West Virginia Legal Market

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BlueLotus
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West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:24 am

I'm asking for a friend and section mate. We're 1Ls at BC/BU. He wants to do PI in WV, but unfortunately he has no ties there to speak of. He grew up in rural MA, went to a MA undergrad. Great WE--did TFA in the Deep South and Fulbright in East Asia. Have no idea what his grades were like. As of the last time I spoke with him (yesterday afternoon) he hasn't applied for any 1L summer positions, and I've been pressuring him to do so ASAP before the semester gets really hectic.

I know this forum is pretty BosWash and West Coast-focused, but I was wondering if anyone here knows of the state of the WV legal market. I told him that it would probably be an uphill battle given his lack of ties. There are a handful of alums there from our school, and I urged him to use them to his advantage. What would you guys recommend he should do to break into the WV legal market? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:31 am

No ties.. trying to get to WV... why? Cant imagine the reason. As a total outsider (from MA no less!) he will never be accepted there. If he wants rural work why not stay in New England or the South? I worked in WV before (was assigned there)... had to be part of the "expatriate" community IE people from other states. It is an EXTREMELY insular community.

That said, if he is really set on it (and I dont believe that someone without ties could ever get a permanent job there) he has to start building ties now, volunteer at PD office or the equivalent for 1L summer. At least that will be some legal experience for his resume after he realizes that WV is not where he wants to be.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:39 am

Hey,

Thanks for the prompt reply. He's a very "make the world a better place" kinda guy and wants to settle there because because of the great need in rural Appalachia for legal services. He's particularly keen on education reform.

I told him, if that's his dream, then absolutely go for it, but keep New England and NOLA (where he did TFA) on the table too, given the extreme insularity of the market.
Last edited by BlueLotus on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:40 am

Anon, where do you have ties from?

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:50 am

Rural Midwest, mountainous area so I thought it would be somewhat similar to WV anyways hah... not really.

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pjo
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby pjo » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:59 am

I'm from Pittsburgh, and I have friends working in WV. Both Western PA and WV are extremely insular. It's not impossible for your friend to get a job in WV, but it won't be easy. All interviewers are going to be skeptical why he wants to be in the area if he has no ties. Also, there is a big difference between North West Virginia (Weirton/Morgantown/Huntington) and South West Virginia (Charleston and south). Your friend should research the difference. Also saying "because I want to help the people of Appalachia" is NOT what you want to say. People from WV don't call it "Appalachia", they call it West Virginia, and they're proud to be from there. Sounds like your friend is thinking of them as a charity case/some backwards folk, which is just going to really insult people from the area.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:05 pm

pjo wrote:I'm from Pittsburgh, and I have friends working in WV. Both Western PA and WV are extremely insular. It's not impossible for your friend to get a job in WV, but it won't be easy. All interviewers are going to be skeptical why he wants to be in the area if he has no ties. Also, there is a big difference between North West Virginia (Weirton/Morgantown/Huntington) and South West Virginia (Charleston and south). Your friend should research the difference. Also saying "because I want to help the people of Appalachia" is NOT what you want to say. People from WV don't call it "Appalachia", they call it West Virginia, and they're proud to be from there. Sounds like your friend is thinking of them as a charity case/some backwards folk, which is just going to really insult people from the area.


Oh, those were my words, not his, lol. Just summarizing the general gist of why he's interested in the area. He's from a very blue-collar, low-income rural background, hence the interest in indigent legal aid.

Will it be easier for an outsider to break into the N. WV market or the S. WV market?

cdelgado
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby cdelgado » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:19 pm

I am very familiar with the legal market in WV.

Unless you have ties or went to WVU law, forget it.

Maybe you could swing it in the eastern PH near Martinsburg. Not much else though.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:49 pm

cdelgado wrote:I am very familiar with the legal market in WV.

Unless you have ties or went to WVU law, forget it.

Maybe you could swing it in the eastern PH near Martinsburg. Not much else though.


"eastern PH"? (sorry, Philly gal here!)

Yeah, that's precisely what I figured. I'm gonna tell him to not expect to be welcomed with open arms and to network like crazy with the handful of BC alums that are there. Perhaps a downward transfer to WVU Law is in order if he's so bent on ending up there? As a friend, I'd be sorry to see him go, but it would be more ideal for his very specific career goals. He doesn't regret coming to BC, but is a bit disillusioned with certain aspects of the experience--for example, the very "privileged" student body (I suppose this is the case at all top schools), obsession with BigLaw, etc.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby iShotFirst » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:52 pm

WV isnt the only place where they have legal aid for indigents. They have that in every state, city, and most towns in the nation. Tell him to go back to rural MA/Maine if he wants rural. And why not New Orleans? NOLA is in serious need of indigent legal aid, especially PD.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:54 pm

I know nothing about the WV legal market.

