Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

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Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:07 pm

Thought it'd be good to have a thread for folks who wanted to ask questions about bidding, firm culture, working and living in San Francisco, or anything else.

Happy to answer any questions anyone might have. I'm by no means an expert - 2L SA here in the city, interviewed with probably 2 dozen firms out here during the on-campus process last fall. Would love input from other people who are here in SF as well!

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:13 pm

moving to sf after my clerkship is over. office is in embarcadero. I want to save some money. where's a good place to live?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:17 pm

What ties did you have to the city that got you a 2L SA there?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:17 pm

Oh and which firms have the biggest SA classes there? It seems like most are pretty small.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby piccolittle » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:17 pm

I understand that SF firms are all about ties. Did you grow up there? How is the work or lifestyle different than in, say, NY? Sorry if those are incredibly vague and/or unanswerable...

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby thisguy456 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:21 pm

If you're not from the area, is going to law school in the area enough of a tie?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:moving to sf after my clerkship is over. office is in embarcadero. I want to save some money. where's a good place to live?


Glib answer: Anywhere on a BART or Muni line.

Longer answer: You have a lot of options, but nearly everywhere you'll be paying $1200 if you have a roommate. Mission District either near 16th St. BART or 24th St. BART can have some fairly cheap housing (though some parts are sketchier than others). Glen Park is also a solid option, but you're farther from fun stuff (and only on BART/buses at that point). Some places in the Castro are surprisingly cheap, especially if you have roommates.

A lot of people are living in Oakland now, since BART still takes you a block from Embarcadero. I know very little about the East Bay, but that's an option if you want to spend less than $1100 a month.

I'd stay away from Hayes Valley and North Beach if you're trying to save money, though they both are great areas with lots of nightlife.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby target » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:23 pm

1. School range? Class rank?

2. how big is your firm (V-ranking or NLJ range is fine if you're afraid to be ousted)?

3. Do you have an IP background?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:26 pm

Jessuf wrote:Oh and which firms have the biggest SA classes there? It seems like most are pretty small.


Jessuf wrote:What ties did you have to the city that got you a 2L SA there?


I had never lived in SF before getting my SA here. One of my best friends lives here, that's about it. I got asked about ties in every. single. interview. Didn't seem to hurt that I didn't have family here; they just really wanted to know I wasn't a flight risk.

Most class sizes are under 10, even at the firms with nearly 100 attorneys. The largest class size by far is MoFo. Kirkland has a good number of summers, probably 20ish. OMM and Quinn have a good amount. Even large area firms, like Gibson, Covington, Arnold & Porter, Farella Braun, Jones Day, etc., all have 6-10 summers. Bid widely.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:28 pm

thisguy456 wrote:If you're not from the area, is going to law school in the area enough of a tie?


Depends on the school. Stanford kids with no ties get SF offers with little trouble. Berkeley is similar. I think for most firms, a student who moved out here to go to Hastings and got involved in the city would be enough ties (with good grades).

It's not as insular as other places, so going to school here should be enough. You will still need to be ready for the question, and for pushback from attorneys who won't quite believe that a year at an area school proves you want to live in SF for the foreseeable future.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:31 pm

target wrote:1. School range? Class rank?

2. how big is your firm (V-ranking or NLJ range is fine if you're afraid to be ousted)?

3. Do you have an IP background?


1. HYSCCNB. A little better than top third.
2. My office is more than 80 attorneys, which is big for SF. It's one of the major players in SF, but I won't go into more detail.
3. No. No interest in IP at all, actually. There's a lot of non-IP work out here; IP probably helps a bit for the high-end IP practices, especially in the Valley, but a lot of the SAs I know in SF do little, if any, IP work.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:31 pm

(Different anon)

Jessuf wrote:Oh and which firms have the biggest SA classes there? It seems like most are pretty small.


To add to what the above anon said: if you really want to work in the Bay Area I suggest being open to the SV firms as well (though their work differs in some ways from what SF firms do) and you'll get some decent class sizes (20-30ish) from the SV natives (WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley) as well as a few more outpost offices that have the 5-10 range.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:37 pm

piccolittle wrote:I understand that SF firms are all about ties. Did you grow up there? How is the work or lifestyle different than in, say, NY? Sorry if those are incredibly vague and/or unanswerable...


They are and they aren't. Some care more than others. I did not grow up here; I'm from a completely different part of the country. I'd put the level of "caring about ties" near that of DC. They want to know you aren't going to run back somewhere else. It's fairly easy, I think, to talk about how great a city SF is and how much you want to be here. Most firms just need you to assuage that concern, in my experience.

