How dangerous is bidding on DC?

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How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:13 pm

How dangerous is it to bid on a lot of DC firms in my situation: 3.72 (top 10%, I think) at NYU, lived/worked/went to college in DC for 7 years prior to law school. I applied to a bunch of mid-range firms in DC like Arnold & Porter, Akin Gump, Jenner Block, Dickstein Shapiro, and the DC offices of some of the top NY firms. I also bid on a bunch of NY firms to be safe, but I put the DC ones toward the top due to smaller # of interview slots. Bad idea?

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby seriouslyinformative » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:17 pm

Arnold & Porter and Jenner & Block are not "mid-range" DC firms as far as caliber or selectivity is concerned. I think you should be able to grab a top firm with those grades; law review would be a nice boost. Connection to DC doesn't really matter.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:18 pm

Okay, so, T14, top grades, DC ties... Do you actually want to live in DC when you graduate? Can you explain going to NYU when you lived in DC and now say you want to go back there? What do you want to do that makes working in DC a better fit for you?

Having solid answers to those questions will probably go a long way for you. If there's anyone in position to do well in DC, you're probably it.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:21 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Okay, so, T14, top grades, DC ties... Do you actually want to live in DC when you graduate? Can you explain going to NYU when you lived in DC and now say you want to go back there? What do you want to do that makes working in DC a better fit for you?

Having solid answers to those questions will probably go a long way for you. If there's anyone in position to do well in DC, you're probably it.


I went to NYU because it felt like the best fit in terms of schools, and I wanted the chance to try living in NYC. But after living there for a year I really miss DC and want to go back. My best friends are all there, and I just feel like the city is a better fit for me. I am really into politics and love that in DC when you get on a bus or go into a bar there's at least a 50% chance someone will be having a political conversation.

Does that answer work?

Thanks for your advice, BTW.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:29 pm

That's a good answer for wanting to live in DC. (I wasn't saying you needed to give an answer here, just be ready to give one during OCI.) The only remaining advice is.. What do you want to do at a law firm? There are some things where going to NY (for example) makes more sense career-wise. You don't have to know precisely what you want to do, but does each firm you're applying to have something you're interested in doing?

Going to DC undecided can be fine. Going there because you're interested in regulatory work is great. Going there when you want to do big M&A deals could get you funny looks and a "Have you spoken to someone about our NY office?"

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby seriouslyinformative » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:45 pm

I don't think you really need to have a particularly compelling reason for wanting to be in DC. It seems like something fairly self-evident, just like most people wouldn't ask you why you want to be in NYC. No one is going to wonder why OP chose to go to NYU if he wanted to be in DC, since it is the rare attorney who would question the judgment of someone taking NYU over GULC.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:00 pm

Interested in this question as well, albeit from a very different standpoint - lower T14, medianish grades, but DC is the only market that makes sense for 2 reasons -

1. Personal (fiance is in DC; not going anywhere anytime soon).
2. Practice area - came to LS with a background/focus in a particular practice group that doesn't exist in other primary markets. Care much more about working in this field than about making $160k.

Right now I'm planning to aim for the least selective DC firms with my practice area coming to OCI (recognizing that, realistically, they can be as selective as they want to be, and my GPA will just get me dinged at some of them - but there are a few that have taken students from my school with GPAs like mine, or lower). I'll also be doing targeted mailings to the boutique firms for my practice area - does anyone have experience doing this?

I'm just accepting that OCI is a longshot. I'm planning to work connections like crazy, and hoping that a solid background/clear focus on this area will matter more at the smaller firms than my mediocre grades.

If anyone has advice on an approach I'm missing, let me know...

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:12 pm

seriouslyinformative wrote:I don't think you really need to have a particularly compelling reason for wanting to be in DC. It seems like something fairly self-evident, just like most people wouldn't ask you why you want to be in NYC. No one is going to wonder why OP chose to go to NYU if he wanted to be in DC, since it is the rare attorney who would question the judgment of someone taking NYU over GULC.

Your flaw is assuming it's "just like NYC". It isn't.

Even if it doesn't matter that much, they'll still ask, and a bad/fake answer can kill you even on a softball. I doubt NYC firms cared that much, but I still got quite a few "Why NY?" questions at my interviews there.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How dangerous is it to bid on a lot of DC firms in my situation: 3.72 (top 10%, I think) at NYU, lived/worked/went to college in DC for 7 years prior to law school. I applied to a bunch of mid-range firms in DC like Arnold & Porter, Akin Gump, Jenner Block, Dickstein Shapiro, and the DC offices of some of the top NY firms. I also bid on a bunch of NY firms to be safe, but I put the DC ones toward the top due to smaller # of interview slots. Bad idea?


I understand it's tempting to just start with Vault and run with it, but A&P, Akin Gump, Jenner Block, & Dickstein Shapiro are all top flight firms. Jenner's DC office is one of the most selective firms in the country, A&P is easily in the top handful of firms in the city, Akin Gump has a very strong DC practice, Dickstein is one of very few exclusively DC firms. None will be easy to get.