But I can't imagine anything a tight, insular legal market/community wants less than some fancy pants New England lawyer coming to reform them.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:57 pm

Yeah, he's gonna also apply to the places he has ties to, but for some reason admires WV, lol. I've been pestering him about getting those cover letters and resumes out. It's not too late for gov/PI, but it will be in a few weeks. Hopefully the snow day will give him the extra time he needs to to get job stuff out of the way!

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:01 pm

Should I suggest that he send a transfer app to WVU? There's not much info in here about steep downward transfers, so I have no idea what sort of grades they would look for.

:lol: Hah, he is the opposite of "fancy-pants"! Single mom, first in his family to go to college, grew up in a tiny backwoods town with literally 300-something people.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:06 pm

PinkLotus wrote:Should I suggest that he send a transfer app to WVU? There's not much info in here about steep downward transfers, so I have no idea what sort of grades they would look for.

:lol: Hah, he is the opposite of "fancy-pants"! Single mom, first in his family to go to college, grew up in a tiny backwoods town with literally 300-something people.


His actual background is irrelevant to his perceived background which is going to be directly tied to the state he grew up in and the school he went to.

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20160810
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby 20160810 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:08 pm

I cannot imagine this plan working out with no ties. You need ties to work in Atlanta--WV with no ties? Fuhgeddaboudit.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby okinawa » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:15 pm

I wouldn't suggest putting the idea of a transfer into his head. Just let him apply and strike out from his preferred market (which is so weird, btw. has he ever even been to WV? why on earth would you focus on that as the place with poor people? maybe he should be trying NOLA or detroit), and then he can continue his career at a school that actually gives him some chance of employment after graduation. If he doesn't want to take that advice, well, it's his career and his choice and it's not your job to save him from his own poor decision making and weird fetishization of appalachia as this untouched land in desperate need of massachusetts lawyers to save them.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:15 pm

okinawa wrote:I wouldn't suggest putting the idea of a transfer into his head. Just let him apply and strike out from his preferred market (which is so weird, btw. has he ever even been to WV? why on earth would you focus on that as the place with poor people? maybe he should be trying NOLA or detroit), and then he can continue his career at a school that actually gives him some chance of employment after graduation. If he doesn't want to take that advice, well, it's his career and his choice and it's not your job to save him from his own poor decision making and weird fetishization of appalachia as this untouched land in desperate need of massachusetts lawyers to save them.


Interestingly enough, New Orleans PD doesn't list any openings for public defenders.

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BlueLotus
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:26 pm

okinawa wrote:I wouldn't suggest putting the idea of a transfer into his head. Just let him apply and strike out from his preferred market (which is so weird, btw. has he ever even been to WV? why on earth would you focus on that as the place with poor people? maybe he should be trying NOLA or detroit), and then he can continue his career at a school that actually gives him some chance of employment after graduation. If he doesn't want to take that advice, well, it's his career and his choice and it's not your job to save him from his own poor decision making and weird fetishization of appalachia as this untouched land in desperate need of massachusetts lawyers to save them.


Yeah, you're probably right. He's just soooo frustrated with Career Services, and I'm tryna help him figure out the best way to target his desired market/s.

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TTH
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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby TTH » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:55 pm

<--From West Virginia (admitting it is the first step)

West Virginia firms are extremely skeptical of people without ties, and for good reason. I know at least two people who burned WV firms last summer. I imagine WV's public interest employers are similar.

However, hope is not lost. If your friend considers public defender work to be similar in kind, it's actually relatively easy to get court appointments as a private practitioner in WV. I know lots of people who hung a shingle and got on panels for appointments. Of course, that's probably not going to satisfy LRAP and the like, so in light of that, here are some things your friend might consider.

1. Spend a semester visiting at WVU law. He would then have four months to network with local practitioners and could then make a credible case that he's committed to practicing in West Virginia.

2. Depending on his financial resources, start cold calling organizations/PD offices in WV (a few counties have employ PDs directly) and offer to work for free 1L summer. Once he's down there, he can start making connections.