Work is different here in a couple of ways. First, the hours are lower, which is kind of a given. The work schedule is different too; folks roll in at 8, 8:30 and leave at 5:30 or so, as opposed to the 9:30 - 6:30 schedule in NYC. Lots of tech clients, but there's a lot of non-IP work for those clients if you aren't into IP. Everyone represents one of Google/Apple/Facebook in one capacity or another. There's less financial work here, but there's still a good amount of banking/PE. The corporate work is generally more discreet with a quicker turnaround, and there's less M&A. I imagine the culture is more laid-back, but I haven't worked in NYC, so I can't say much about that.

There's plenty more, but that's a good start. If you have more specific questions about one of those areas, though, please ask away!

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:38 pm

From MVP, would love to get there with median grades but no ties. Grades too low?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(Different anon)

Jessuf wrote:Oh and which firms have the biggest SA classes there? It seems like most are pretty small.


To add to what the above anon said: if you really want to work in the Bay Area I suggest being open to the SV firms as well (though their work differs in some ways from what SF firms do) and you'll get some decent class sizes (20-30ish) from the SV natives (WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley) as well as a few more outpost offices that have the 5-10 range.


OP here. I definitely agree with this. Many, many people work in one of the SV offices and live in SF (it's about 40 minutes door-to-door from the Mission to SV, add 10 more if you're at Fenwick in Mountain View).

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby target » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Any SA you know that are not from T14? Any advice/knowledge on what grades I need at a T30 to get back to SF given I have strong tie and IP background?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From MVP, would love to get there with median grades but no ties. Grades too low?


Honestly, it'll be hard. I'd bid heavily on NYC firms that also have offices in SF; it's easy to lateral. I'd also mass-mail like crazy out here. You really do need to create a compelling narrative about the Bay Area, though.

There are a few firms you shouldn't waste your time with, because they care much more about grades and you're likely out of range: Covington, Quinn, Keker, Gibson, Arnold & Porter, Latham.

I'd also bid the Valley. Firms like Fenwick, Cooley, and Wilson aren't completely out of reach for median at MVP. Jones Day, Paul Hastings, Akin Gump, OMM, and Bingham are all possible, if still reaches I think.

Best of luck!

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Do you regularly see MoFo bros stylin on dem Orrick bros?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:45 pm

target wrote:Any SA you know that are not from T14? Any advice/knowledge on what grades I need at a T30 to get back to SF given I have strong tie and IP background?


Definitely. There are a ton of Hastings kids in the classes around here, and a few non-T14ers as well. UCLA/USC are also well-represented. Are you hard IP or soft IP? I don't think it makes much of a difference, but with ties and IP, I'd say top 20% won't get thrown away, top 10% gets a solid look.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:46 pm

rad lulz wrote:Do you regularly see MoFo bros stylin on dem Orrick bros?


OP here.

Brotip: MoFo ain't the frattiest firm in the Bay. The North Beach PE/bankers laugh at the lawyer "bros."

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From MVP, would love to get there with median grades but no ties. Grades too low?


The callback medians I've seen for two lower T14s hover around median for a decent amount of the firms. That being said, there are so few spots that it is still incredibly easy to strike out. Bidding NYC would be far safer.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Do you regularly see MoFo bros stylin on dem Orrick bros?


OP here.

Brotip: MoFo ain't the frattiest firm in the Bay. The North Beach PE/bankers laugh at the lawyer "bros."

What is the frattiest bay area firm.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:50 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:51 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Do you regularly see MoFo bros stylin on dem Orrick bros?


OP here.

Brotip: MoFo ain't the frattiest firm in the Bay. The North Beach PE/bankers laugh at the lawyer "bros."

What is the frattiest bay area firm.


Straight bros or gay bros?

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Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:51 pm

A fellow bay area person here: just to warn the two people that haven't heard that oakland is legitimately very dangerous so you may pay less to live there but with good reason. Berkeley is an ok place to be if want to be in the east bay and it is also a quick ride into the embarcadero.

Also Simpson, Skadden, Weil and DPW are all good practices in SV but may require higher grades than the non-MoFo CA firms. Orrick pays below market since they are on a special non-lock-step system with no transparency. Goodwin has been growing the office in SV quite a lot recently so it is sort of up and coming in the area. WSGR pays above-market bonuses based on hours, similar system to kirkland.




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