Working in San Francisco Without Ties

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Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:36 am

I'm a 1L at P. I'm currently sitting right in the meaty, juicy, median part of the curve after first semester grades; I'm assuming this is where I will sit come OCI though I'm gunning hard to move up a bit. I have a year of work experience at a V100 firm, but I have no ties to San Francisco. Literally all of my ties are in the Northeast. However, I desperately want to live and work in SF after graduation. Thus, when I began looking for a summer job I targeted on finding something in the Bay Area so I could try and develop some ties to give me a better shot come regional OCI in August. However, a position came up back east that I just couldn't pass up, so I won't be spending this summer in SF. Soooo, I was wondering: 1.) What, if anything, can I do between now and August to increase my odds of getting an offer in San Francisco? and 2.) What are the odds of finding something? ANY and ALL advice and opinions are greatly appreciated.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:29 am

Not looking good, to be frank. I know people at my T6 who tried to get SF with minor/no ties but top 15-20% grades or so and had no luck.

If I were in your shoes, my Plan A would be to gun hard for the NYC offices of firms with big San Francisco and/or Silicon Valley presences and hope to switch offices when an opportunity presented itself down the road; MoFo NYC would be the gold standard here.

Plan B would be to apply to SF offices at OCI. Since you seem dead-set on it, you might as well try to get some screeners, but honestly, I would only use my junk bids on those firms. Though you might get lucky or my understanding might be off, it doesn't seem like there's much working in your favor here.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:47 am

The conventional wisdom is that SF (without IP) is as hard or harder to crack than DC and harder on ties. Not impossible if you have good grades from a good school but median from P is likely in a tough spot. Don't put too many eggs in the SF/SV basket. It's a relatively small market, with a high % of IP work, with 2 T14s in the immediate area.

If you're truly desperate to live in SF, start emailing alumni and other people you might have a connection with in the area. It may or may not pan out, but it's worth trying if you really want to exhaust all of your potential avenues for help.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:19 am

I'm in a similar situation, but with LA, although I do have minor ties that don't show up on my resume.

My plan is to primarily bid on NYC with some bids on LA firms that have large class sizes. Then mass mail the remaining LA firms in the weeks before OCI. Other than that, I'm not sure what to do. Better to have an NYC SA than none at all, so bidding 100% on LA doesn't make sense. The idea of going after NYC offices of firms with large LA offices might work, but then you're eliminating that as an LA option outright.

My other thought is 3L OCI if you end up with an NYC SA. The whole ties thing with law firms is ridiculous, and I don't think it was nearly this bad 5 years ago. If the economy keeps recovering like it is, maybe odds will increase for those of us without/with minimal ties.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:39 am

First anon responder here again, on further reflection.

OP, it might help us if you tell us *why* you want to work in SF so badly. You say you have no "ties," but there has to be some reason you want to be in SF. What is the reason? If you could walk into a law firm interview and just lay it the fuck out there why you want to be in the Bay Area, what would you say? Friends? Culture? Food? Climate? Outdoors? Proximity to wine country? Medicinal marijuana? Abundant anonymous gay sex?

Seriously, why do you want to go there so bad? You say you have no ties, but honestly, if you want to go there this bad there is probably a good reason for it, and all "ties" means at the end of the day is, "Do you have a good reason for wanting to live and work here?" TLS may be able to help you mold your reasons into a compelling interview sound bite.

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20160810
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby 20160810 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:43 am

If you're from ca anywhere or even the west coast my experience is that SF employers don't care about ties. None of them asked why I wanted to work in sf, their attitude was basically "why wouldn't anyone want to work here?"

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:05 am

It's definitely possible to overcome the lack of ties if you can demonstrate a particular interest/knowledge of the legal practices in San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

IP is the obvious field of choice because it's currently booming. However, if you had an interest in startup/vc corporate work, then you could argue that SF/Silicon Valley is the biggest market for that type of work.

If you're trying to understand what practices are prominent, just look at the local economy and try to understand the biggest industries. For SF/Silicon Valley, clearly IT/Tech work dominates. However, there's a handful of private equity/wealth management companies that exist because of the wealth being created by the IT/Tech work. Also, in South San Francisco, you have a fair number of BioTech companies (e.g. Genentech) + UC-San Francisco, so there's some life sciences related stuff.

If you don't think you can claim an interest in the tech/sciences related industries, perhaps you could lay claim to an Asia-focused practice. Because of the slightly greater proximity to Asia (versus the East Coast), there are a fair number of practices in both SF/SV and LA that have an Asian focus (e.g. cross-border M&A)

In contrast, for New York, it's largely about finance because the commercial banks/investment banks/hedge funds/etc are all based in either New York or surrounding areas (e.g. Greenwich, CT; parts of New Jersey). As someone else suggested, New York is a good starting point for corporate practices generally and a lot of people will move elsewhere after a few years. So, if you really want to work in SF long-term but aren't able to get a position now, think about how you could move in a few years.

If all else fails, you could claim ties via a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend who is from California. That being said, it may be more complicated to find this then it would be to just say you're interested in a particular legal practice. :P But ... it's good to think of multiple ways to solve a problem ...

johndhi
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby johndhi » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:18 am

Err, sorry, but how could you not pass up the east coast opportunity if you want SF so badly?

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:53 am

SBL wrote:If you're from ca anywhere or even the west coast my experience is that SF employers don't care about ties. None of them asked why I wanted to work in sf, their attitude was basically "why wouldn't anyone want to work here?"


