin or her parents).

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Postby MBskier » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:07 pm

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Last edited by MBskier on Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

A&O
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby A&O » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:15 pm

Most new associates don't start making money for a firm after at least three or four, so the firm puts a lot of resources over that time towards actually turning you into a lawyer.


I read this a lot on TLS, but it's almost certainly not true. Junior associates are highly profitable for law firms (otherwise, the pyramid-structure just wouldn't make sense).

And it's not that hard to figure out, either. Just find out the billable rate (suppose it's $225/hour, which is conservative), and multiply it by, say, 2,000 hours. That's $450,000 in revenue, and that's conservative. Junior associate overhead won't surpass that, and if you look at the billable rates and hours of junior associates in NYC, you'll see that they're insanely profitable (I'd estimate each first-year produces around $750,000 in revenue).

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby ggocat » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:59 pm

A&O wrote:
Most new associates don't start making money for a firm after at least three or four, so the firm puts a lot of resources over that time towards actually turning you into a lawyer.


I read this a lot on TLS, but it's almost certainly not true. Junior associates are highly profitable for law firms (otherwise, the pyramid-structure just wouldn't make sense).

This, although your math might not consider write-offs for the first year or two @ 2000 hours. Still profitable.

And if OP is at UT law, shouldn't have a problem getting a job in a major TX city--no real "ties" necessary. If OP meant UT undergrad (most likely, judging from the rest of the post), then it will help for Austin and maybe San Antonio (with family there). Not really elsewhere.

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:09 pm

I actually had the most success in TX and another secondary (or even tertiary) that is supposedly extremely difficult to crack without connections. I didn't have connections to either.

The big thing, assuming you meet their grade cut-off for your school, is to show a genuine interest. It's harder to do this without connections, but not impossible.

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:04 pm

I cracked pretty much everything besides the T14 so I decided to go to a local school with money, in the city I wanted (Philly). I did not go to UG in the area, but the majority of my immediate family, other relatives and my long term significant other were in the city/suburbs and I still faced a major hurdle with people not believing I wanted to stay in the city.

It is almost a catch 22 for some legal markets. If you have the grades to get an interview in big law they are worried you will flee for a larger legal market and if you don't have the grades you will never get a job. I ended up doing well for myself but I was questioned at every screening and callback interview I had and I do not think most people believed that I wanted to work here. Even though i explained my ties and that I turned down many higher ranked schools.




I feel your pain man. I go to University of MD Law, located in Baltimore, and I'm originally from the DC area (in MD). When I did OCI and a couple of callbacks with firms in Baltimore, I got very skeptical sounding questions about my commitment to the Baltimore area. Its like come on, even if I was dead set on living in DC instead of Baltimore, its 45 freaking minutes away...

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Dark Horse
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Dark Horse » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:26 am

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Last edited by Dark Horse on Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:34 am

This is just a copy paste job from a previous post of mine, but I think it's relevant (also, dark horse and "use 1L summer" is credited):


IMO ties are what you make of them. People on TLS try to make some hard and fast list of "what counts" as ties. I don't think there is such a thing. It's certainly true that certain factors may weigh more heavily than others, but the fact of the matter is, once you get into the room, you control employers' perception of you.

I personally was able to get interviews, and offers in many different regions. At most of them, I had either never set foot there, or I had only been there once or twice. Multiple times I had employers come right out and ask why they should believe I wasn't a flight risk, many times I answered the question, and within a day or two, I got the offer. Ties are what you make of them...research the cities, talk to locals, name drop things to do and places to go. It's not that difficult.

I really believe that with good research, solid communication skills, and a little "creativity," you can easily sidestep any concerns about your willingness to settle in an area. I think the biggest thing is to not just research the city, but to research the firm. For most law students, it's really difficult to tell firms apart from one another. What I did was try to find the things each firm felt differentiated them from their competitors, and used them "against" the firm. Just like girls, firms like to hear you tell them about the things that make them more special than any other firm/girl. That+some well placed mentions of things to do in a city = win in almost any market imo.

