Importance of DC ties?

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Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:26 am

I'm a NC native, UG in NC, and a rising 2L at UNC/WF and looking at SA positions in larger DC firms that are coming to our OCI. I have no ties to DC (guessing that enjoying a few visits there doesn't count). I'm top 20% or so and wrote on to LR.

How much will my lack of DC ties hurt me? Or do I even have a shot at all, if we assume that ties don't matter? I've heard conflicting ideas about this. If ties do matter, how do I downplay this in cover letters?

Thanks, y'all.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:00 am

Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby androstan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


wut

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:22 am

androstan wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


wut


i heard dc was rough like that. there was someone in another thread top 15% or so at gtwown, only had 2 dc offers and 9 ny offers. either way, for the op, im a rising 2L at unc, and have looked into this. From what i have gathered, you need to have a coherent reason why you want to be in dc, but overall ties are not that important (like they are for other markets). do you go to wake or unc, that may make a difference. While big law placement is roughly the same (actually i think wake does a little better) given that i dont go to wake i cannot comment on what percentage of that is dc. at unc, there are several firms that go deep in unc's class (ex; sidley austin). There are other firms that dont come to our oci, but in recent years have hired ppl from mass mailing.(you need to do your homework on these firms and be sure to apply). that said, nothing i said really makes a difference--all you can do is bid/mass mail on dc and hope for the best----and make sure to focus heavily on nc b/c that is where you will be most successful.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


Same school, top 1/3, no LR, and no DC ties. Got an offer from larger DC firm. Certainly ties help, although I don't think they're necessary to land an offer in a larger market as long as you have a compelling and genuine list of reasons as to why you are committed to sticking around. Firms like ties because its easy proof you're into the market. But rattling off a list of reasons why you love NY/DC/LA etc during interviews can also be super helpful. Just my .02.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby androstan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


Same school, top 1/3, no LR, and no DC ties. Got an offer from larger DC firm. Certainly ties help, although I don't think they're necessary to land an offer in a larger market as long as you have a compelling and genuine list of reasons as to why you are committed to sticking around. Firms like ties because its easy proof you're into the market. But rattling off a list of reasons why you love NY/DC/LA etc during interviews can also be super helpful. Just my .02.


Dafuq.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:54 am

androstan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


Same school, top 1/3, no LR, and no DC ties. Got an offer from larger DC firm. Certainly ties help, although I don't think they're necessary to land an offer in a larger market as long as you have a compelling and genuine list of reasons as to why you are committed to sticking around. Firms like ties because its easy proof you're into the market. But rattling off a list of reasons why you love NY/DC/LA etc during interviews can also be super helpful. Just my .02.


Dafuq.


It's not that shocking. Grades and LR are the two biggest factors probably, but it's not a straight numbers game. And DC is a really tough market if you're not at a T6. There's a reason people suggest not to bid on DC too heavily

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:37 pm

Ties are not important for the DC market.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:57 pm

OP here. Thanks guys. I'm at UNC, btw. I agree with the "have good reasons that you want DC but specific ties aren't necessary" argument, and I'll definitely articulate a few reasons. Is that something than can/should be done effectively in a cover letter, or should it wait for an interview? Anyone know which firms besides SIdley Austin go deeper into UNC's class (so I don't spend hours digging)?

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby androstan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
androstan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was top-15% and LR at GW and got no DC offers (though lots in my 2 other markets). DC is just tough. Good luck.


Same school, top 1/3, no LR, and no DC ties. Got an offer from larger DC firm. Certainly ties help, although I don't think they're necessary to land an offer in a larger market as long as you have a compelling and genuine list of reasons as to why you are committed to sticking around. Firms like ties because its easy proof you're into the market. But rattling off a list of reasons why you love NY/DC/LA etc during interviews can also be super helpful. Just my .02.


Dafuq.


It's not that shocking. Grades and LR are the two biggest factors probably, but it's not a straight numbers game. And DC is a really tough market if you're not at a T6. There's a reason people suggest not to bid on DC too heavily


Mostly curious about what the top 1/3 person had going for him/her and what the top15/LR person had going against him/her. I think you have to interview pretty badly to fail with top15/LR. That, or bid very stupidly.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby IAFG » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:17 pm

androstan wrote:Mostly curious about what the top 1/3 person had going for him/her and what the top15/LR person had going against him/her. I think you have to interview pretty badly to fail with top15/LR. That, or bid very stupidly.

No. Just, no. Striking out in DC is incredibly easy.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:57 pm

The question will likely come up in an interview. And depending on your 1L grades and the firm, explaining why DC is very important.

My suggestion is to have two or three solid reasons why you want to be in DC short- or long-term: (1) DC's practice areas matches perfectly with your legal interests (litigation/admin/firm-specific area); (2) You believe that the city itself is the Goldilocks fit for you (perfect balance between NYC (too big) and [secondary city] (too small); (3) You have some personal connection to it (family, significant other, worked there at some point in your life). You can also take the sting out of the question if, in response to "Why this firm?", you mention that it or its office is in DC as one of your reasons.

