Cracking San Francisco?

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Cracking San Francisco?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:04 am

I'm slightly above median at Penn but have no ties. What are my chances and what should I be doing to at least give myself a shot?

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bk1
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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:50 am

Do the BADCF if you can. Failing that, propose to someone from the Bay Area. Ideally you would have spent 1L summer in the Bay Area at the least, but I'm assuming that boat has sailed.

My guesstimate is that your chances are not good. You lack any ties to a place that cares about ties. Your grades are average for a place that doesn't have a ton of SAs and thus has a lot of competition. I'd suggest being open to SV as well since that'll give you a few more offices to aim for but I don't think that's gonna radically change things.

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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:31 am

This thread is very relevant to my interests.

I'm somewhere above top 1/3 at Penn and I also have no ties to the bay area, other than some uncles/aunts/cousins that live there. But I have a tech background, and while I don't want IP, I want to do corp work with tech startups and VC. Do you think that can overcome my lack of ties, esp if I target SF and SV?

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gotmilk?
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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby gotmilk? » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This thread is very relevant to my interests.

I'm somewhere above top 1/3 at Penn and I also have no ties to the bay area, other than some uncles/aunts/cousins that live there. But I have a tech background, and while I don't want IP, I want to do corp work with tech startups and VC. Do you think that can overcome my lack of ties, esp if I target SF and SV?


If you want to do tech startups/VC and have a tech background, that's a good tie for SV. Have clearly articulated reasons for wanting to do that work, tie in your tech background, and make sure to mention the family that you have there (it helps if you can say that you regularly visit to see them too/as a result can speak somewhat intelligently about the area). There's not nearly as much tech startup and VC work in SF, which is unfortunate because there are many more SA spots there. As long as you prepare well though I think you'll be fine.

The above strategy to target SV in addition to SF to cast a wide net without ties isn't necessarily good. BK is right that it wouldn't improve your chances much. SV has many fewer spots because it is smaller, and they emphasize ties more than SF (ties for SV = IP, VC, or any more typical ties like growing up there). If you don't have any of the above, I doubt you'd have much success in SV without really stellar grades. It's possible that just applying to the few extra spots in SV might increase your chances of an SA slightly, but unless OP really wants SV for a particular reason, I'd go for SF and then spend other bids on a backup market like NYC. Although this is of course a personal decision- would you rather risk striking out entirely for a slightly improved chance at the Bay Area or would you be pretty assured of an SA but not necessarily of one in the Bay Area. Keep in mind that some firms are more friendly to moving offices after starting- try to get work from the partners in the SF office after starting in NYC, have a decent reason for moving, and it's quite possible to get to SF when you may not have been able to originally.

BADCF is very credited.

Good luck.

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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby Zeile » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:13 am

What about bidding on LA firms that have SF offices in hopes of maybe getting them to switch you over after you have an offer in hand?

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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:25 am

gotmilk? wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This thread is very relevant to my interests.

The above strategy to target SV in addition to SF to cast a wide net without ties isn't necessarily good. BK is right that it wouldn't improve your chances much. SV has many fewer spots because it is smaller, and they emphasize ties more than SF (ties for SV = IP, VC, or any more typical ties like growing up there).

BADCF is very credited.

Good luck.


What else is considered sufficient ties to the area for SV? Is going to undergrad there and then working there for 2 years sufficient? My 2 years of work experience in SV was more than 4 years ago but it was not in tech or VC.

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gotmilk?
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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:34 am

Zeile wrote:What about bidding on LA firms that have SF offices in hopes of maybe getting them to switch you over after you have an offer in hand?


I think this is a better strategy than finding mid-level work in SF, as it's very rarely possible to lateral from midlaw to biglaw, and often quite feasible to switch offices. As I said above, contact partners in SF during the summer and try to get work from them. If people in the office you want to move to know you and liked the work you did for them, it makes it much easier to switch.

Also, unless you're otherwise completely uncompetitive (in which case you might not be competitive for LA biglaw either), or you have a really rough OCI system, there's no harm in throwing some bids to SF offices and seeing if you can't get lucky. Don't give up on the dream- if you really want SF so much, with some practice you can probably make that come across in your interview.

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gotmilk?
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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This thread is very relevant to my interests.

The above strategy to target SV in addition to SF to cast a wide net without ties isn't necessarily good. BK is right that it wouldn't improve your chances much. SV has many fewer spots because it is smaller, and they emphasize ties more than SF (ties for SV = IP, VC, or any more typical ties like growing up there).

BADCF is very credited.

Good luck.


What else is considered sufficient ties to the area for SV? Is going to undergrad there and then working there for 2 years sufficient? My 2 years of work experience in SV was more than 4 years ago but it was not in tech or VC.


Like most things, "ties" isn't a black or white thing. It's not like there's a line between "sufficient ties" and "insufficient ties." The goal is to convince the interviewer/firm that this is the market you want to be in, so you don't run off somewhere else with their offer or training after a year or two as an associate. Someone in another somewhat recent thread (don't remember who or where) put it very well, saying that it also depends where else you have stronger ties. If you grew up in Fresno and otherwise spent your time there, then undergrad + two years of working is a great tie to SF, because it's your best tie to any major legal market. On the other hand, if you grew up in NYC, you're going to have a harder time convincing them you want SF, even if you really do.

"Ties" isn't some magical opaque thing (like grade cutoffs often are, for example) that you need tons of advice on. Just think of it from the employer's perspective. Listen to your story, and ask yourself whether it sounds like X city is your 1st choice location (and mind you, interviewers will ask where else you're looking and what ties you have to those markets). If not, re-tool your answer so that it does (or does as much as you can without stretching the truth).

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Re: Cracking San Francisco?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:06 am

gotmilk? wrote:Like most things, "ties" isn't a black or white thing. It's not like there's a line between "sufficient ties" and "insufficient ties." The goal is to convince the interviewer/firm that this is the market you want to be in, so you don't run off somewhere else with their offer or training after a year or two as an associate. Someone in another somewhat recent thread (don't remember who or where) put it very well, saying that it also depends where else you have stronger ties. If you grew up in Fresno and otherwise spent your time there, then undergrad + two years of working is a great tie to SF, because it's your best tie to any major legal market. On the other hand, if you grew up in NYC, you're going to have a harder time convincing them you want SF, even if you really do.

"Ties" isn't some magical opaque thing (like grade cutoffs often are, for example) that you need tons of advice on. Just think of it from the employer's perspective. Listen to your story, and ask yourself whether it sounds like X city is your 1st choice location (and mind you, interviewers will ask where else you're looking and what ties you have to those markets). If not, re-tool your answer so that it does (or does as much as you can without stretching the truth).


Thanks, that's the best explanation of "ties" I've read.




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