OperaSoprano wrote:This is to the GULC student who posted all the data points complete with people's UG backgrounds: I concur that UG matters in legal hiring. Does it matter more than grades? Nope. Is it going to be a tiebreaker, or possibly even a dealbreaker, when people have limited WE, or WE completely irrelevant to the legal profession? In my experience, this has often been the case.
I can't give you more than anecdotal information either, but the people I know who attended Ivies or top LACs usually pulled above their class ranks at OCI. Of course, there was often a correlation between top UG and possession of the type of work experience students from such a place could get, which would then make them more attractive to big law firms, but even among straight to LS people, I noticed it.
I am not saying my OCI issues stemmed from my unusual choice of background, but it certainly led to difficult questions about why I wanted to be here. In the end, I knew firms would only be interested if they could market my background to clients. This niche is a big one here in my city, obviously, but it's going to mean that a firm that has mostly large investment banks as clients is not going to hire me, even if the interviewer likes me as a person and thinks my grades suffice. I beat myself up over it because I thought it was my fault. Ironically, public interest employers were more willing to listen, because I could demonstrate genuine interest by volunteering a ton. They are usually much more likely to dig down on whether the applicant truly cares or is just doing PI as a fallback option. I didn't have to BS, because it meant much more to me.
The good news is that my exact challenges will be rare, but people who attended state UGs may face uphill battles with certain employers, and that is something you should know about. When dealing with the prestige-obsessed, grades still speak loudly, but you also might learn you don't really want to deal with the prestige-obsessed.
See, that's one of the reasons it was imperative for me to attend my transfer law school, even though it is costing me about double the price. I went to a state UG here and MANY of the firms/gov./etc. have alumni from both my state UG AND my law school. I think this will prove helpful and it has already gotten one partner to "pass my resume along" to the hiring partners. If I had transferred (I did not get in here) to, say, WUSTL, I think I would be having an even tougher time right now. I've lived my entire life in this state, other than my 1 year away for 1L.