That being said, your credentials are terrific, so you'll have a good shot. It is more risky than other markets, but work experience + reason to want to be in DC (DC is a city of transplants, if you come with relevant experience I think that matters more than having already spent time in DC) + sterling credentials will put you in good shape.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:52 pm

Curious about this, too. Incidentally, I'm also at NYU and have an identical GPA to OP. (Hi, GPA buddy!) I ended up being scared of bidding DC at the top due to hearing how tough the market is there, but I think I should hopefully get some interviews with similar firms (A&P, Covington, Steptoe, WilmerHale, Akin Gump, etc.)--I figure there aren't a lot of people bidding on DC. I do have a clearly demonstrated (from current position/past term-time internships) interest in admin/regulatory law. Unlike OP, however, I don't have DC ties. In fact, I have genuine NYC ties, which worries me a little bit as to how I will look to firms outside of NYC. I'm curious how the lack of specific geographic ties would affect my chances.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Curious about this, too. Incidentally, I'm also at NYU and have an identical GPA to OP. (Hi, GPA buddy!) I ended up being scared of bidding DC at the top due to hearing how tough the market is there, but I think I should hopefully get some interviews with similar firms (A&P, Covington, Steptoe, WilmerHale, Akin Gump, etc.)--I figure there aren't a lot of people bidding on DC. I do have a clearly demonstrated (from current position/past term-time internships) interest in admin/regulatory law. Unlike OP, however, I don't have DC ties. In fact, I have genuine NYC ties, which worries me a little bit as to how I will look to firms outside of NYC. I'm curious how the lack of specific geographic ties would affect my chances.


You should be fine. You just have to accept by choosing a popular market with fewer firms and fewer summer associates you might not be rolling in CBs and offers the way people bidding on NYC could be, but you're in a great position.

A big X factor that I noticed in DC was work experience. And by that I mean real, ideally more than 1 year, on the job work experience - not internships and a good 1L gig.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:04 pm

Since OP seems to have gotten his question answered, I'll take a shot. I'm median at SLS, exec. board of a secondary journal (waiting to hear about about law review), and have ties to DC. Can/should I go all in for DC if that is where I most want to be?

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Since OP seems to have gotten his question answered, I'll take a shot. I'm median at SLS, exec. board of a secondary journal (waiting to hear about about law review), and have ties to DC. Can/should I go all in for DC if that is where I most want to be?


I think it's much harder to predict from a school like SLS, especially given that the concept of median is likely to be soft, but my guess is that would be a risky strategy.

Again, I'd say a big question is work experience. If no work experience you're in the danger zone (and not the cool if vaguely homoerotic one from Top Gun). Even with work experience I'd bid on NYC unless you're in a loan / life situation where biglaw isn't crucial.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:23 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Since OP seems to have gotten his question answered, I'll take a shot. I'm median at SLS, exec. board of a secondary journal (waiting to hear about about law review), and have ties to DC. Can/should I go all in for DC if that is where I most want to be?


I think it's much harder to predict from a school like SLS, especially given that the concept of median is likely to be soft, but my guess is that would be a risky strategy.

Again, I'd say a big question is work experience. If no work experience you're in the danger zone (and not the cool if vaguely homoerotic one from Top Gun). Even with work experience I'd bid on NYC unless you're in a loan / life situation where biglaw isn't crucial.


This is helpful. Thank you.

My DC tie is work experience in DC prior to law school, plus my resume shows my interest in policy and politics, so hopefully that counts for something. I'm not particularly fond of NYC and will likely find a different back-up market if it seems DC isn't going to work.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:15 am

I have been wondering this same thing- I am top 5% at a lower T14- I have both personal and professional reasons for wanting DC though I am not from there. Is it just too risky to skip NY bids altogether?

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:23 am

Apologies for the continuous hijacking of this thread. Perhaps I should start a new one? Anyways, I'm a transfer to GW (top 10% at TTT, please don't bash me too hard ITT), I've lived/grown up in DC my whole life, and the gf lives/works here so I want to settle down here. Thus, I would think that the personal side of the equation is solid. I wanna do IP with my engineering degree, so I feel that would help somewhat. Now, for the more important information. I don't have solid years of WE using my degree but have some interesting internships, which I know are basically worthless. I have a great 1L gig at a prominent trade association in DC, and I worked here last summer and over the winter break. This gig is focused on regulatory work that receives a fair amount of attention in the news, so I don't know if that matters at all. Anyways, the long and short of it is that I am open to perhaps practicing other areas of law besides IP, such as regulatory work that is focused on what I have been doing the past two summers. If after all of this the answer is that I will be strike out at OCI, then so be it. However, just assuming I am lucky enough to get an interview, I am now conflicted on whether I should focus on IP or the stuff that I have some actual, albeit limited, WE in. Sorry for the rambling post. Thanks in advance.

On a side note, any other places close to DC I should bid? I'll look at NY if that matters.

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Re: How dangerous is bidding on DC?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anyways, I'm a transfer to GW (top 10% at TTT, please don't bash me too hard ITT)


I was in a similar position, except that I was top 1% at a TTT and transferred into GULC. I have lived in the DC area my entire life. I got slapped down so hard last year by DC firms it was embarrassing. I got some interest from NYC firms, but as a transfer you are going to be in a tough spot. That being said IP may be your saving grace. I would focus solely on IP firms. Best of luck!




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