big law denver or texas

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jainyv
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big law denver or texas

Postby jainyv » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:58 pm

Four national firms with Denver offices - Cooley Godward Kronish, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Morrison & Foer ster and Hogan & Hartson - confirmed they're raising first-year pay to that level at their U.S. offices. (Denver Post). That would be 160,000 dollars as a first year associate.


What would it be like working at one of these firms? Hours? Bonus? Lock step pay? Chance of becoming partner? If anyone has any information please let me know.

What is biglaw in texas like?

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Bikeflip
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Bikeflip » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:33 pm

Getting into Denver biglaw is the first hurdle. Denver's biglaw market is not large.

From NALP, Gibson (33 in Denver) took on 4 2Ls for 2011. Cooley (38 in Denver) took zero. MoFo (17 in Denver) took zero. H&H (155 Downtown, 25 DTC, 9 Springs) took 2 for the downtown office.


Of the 35 or so NALP firms based in Colorado, I'd be shocked if there were 100+ SA openings last yr, let alone offers. Between the top 5-10% from CU and DU and the 51 "national" law students, a good chunk of biglaw spots are most probably taken.


This info isn't on the point you asked, but it is something to consider.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:46 pm

Bikeflip wrote:Getting into Denver biglaw is the first hurdle. Denver's biglaw market is not large.

From NALP, Gibson (33 in Denver) took on 4 2Ls for 2011. Cooley (38 in Denver) took zero. MoFo (17 in Denver) took zero. H&H (155 Downtown, 25 DTC, 9 Springs) took 2 for the downtown office.


Of the 35 or so NALP firms based in Colorado, I'd be shocked if there were 100+ SA openings last yr, let alone offers. Between the top 5-10% from CU and DU and the 51 "national" law students, a good chunk of biglaw spots are most probably taken.


This info isn't on the point you asked, but it is something to consider.


You have any idea how a T2 grad coming out of a fed. dist. ct. clerkship might fare, in terms of Denver biglaw?

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kalvano
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby kalvano » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:49 pm

Denver is exceptionally concerned with ties to the area. If you have none, you'll have a difficult time due to people taking summer offers, enjoying a Colorado summer, then never coming back.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:53 pm

kalvano wrote:Denver is exceptionally concerned with ties to the area. If you have none, you'll have a difficult time due to people taking summer offers, enjoying a Colorado summer, then never coming back.


Not sure if you replied to me. I'm ^^ guy. What if I have significant ties to the area? i.e., born & raised with family there.

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kalvano
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby kalvano » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:Denver is exceptionally concerned with ties to the area. If you have none, you'll have a difficult time due to people taking summer offers, enjoying a Colorado summer, then never coming back.


Not sure if you replied to me. I'm ^^ guy. What if I have significant ties to the area? i.e., born & raised with family there.


Then that would probably be a good position to be in.

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Bikeflip
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Bikeflip » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Bikeflip wrote:Getting into Denver biglaw is the first hurdle. Denver's biglaw market is not large.

From NALP, Gibson (33 in Denver) took on 4 2Ls for 2011. Cooley (38 in Denver) took zero. MoFo (17 in Denver) took zero. H&H (155 Downtown, 25 DTC, 9 Springs) took 2 for the downtown office.


Of the 35 or so NALP firms based in Colorado, I'd be shocked if there were 100+ SA openings last yr, let alone offers. Between the top 5-10% from CU and DU and the 51 "national" law students, a good chunk of biglaw spots are most probably taken.


This info isn't on the point you asked, but it is something to consider.


You have any idea how a T2 grad coming out of a fed. dist. ct. clerkship might fare, in terms of Denver biglaw?



Anecdotally, firms won't give clerkships a boost as much as you think/hope a clerkship would do. However, that's coming from a sample of like 5 Denver attorneys in various practice areas with various years of experience. Who knows? Maybe other firms are different. NALP should have records of who hired clerks, so I'd check there. Also, Denver looks to be more of a place that people lateral "back" to, assuming you're from Colorado. If you're not from Colorado, you'll probably have more difficulty.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:07 pm

(Soon-to-be-former Denver attorney.)

If you really, really want to work in Denver, here's what I would recommend: Go to NYC or SF or Chicago or DC or LA. Work at a V20 firm for 3-4 years. Sock away every penny you can to get your loans down to a manageable level. Take the Colorado bar. Apply to the USAO and the AG's office. Stay away from the law firms -- and especially the Denver-based firms.

