Chances at employment in southwest markets

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Anonymous User
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Chances at employment in southwest markets

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:02 am

I currently attend a lower Tier 1 law school in the southwest. I just finished my 1L year. I'm top 10%, on the highest publication, have a summer internship with a district court, and have various legit volunteer activities. My question is, where in the southwest (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado) would I be competitive if I apply (especially including southern California). I don't know how the various specific localities view applicants with my credentials, and I want to be sure I don't limit myself, but I also don't want to waste their time and mine.

Thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: Chances at employment in southwest markets

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:30 pm

This all is rather school specific. You could probably say what school you are at without outing yourself too badly, and I really do not know what you mean by lower tier one. If I had to drop money I would say you go to ASU/UA/BYU and intern in Phoenix (solid guess- BYU/Campbell). That is just a wild-ass guess obviously.

Portability of any of these schools to California is suspect. Few CA firms do OCI at any of these schools, especially these days. BYU might have a little bit better portability due to the sense of community among mormons, and BYU's fairly good reputation for putting out hard workers. None of these schools are pipelines into CA. Try to transfer to a CA if that is your passion and ultimate goal.

Otherwise find out firms OCI schedules at CA law schools that are similar in rank to your school. Mass mail those firms and introduce yourself and explain what ties you have to CA. I am sure some firms will give you a shot if they are drawing from schools similar to yours.

Top 10% sells, obviously. You should be able to land something somewhere. The lower ranked the school the less portable and more regional you will want to look. Share the school?


ETA: if you are at a CA school portability out into the Southwest is pretty good if the school has a decent reputation. If you are applying in areas that do not have a law school as good as yours that is pretty appealing, especially if you are near the top of your school. In New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, graduates from the T14 are on easy street. Grads with decent grades from the T25 have the inside track if they can demonstrate ties or desire to stay. The schools in these areas just are not as high ranked. Also, few grads from top schools want to move to these places.

Everything in this post is opinion and conjecture based on individual experience and advice from hiring partners and career counselors. YMMV.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Chances at employment in southwest markets

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:54 pm

There are a decent handful of public sector jobs in New Mexico but probably not at anything like the salary your debt requires you to earn. If by some miracle you can make it on, say, 45K you might come take a look around.

Anonymous User
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Re: Chances at employment in southwest markets

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:32 pm

OP here, thanks for the responses so far. I know it's tough for you to help me without me giving you more info, and I'm really not trying to be coy, I just can't get more specific than what I've already said. But you're close to the mark, Anon.

I've always heard that, regionally, if you get a degree from a 40-50ish Tier 1 school you are still pretty competitive with even T-14 from out of state (EDIT: if you're at or near the top of your class at the regional school), just because you already have ties to the area, while they're going to have to show that they want to stay and don't just want to go back home in 3 years or whatever. Thoughts?

Good tip about what firms CA schools similar to mine OCI, I never would have thought of that. I may also concentrate my energies on just sticking with my region, and everything I read on these forums is app NYC even if you don't think you have a chance.

Anonymous User
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Re: Chances at employment in southwest markets

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here, thanks for the responses so far. I know it's tough for you to help me without me giving you more info, and I'm really not trying to be coy, I just can't get more specific than what I've already said. But you're close to the mark, Anon.

I've always heard that, regionally, if you get a degree from a 40-50ish Tier 1 school you are still pretty competitive with even T-14 from out of state (EDIT: if you're at or near the top of your class at the regional school), just because you already have ties to the area, while they're going to have to show that they want to stay and don't just want to go back home in 3 years or whatever. Thoughts?

Good tip about what firms CA schools similar to mine OCI, I never would have thought of that. I may also concentrate my energies on just sticking with my region, and everything I read on these forums is app NYC even if you don't think you have a chance.



If you are in the very top of your class and are on law review you are competitive with the average T14 candidate IN YOUR SCHOOL'S MARKET. Still, T14 candidates in the top 15-25% of their class will walk all over you. Many law firms in the SW really want to attract a T14 candidate when they recruit because it makes them look more prestigious, where a stack of BYU students is pretty bland.

Firms do prioritize ties to the market. Honestly people can manufacture ties if they think about it hard enough, so I consider it sort of a wash. You just need to demonstrate your ties... everyone else will too. I generally do not think of it as having a leg up on higher ranked schools.

Interestingly, some national firms try to recruit from local schools to fill their regional branches. They view it as the creation of deep rooted (and hopefully profitable) firm presence, rather than a bunch of highly qualified opportunists who want to transfer to their SF branch ASAP. I do not know how well this works, but I note the trend. On the other hand, small market local "powerhouse" firms have no lack of local roots and credibility and they try to bring some national prestige on board.

Most of the talk you see about NYC on here are probably from students at schools significantly better than yours (and mine). While our chances pretty much suck, we have nothing to lose by trying. Make targeted mailings to NYC firms that you think you would like to work at, and the ones that draw from schools in ranks similar to yours. Top 10% and law review makes you somewhat attractive. I honestly do not know about it because I am destined for a small market, but I imagine they will at least look at your stuff if they draw from schools similar to yours. You know you are not completely overreaching when they are willing to hire people from similarly ranked schools.




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