Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

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Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:30 am

I went to college at University of Oregon / Oregon State University (won't specify for anonymity reasons) and graduated with good curricular involvement and decent grades (i.e. between 3.5 and 3.7). Then went and graduated from a T25 law school not on the West Coast or in the Northwest region (yes, a 'trap' school, I know) with median but top 50% grades.

I will be taking the Oregon bar (on Tuesday!) and then trying to break into the Portland, Oregon market. Has anyone here, from Oregon, gone to law school outside Oregon and managed to break into the Portland, Oregon market? Or maybe that is too specific -- does anyone here simply have an educated guess as to how hard it is to break into the Portland market from a law school outside the region?

I'm wondering how rough of a road I have ahead of me...

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Re: Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:56 am

I've had an interview with an Oregon firm at OCI (I'm not from, nor do I currently attend a school in Oregon). I felt like I got scrutinized, more so than I got with any other firm. But I think that's because Oregon, and I'm guessing Portland in particular, is one of those places where there just isn't much work and also that all attorneys aren't necessarily going to want to stay in. When you leave a firm, you also take with you the monetary investment they made by taking the time to train you. Turnover costs the firm money. The retraining costs can be significant and disruptive in a smaller office. Since Oregon doesn't have the allure that makes all attorneys want to settle down there, as to the more major metropolitan areas, there is reason for a firm to wonder whether they will retain your work to get an adequate return on that investment.

So, basically, you just have to convince them you're in the area for good. Move there before you get a job, try to show that you're dedicated to living there regardless of work. Or be charming and persuasive.

Just my $0.02

Total Litigator
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Re: Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby Total Litigator » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:02 am

Thanks, I think that is good advice.

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Re: Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:33 am

I think there are two obstacles to Portland: the small number of jobs and the insular nature of the market.

I would guess that the ties thing won't be a problem for you. Youre from there and, more importantly, youre already committing to PDX by taking the OR bar. Instead, the problem is going to be just finding a job. I don't think youre any better off than the kids coming out of L&C, UO, etc even though you went to a "better" school, and there are plenty of those kids looking for legal jobs as well. Youre also a recent grad, which means biglaw is probably not gonna happen. You need to get in contact with all the small/mid-size PDX firms. Go to bar events, etc and just network like crazy. That will be how you get your job I'm guessing...

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Re: Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:37 pm

OP here

I think you're definitely right when you say that I'm not any better off than LC and UO grads. Although, I am hoping that, although I don't have as many contacts, connections, and local experiecne as LC and UO grads, my top 1/2 grades at a T25 will equate to top 1/3 at LC or UO. But I guess at this point small grade differentiations like that don't mean much. Yeah, my plan is to move to Portland when I pass the bar and hustle.

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androstan
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Re: Getting back to Oregon from a T25 'Trap' School

Postby androstan » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:10 pm

I doubt that, given a market like Oregon, they are thinking along the lines "hmmm top 1/2 at BU probably means same aptitude as top 1/3 from Oregon..." They'll look at your resume and decide if you're worth an interview, which will probably be based on some idea of "decent" grades, ties to the area, interest in one or more of their practice areas, your experience... etc.

Having gone to an in-state school for undergrad, I'd say your ties are pretty strong. Not as strong as someone who went their for UG AND LS, but strong nonetheless. You should try and connect with as many attorneys there as you can, network it up.




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