(The above poster was correct. Jobs at the big national offices are essentially unattainable as an entry level without a COA clerkship. Hogan used to be a little more lenient, but not really since the merger. There are mid-sized local firms who look for elite law school grads, but you don't want to be there. They don't pay well, and the work isn't great. And by that, I mean have fun litigating the $90k franchise case or doing a $5M shopping mall deal.)

With respect to the federal district clerk, don't bother. I was one as well, and I was told REPEATEDLY that I should have clerked for the Colorado Court of Appeals (intermediate state appellate court) -- though most acknowledged that a Article III clerkship for the chief judge in the big city district is slightly better than a Colorado state trial court judge. I was also told that my law school pedigree was really hurting me. I graduated with honors (just shy of coif) from a CCN, by the way. This was from a DU or CU grad (I forget which).

Colorado is great and all, but the Denver legal market is parochial, ignorant (I remember a few years ago having to explain to a Denver lawyer -- at one of the big firms, no less -- what federal abstention doctrines are), and the firms pay crap. Stay away. Government is government, so you get good work, and at least the feds pay well. (The state AG doesn't, but the work is probably even a little more interesting than the USAO.)

jainyv
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby jainyv » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:53 pm

thanks for the replies. I go to law school at CU, and I am a 1L my grades were exceptional this first semester, but I don't know if I should transfer out or stay at my school and try for biglaw in denver. I do have ties to Colorado, I grew up here and my family lives here. How could I get a big law job in a large city, while still staying at CU? Should I transfer out?

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:50 pm

How could I get a big law job in a large city


Other than Denver? Out of CU, best bet is probably federal COA clerkship, which means you need to graduate in the top 3 in the class. If you mean in Denver, top 10% will do. Especially if that's combined with a Colorado Supreme Court or D. Colorado clerkship.

Should I transfer out?


Really just depends on what your goals are. If you want to work in a big Denver firm (H&H, DGS, HRO, Brownstein, etc.), you're probably better off staying at CU and graduating top 5% or so. If you want to work outside of Colorado, you're better off transferring. If you want to work at one of the true national firms (not regional firms with a Denver office), well, start working on your karma, because it's going to take a lot of luck -- there's just so few of those jobs here.

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Bikeflip
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Bikeflip » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:30 pm

jainyv wrote:thanks for the replies. I go to law school at CU, and I am a 1L my grades were exceptional this first semester, but I don't know if I should transfer out or stay at my school and try for biglaw in denver. I do have ties to Colorado, I grew up here and my family lives here. How could I get a big law job in a large city, while still staying at CU? Should I transfer out?


Pufer still on these boards? He's a great resource for all things Colorado. First, don't assume you can transfer just b/c you have good grades from 1st semester. Your next 1/2 of grades will come soon enough, and I wish you the best of luck.

Second, you've created more questions than answers. If you transferred, how much would you have to take out in loans? Where else would you want to work besides Colorado? Do you want to come back to Colorado? Are you on scholarship at CU? Have you talked to any attorneys downtown? What would they think about your potential transfer options? How good are your chances for big-law from CU? What about a good or decent boutique? Some of these questions you can answer better after you get your second semester grades. In fact, all of these questions shouldn't be thought about until after finals and the writing competition.

Another element to consider is after-school costs. Denver's CoL, assuming you don't need a house around Cherry Creek and Wash Park (and you don't), is cheaper than pretty much every major market out there. (Even around Wash Park you can find deals). If you're on a good scholarship from CU, and you can come out of CU making $80,000 at a good midsize shop, I'd say you've won the Colorado law game. Of course, that may be easier said than done, and your situation may be different. If you come out of a top school and earn $110,000, how much of that $30,000 difference is eaten up in taxes and loan repayments? Just things to consider.
Last edited by Bikeflip on Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AreJay711
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:33 pm

Bikeflip wrote:Of the 35 or so NALP firms based in Colorado, I'd be shocked if there were 100+ SA openings last yr, let alone offers.


There are probably more offers than spots.

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Bikeflip
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Bikeflip » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:37 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Bikeflip wrote:Of the 35 or so NALP firms based in Colorado, I'd be shocked if there were 100+ SA openings last yr, let alone offers.


There are probably more offers than spots.



Probably. The point I'm trying to make is that the market is small. It sounds like OP is just starting to think about the Denver big law market, and one very important threshold question is, "Just how big is the market?"