3. More of a long-term thing, but if his grades are decent, he could probably snag a clerkship in a West Virginia court postgrad.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:44 pm

Washington and Lee student here - A good amount of W&L students end up in West Virginia after graduation. TTH mentioned spending a semester at WVU law. I'd second that but add Washington and Lee into the mix. We have a Black Lung Clinic here that focuses on WV coal miner black lung claims that seems like it'd be right up your friend's alley. Even if your friend doesn't want to do the visiting students thing, he should check out the Black Lung Benefits Act. It's pretty interesting stuff and would make for a really fulfilling career if your friend has West Virginia PI in mind.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby cinephile » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Washington and Lee student here - A good amount of W&L students end up in West Virginia after graduation. TTH mentioned spending a semester at WVU law. I'd second that but add Washington and Lee into the mix. We have a Black Lung Clinic here that focuses on WV coal miner black lung claims that seems like it'd be right up your friend's alley. Even if your friend doesn't want to do the visiting students thing, he should check out the Black Lung Benefits Act. It's pretty interesting stuff and would make for a really fulfilling career if your friend has West Virginia PI in mind.


By West Virginia, are you talking about the western part of regular Virginia? Otherwise this doesn't make a lot of sense why W&L would be helpful.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby TTH » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:22 pm

cinephile wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Washington and Lee student here - A good amount of W&L students end up in West Virginia after graduation. TTH mentioned spending a semester at WVU law. I'd second that but add Washington and Lee into the mix. We have a Black Lung Clinic here that focuses on WV coal miner black lung claims that seems like it'd be right up your friend's alley. Even if your friend doesn't want to do the visiting students thing, he should check out the Black Lung Benefits Act. It's pretty interesting stuff and would make for a really fulfilling career if your friend has West Virginia PI in mind.


By West Virginia, are you talking about the western part of regular Virginia? Otherwise this doesn't make a lot of sense why W&L would be helpful.


W&L is pretty close to the border and places a lot of people in WV.

Also, isn't the Black Lung thing pretty played out at this point? I don't know the law well, but I seemed to recall there's a window of time the plaintiff/decedent had to work in the mines in order to bring a claim, and people in that window are tapering off.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:23 pm

cinephile wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Washington and Lee student here - A good amount of W&L students end up in West Virginia after graduation. TTH mentioned spending a semester at WVU law. I'd second that but add Washington and Lee into the mix. We have a Black Lung Clinic here that focuses on WV coal miner black lung claims that seems like it'd be right up your friend's alley. Even if your friend doesn't want to do the visiting students thing, he should check out the Black Lung Benefits Act. It's pretty interesting stuff and would make for a really fulfilling career if your friend has West Virginia PI in mind.


By West Virginia, are you talking about the western part of regular Virginia? Otherwise this doesn't make a lot of sense why W&L would be helpful.


No, I mean West Virginia. Geographically, it makes sense... Washington and Lee is in central Virginia and fairly close to the WV border, so many W&L students come from/end up in West Virginia. Visiting W&L would be a good choice for OP's friend because the school is very well-regarded in WV and the Black Lung Clinic deals with an issue that is huge in WV.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:27 pm

TTH wrote:
cinephile wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Washington and Lee student here - A good amount of W&L students end up in West Virginia after graduation. TTH mentioned spending a semester at WVU law. I'd second that but add Washington and Lee into the mix. We have a Black Lung Clinic here that focuses on WV coal miner black lung claims that seems like it'd be right up your friend's alley. Even if your friend doesn't want to do the visiting students thing, he should check out the Black Lung Benefits Act. It's pretty interesting stuff and would make for a really fulfilling career if your friend has West Virginia PI in mind.


By West Virginia, are you talking about the western part of regular Virginia? Otherwise this doesn't make a lot of sense why W&L would be helpful.


W&L is pretty close to the border and places a lot of people in WV.

Also, isn't the Black Lung thing pretty played out at this point? I don't know the law well, but I seemed to recall there's a window of time the plaintiff/decedent had to work in the mines in order to bring a claim, and people in that window are tapering off.


I'm not sure exactly either, but I know that the clinic is always busy and that new healthcare laws could potentially (or already do) have significant effects on black lung cases. I guess it'd be best for OP's friend to ask that question to someone who practices in the field.

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Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:21 pm

pjo wrote:I'm from Pittsburgh, and I have friends working in WV. Both Western PA and WV are extremely insular. It's not impossible for your friend to get a job in WV, but it won't be easy. All interviewers are going to be skeptical why he wants to be in the area if he has no ties. Also, there is a big difference between North West Virginia (Weirton/Morgantown/Huntington) and South West Virginia (Charleston and south). Your friend should research the difference. Also saying "because I want to help the people of Appalachia" is NOT what you want to say. People from WV don't call it "Appalachia", they call it West Virginia, and they're proud to be from there. Sounds like your friend is thinking of them as a charity case/some backwards folk, which is just going to really insult people from the area.


+1 million. Mountaineers are very proud people. West Virginia is unlike any other state I've ever been to, and so are the people. My best friend from UG is from Beckley (South of Charleston), I've spent a lot of time there, met a lot of people, and I really like the state. I could never be accepted there though, they would always know I'm not really from there.




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