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underdawg
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby underdawg » Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:00 am

for nyc, mention times square and the financial district as being cool places and refer to it as the "big apple" because that's what everyone calls it

or just ask friends about why a certain city is cool

btw your girlfriend/boyfriend is from there and wants to go back and *joke about being whipped* (except at white shoe firms if you're a guy, they'll think you're a fucking pussy)

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Dark Horse
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Dark Horse » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:15 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:What I did was try to find the things each firm felt differentiated them from their competitors, and used them "against" the firm. Just like girls, firms like to hear you tell them about the things that make them more special than any other firm/girl. That+some well placed mentions of things to do in a city = win in almost any market imo.


Aqualibrium hits it right on the money. Excellent reference to girls -- I used the same analogy to figure out how to market myself to law firms.

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:23 pm

A&O wrote:
Most new associates don't start making money for a firm after at least three or four, so the firm puts a lot of resources over that time towards actually turning you into a lawyer.


I read this a lot on TLS, but it's almost certainly not true. Junior associates are highly profitable for law firms (otherwise, the pyramid-structure just wouldn't make sense).

And it's not that hard to figure out, either. Just find out the billable rate (suppose it's $225/hour, which is conservative), and multiply it by, say, 2,000 hours. That's $450,000 in revenue, and that's conservative. Junior associate overhead won't surpass that, and if you look at the billable rates and hours of junior associates in NYC, you'll see that they're insanely profitable (I'd estimate each first-year produces around $750,000 in revenue).


Revenue is not the same as profit (though I'm sure you know that), but the more important thing is that it's not really as simple as a normal employee calculation (i.e., adding up what the firm bills the associate at x their billables and subtracting their salary/bonus and other costs does not hit the full picture of how law firms work). The pyramid structure exists at law firms because the firms need people to do the work that the partners -- who actually know what they're doing (relatively speaking) -- do not want to do. First and second and third year associates by and large do not have books of business. They do not bring in clients. Clients do not want to hire them. They only hire them because they come along with the star partners and experienced senior associates that they actually do want working on their cases. The value that a person brings to a firm is much less about what their billable rate is set at and much more about whether they can bring in and keep business at the firm. That is not something that usually develops in an associate for several years, if ever.

In some ways when it comes to the regional thing, it's almost silly. Firms know that many people will leave within three or four years, but they don't want to hear anything from you or think anything about you (say... that you don't really have ties to a region) that will make them think you are one of those people when they are interviewing you.

Edit: Accidental anonymous posting. But I don't know how to fix it.

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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby dreakol » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:45 pm

When people talk about "ties" to the city, do they mean having connections to law firms?

or can "ties" mean having family or any other reason besides employment to be in the region?

tyia

Aqualibrium
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:56 pm

dreakol wrote:When people talk about "ties" to the city, do they mean having connections to law firms?

or can "ties" mean having family or any other reason besides employment to be in the region?

tyia


Strong ties in the traditional TLS sense means having family in a city, being from the city, going to college in the city etc... Lik you said, anything that establishes your desire to stay in the region for reasons other than employment.

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hmlee
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Re: What if you don't have ties to a city you'd like to work in?

Postby hmlee » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:57 pm

dreakol wrote:When people talk about "ties" to the city, do they mean having connections to law firms?

or can "ties" mean having family or any other reason besides employment to be in the region?

tyia


Ties just usually mean something that links you to the city that would convince someone that after you move to said city you will stay there for a decent amount of time. They can include, but are not limited to: being from a city / region originally, family presence in a city (even if you did not grow up there, more significant if it is your immediate family), going to law school in a city, past history of living in a city (undergrad or work), and a significant other's ties to a city (usually only for the SO's family, or if they have a job there or something big like that...)

Basically, anything that helps you respond to the question of "Why XYZ city?" with something more than, "I think XYZ city is really cool and the weather is nice, and I've always wanted to live here."




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