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:43 pm

CCN 3L and lifelong Denver resident and native here. My family still all lives there, my wife and daughter were both born there. I worked for the City of Denver, I ran a civic organization there, went to CU for undergrad, etc., etc.

I blanketed the city in resumes both for 1L summer and ahead of OCI, and took every OCI firm that had a denver office. Did not get a single callback. I wish you the best breaking into that market, but as far as I can tell, it's top of the class at CU/DU or nothing.

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sunynp
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby sunynp » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:CCN 3L and lifelong Denver resident and native here. My family still all lives there, my wife and daughter were both born there. I worked for the City of Denver, I ran a civic organization there, went to CU for undergrad, etc., etc.

I blanketed the city in resumes both for 1L summer and ahead of OCI, and took every OCI firm that had a denver office. Did not get a single callback. I wish you the best breaking into that market, but as far as I can tell, it's top of the class at CU/DU or nothing.


Maybe this explains the high percentage of CU grads who were unemployed and not seeking employment. They've just given up. ( the other explanation proposed was that CU's class is loaded with trustfund kids and that they don't look for jobs because they don't need jobs.)

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:26 am

sunynp wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:CCN 3L and lifelong Denver resident and native here. My family still all lives there, my wife and daughter were both born there. I worked for the City of Denver, I ran a civic organization there, went to CU for undergrad, etc., etc.

I blanketed the city in resumes both for 1L summer and ahead of OCI, and took every OCI firm that had a denver office. Did not get a single callback. I wish you the best breaking into that market, but as far as I can tell, it's top of the class at CU/DU or nothing.


Maybe this explains the high percentage of CU grads who were unemployed and not seeking employment. They've just given up. ( the other explanation proposed was that CU's class is loaded with trustfund kids and that they don't look for jobs because they don't need jobs.)


I think it's overwhelmingly the first. I know quite a number of CU law grads from my old job; none are practicing attorneys. Most all went back to their previous occupation with the City, albeit sometimes in a slightly fancier job. One's teaching at a community college. One's doing grant-funded policy work. Not one real lawyer in the bunch.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:35 pm

I completely second the advice of the above poster. The government is the way to go to get into the market as a top-14 law grad. Denver reminds me a lot of DC in that there is a glut of people who want to work here, so firms are insanely picky (even the not great ones). The only way I broke into the market is getting hired as an AUSA (which was insanely difficult -- they get thousands of applications per spot).

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:39 pm

sunynp wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:CCN 3L and lifelong Denver resident and native here. My family still all lives there, my wife and daughter were both born there. I worked for the City of Denver, I ran a civic organization there, went to CU for undergrad, etc., etc.

I blanketed the city in resumes both for 1L summer and ahead of OCI, and took every OCI firm that had a denver office. Did not get a single callback. I wish you the best breaking into that market, but as far as I can tell, it's top of the class at CU/DU or nothing.


Maybe this explains the high percentage of CU grads who were unemployed and not seeking employment. They've just given up. ( the other explanation proposed was that CU's class is loaded with trustfund kids and that they don't look for jobs because they don't need jobs.)


Just as another anecdote, I was top 1/3 at HYS, and from CO but not Denver, and got 3 offers in Denver (out of 4 callbacks). I tended to do better with the national firms, though, than the Denver-based firms. Most of the other summers in my office had ties to the mountain west, but only 1 other was a Coloradan (CU/DU, top of the class).

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leobowski
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby leobowski » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:17 pm

There were tons of no-offers at the big denver firms for the class of 2012 SAs. And CO SC clerkships are more competitive than article III gigs these days, as far as I can tell. Even the tippy-top/ LR kids at the local kids are not guaranteed a job by any means. It is absolutely brutal.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby shock259 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:27 am

This thread is thoroughly depressing, but very informative. Thanks for all of the info.

I'm a CU student in about the top 7-8%. I have transfer apps out to a bunch of T14 schools, but haven't heard back from any yet. I don't know if I actually want to transfer. Fortunately, I'll be graduating debt-free regardless of where I end up.

I would probably rank my goals like this:

1) Biglaw in CO
2) Biglaw anywhere
3) Medium/small firm in CO
4) Any legal employment
5) JD preferred
6) death

Is there any information on CO mid and small firm names, pay, practice areas, quality of life, etc? Unfortunately NALP has very limited data on CO firms (I'm guessing CO only has a handful of firms that are big enough to make NALP). Would placement at medium/small firms in CO be better from a T14 school with local ties OR from CU with good grades and local ties? Would a salary of $70k be reasonable for someone with my grades if I stay at CU?