That's pretty much my experience. I don't expect to have much a problem next year based on what I was told this year. I think if you are turning down a better offer in SF for one here, you may raise some flags, but if we are talking about a paying gig here, but nothing good there, it's perfectly understandable. It's 1L summer and most people don't really get to choose.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Morgan12Oak » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:41 pm

Don't know how useful this is because this comes from just a few personal experiences of mine and some friends. But I was top 10% at UVA and I bid on maybe like 10-15 CA firms; split between SF and LA. I found LA to be SIGNIFICANTLY easier. I was never grilled about why LA, but I was absolutely grilled on why SF. Ended up with offers at "prestigious LA firms" and none in SF. My friends had relatively similar stories. All in all, it seemed to me that LA was the easiest gig to land here at UVA.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Shaggier1 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:50 pm

Boaltie here who has gotten to know the SF market fairly well (though I ultimately decided to go elsewhere). I just wanted to offer the following advice:

Whatever you do - seriously, whatever you do - do not put all of your eggs (or even several of your eggs) in the SF basket.

It is a small and often insular market. Without a Stanford or Berkeley JD (or another T10 degree with stellar grades) it is very hard to crack SF unless you have some ties. And so, a median Penn student could easily strike out at OCI by going aggressively after SF. If I was you, I would bid conservatively in NYC, Phila. and DC with maybe a couple of SF bids. You may want to consider NYC, Phila. or DC firms with SF offices and then try to transfer in a few years.

Also, +1 to people saying that LA is easier than SF. It is a bigger market and people don't care too much about "why LA." I have never lived in LA (and never spent more than a weekend there prior to OCI) and I came away with multiple V25 offers there.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:56 pm

i still wonder why an LBGT guy from my T25 or T30 managed to get an offer with a vault100 in SF. He has good grades but definitely definitely not the law review/magna type.

does being LGBT matter?

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i still wonder why an LBGT guy from my T25 or T30 managed to get an offer with a vault100 in SF. He has good grades but definitely definitely not the law review/magna type.

does being LGBT matter?


LGBT matters far, far less than being the relative of a senior partner

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i still wonder why an LBGT guy from my T25 or T30 managed to get an offer with a vault100 in SF. He has good grades but definitely definitely not the law review/magna type.

does being LGBT matter?


LGBT matters far, far less than being the relative of a senior partner


If I had to guess, a good portion of the people without ties would probably fall into the LGBT category since QOL for the LGBT community in San Fran is among the highest in the nation. Thus I don't see how this could help since they probably get it all the time "well, you see I'm gay so I just want to live here".

Are you friends with him and do you know he couldn't establish ties another way? Like, perhaps his partner already had a job lined up in tech in SF or something similar.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:21 pm

i think he probably does not have very strong ties with SF.

good to be gay.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:31 pm

Is an interest in tech clients not sufficient for a silicon valley firm? That seems a lot more relevant than where one went to high school or college. Worrying about flight risk for a late 20s adult making a major career decision doesn't seem reasonable.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 pm

I don't think bidding on an NYC SA then hoping to transfer to an west coast office upon graduation is a good idea. the nyc office would hate this, they pay you 3k a week, train you, and invest resources into you. they are not going to want to cut you loose after one summer.

r6_philly
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is an interest in tech clients not sufficient for a silicon valley firm? That seems a lot more relevant than where one went to high school or college. Worrying about flight risk for a late 20s adult making a major career decision doesn't seem reasonable.


It seems enough if you have a tech background, don't know about non IP folks.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:15 pm

IP-tech backgrounds will get you a job in SF, even with median grades from P. I know this from personal experience.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is an interest in tech clients not sufficient for a silicon valley firm? That seems a lot more relevant than where one went to high school or college. Worrying about flight risk for a late 20s adult making a major career decision doesn't seem reasonable.


Silicon Valley is a boring place and anyone in their 20s is a flight risk for the South Bay. I can see why having some sort of local tie and experience with the place can be important.

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englawyer
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby englawyer » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:28 pm

just thought i would put this out there. a huge part of bay area legal work is in silicon valley which is basically a huge office park/parking lot, not part of the city. if you would only be happy IN san francisco proper, you should be wary because your options will be far less. the commute is feasible but i've heard bad things.

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is an interest in tech clients not sufficient for a silicon valley firm? That seems a lot more relevant than where one went to high school or college. Worrying about flight risk for a late 20s adult making a major career decision doesn't seem reasonable.


Silicon Valley is a boring place and anyone in their 20s is a flight risk for the South Bay. I can see why having some sort of local tie and experience with the place can be important.


unless you're married with kids in your 20s

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bk1
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:41 pm

englawyer wrote:silicon valley which is basically a huge office park/parking lot

:lol:

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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:02 pm

bk1 wrote:
englawyer wrote:silicon valley which is basically a huge office park/parking lot

:lol:


That's true but it's a nice parking lot. A bit expensive. $$$ or commute. But if you want to work with those companies, you need to be there.

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20160810
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Re: Working in San Francisco Without Ties

Postby 20160810 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is an interest in tech clients not sufficient for a silicon valley firm? That seems a lot more relevant than where one went to high school or college. Worrying about flight risk for a late 20s adult making a major career decision doesn't seem reasonable.


Silicon Valley is a boring place and anyone in their 20s is a flight risk for the South Bay. I can see why having some sort of local tie and experience with the place can be important.

My experience with CA employers bears this out. While I was interviewing I got the sense that SF and LA don't care about ties at all, San Diego and the South Bay care about ties, Oakland firms care about ties a lot (they don't like being thought of as holdover employers until their attorneys can find jobs in SF), and Sacramento and Fresno employers basically won't hire you without ties.




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