Also be prepared for a question such as "So, with what other firms/in what other cities are you interviewing?" There, you can also show DC is where you ultimately want to work by answering: I am interviewing exclusively for DC firms (if true) or "I am looking at firms primarily in Washington, but also hedging my bets by interviewing in [NYC/hometown/etc]."

For the cover letter, no need to spend more than one or two sentences on it. Just write something like: "Although my roots are in North Carolina, I desire to start my legal career in Washington, DC." Then list a few reasons why you personally would like to work there.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:02 pm

Mostly curious about what the top 1/3 person had going for him/her and what the top15/LR person had going against him/her. I think you have to interview pretty badly to fail with top15/LR. That, or bid very stupidly.[/quote]

Top 1/3 poster. Prior work experience at a firm was huge. Nearly every firm I interviewed with liked that I emphasized that experience in my cover letters and during interviews. Of course, not because I was doing anything substantive. Because I could say with a straight face "I've seen firm life, I've worked firm hours, I've seen the WORST of what firm life has to offer, but I know this is what I want". That made a big difference. I was also told more than once that in this economy, any work experience is super helpful.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:39 pm

The randomness of DC makes sense if you look at the nature of the market. The big DC offices are incredibly selective. I think the only firms with class sizes > 20 are: W&C, Covington, Wilmer, Hogan, Arnold & Porter, Sidley, Kirkland, Latham, and Skadden. These firms are all a reach for anyone outside the top 25% at HYS or top 10-15% at the rest of the T14, or top 5% in the T25.

The remaining firms in DC are a bit less grade-selective, but have quite small summer classes: with just a few at the smaller offices and maybe 10-15 at bigger offices like Wiley Rein.

That puts people in say the top 25% of the T14 aiming for DC in the same boat as the people who are median-ish aiming for NYC: aiming at firms that don't hire a lot of people. Each bid on a Hunton & Williams is equivalent to applying for 5 open positions, while each bid on say a Covington is equivalent to applying for 35 open positions. At the same time, there are a lot more people gunning for Hunton & Williams than on Covington, because most people know they're outside the latter's grade range.

On top of all this, DC firms are extremely snobby. They want to fill their class with HYS, a few GULC/UVA, and the occasional other-T14/T25 for variety and color. They can be this way because DC is extremely popular with HYS people and top folks at the other T14. At the same time, there aren't lot of jobs in DC relative to say NYC. The biggest 4 DC firms put together have a smaller summer class than just one of S&C/DPW/Cleary.

So bottom line, if you're not in the running for the top DC firms, reconsider. You'll be in the position of targeting firms with small class sizes, which means that you need not just the grades, but also a good reason for DC, and also you need to really click with the interviewer. I was probably just outside that range at a T14, and got only one DC offer despite more than a dozen other callbacks and an NYC V5 offer.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:16 pm

androstan wrote:Mostly curious about what the top 1/3 person had going for him/her and what the top15/LR person had going against him/her. I think you have to interview pretty badly to fail with top15/LR. That, or bid very stupidly.

I was the top-15%/LR at GW poster. I received 9 (I think, it was a few years ago) offers at non-DC market-paying firms, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't interviewing poorly. I think there are 3 major things to consider. First, other than a few huge DC firms, many firms have relatively small SA classes (less than 10 people), so the odds of striking out in DC are much higher than markets such as NY or LA. Second, because of the expected better lifestyle and lower COL in DC versus a city like NY, many DC firms gets tons of interest from students at HYSCCN. Just based on these two points, you have more very-qualified students applying for a smaller number of positions. Third, and probably most relevant in my case, is DC does not do a lot in terms of transactional work (it's mostly litigation/regulatory/compliance work) so if you want to do corporate work your options are already limited from the get-go.

TL;DR version: DC is a tough market regardless of ties; if you really want DC, understand that you will most likely have to do litigation or regulatory legal work and either come from a T6 school or have great grades

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby androstan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:19 pm

You guys are given very good reasons why DC is a hard market and a top15/LR may strike out. I still have not read a reason why a top35 person would get a great offer but a top15 person will not.

Top35er, are you patent/IP? Befriended a partner? Extremely hot? URM?

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby IAFG » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:22 pm

androstan wrote:You guys are given very good reasons why DC is a hard market and a top15/LR may strike out. I still have not read a reason why a top35 person would get a great offer but a top15 person will not.

Top35er, are you patent/IP? Befriended a partner? Extremely hot? URM?


firms are not like law schools. they don't report GPA medians to USNWR. their choices are not terribly predictable.

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Re: Importance of DC ties?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:28 pm

androstan wrote:You guys are given very good reasons why DC is a hard market and a top15/LR may strike out. I still have not read a reason why a top35 person would get a great offer but a top15 person will not.

Top35er, are you patent/IP? Befriended a partner? Extremely hot? URM?

The top-35% person already answered this above:
Top 1/3 poster. Prior work experience at a firm was huge. Nearly every firm I interviewed with liked that I emphasized that experience in my cover letters and during interviews. Of course, not because I was doing anything substantive. Because I could say with a straight face "I've seen firm life, I've worked firm hours, I've seen the WORST of what firm life has to offer, but I know this is what I want". That made a big difference. I was also told more than once that in this economy, any work experience is super helpful.




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