Sorry if this is scatterbrained. It's late. Thanks for any help/resources!

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:48 am

What about Holland & Hart, Davis Graham, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, or Reilly Pozner?

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:54 am

leobowski wrote:And CO SC clerkships are more competitive than article III gigs these days, as far as I can tell. Even the tippy-top/ LR kids at the local kids are not guaranteed a job by any means. It is absolutely brutal.


The clerkship comment seems spot on. During cycle a few years ago blanketed CO SC and CO Ct. of Appeals. Received multiple federal interviews, but none from the CO state courts.

Just as a single data point on this subject:
http://www.law.duke.edu/news/story?id=6940&u=11

cslouisck
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby cslouisck » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:36 pm

Bump. Looking for more info on CU v T14 in landing a Denver BigLaw or CO AG position.

User has been warned for being a 0L in the LE forum.

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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:30 pm

I will offer three conflicting data points: (a) I got multiple federal clerkship interviews in Denver with weak CO ties; (b) another person in my class got multiple federal clerkship interviews, and a clerkship, with weak CO ties; (c) another person in my class switched from the NY office of his/her firm (where he/she SA'd) to the Denver office (for an entry level position) with zero CO ties. Not sure how to interpret this, but these all seem to suggest that Denver employers may be slightly less parochial than people in this thread suggest.

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Pufer
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Re: big law denver or texas

Postby Pufer » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:36 am

Denver firms are pretty much as parochial as the rest of the thread suggests, even if clerkships are not. As Bikeflip noted earlier, big national firms don't really have that big a presence in Denver. There aren't many positions to be had, and those few that do exist generally aren't going to grads of the two local schools (think maybe a couple per year), so CU/DU is not the choice if you're looking for legit biglaw right out of law school, and Denver isn't your market of choice either. Ties may matter to the local folks at the local biglaw offices, but they're not necessarily the ones doing the hiring for the local positions (see the SA sent into Denver after SAing at the NY office above - you can bet that the local people weren't behind that).

The not-really-national big-ish firms (Holland & Hart and the like) are significantly more interested in ties, but they don't hire that much more than the big firms, and you're still talking T14/absolute top of other T1 schools (maybe a tad deeper at CU, but not by much), if they're looking at non-clerks at all.

Local, big-name, boutique-ish firms (Reilly Pozner and the like) are probably less interested in ties as they're interested in picking up top-notch talent that is a few years out/coming off of prestigious clerkships, but ties certainly help. Of course, add all of these firms together and you still don't have very many openings. Denver is dominated by non-big-name midlaw-and-smaller firms, who are hiring based on contacts and interns they're picking up from the local schools more than they are anything else.

As to clerkships, 10th Cir. clerkships are going to generally only be available to the tippy-top of the CU class (think top-five-in-class, LR board, etc.) and highly-ranked out-of-state schools (I wouldn't necessarily say T14 because there are often some oddities, but certainly ranked higher than CU). Ties really don't matter that much for those slots (I mean, you can get a 10th Cir. slot and end up in SLC or Santa Fe).

CO Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are competitive in terms of the numbers of applications they get, but less so in terms of upper-echelon candidates. High end CU grads generally do fairly well there (CU grads are certainly overrepresented in both courts relative to any other school/category of school), but not necessarily because of ties (although knowing the various judges doesn't hurt, and a lot of them are still CU grads). Trial level federal gets a lot of interest for what it is, but isn't necessarily that competitive for solid candidates from anywhere. Trial level state is mostly local, and fairly nonexistent.

State AG's office doesn't strike me as being particularly hard to get into, except insofar as they're constantly moving between hiring freezes.

tl;dr version: Denver is not the market you're looking for if you're looking for biglaw. The few legit biglaw firms are too small to support many entry-level folks and fill those few slots with either prestigious clerks or T14 folks who SA'd OOS. 10th Cir. is mostly a T14-type affair, mainly because of the makeup of the various judges. Top CU types are traditionally slightly better than OOS for any level of state clerkship, but it varies by judge. You're fucked if you're looking for anything else and you don't have some standout selling point (ties, contacts, prestigious/relevant clerkship, objectively amazing resume from a T14, etc.).

-Pufer




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