West Virginia Legal Market

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:00 am

She's a sweetheart and well meaning, but I really hope no one takes that seriously. If I were an employer, I would take a bottom -half person with legal WE during the summers over a top 5% LR person who "recaptured their mental health" over 1L and 2L summers. :lol:

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:03 am

PinkLotus wrote:She's a sweetheart and well meaning, but I really hope no one takes that seriously. If I were an employer, I would take a bottom -half person with legal WE during the summers over a top 5% LR person who "recaptured their mental health" over 1L and 2L summers. :lol:


I just think these law professors live in some fantasy fucking dream world where all of their students still get jobs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:06 am

ImNoScar wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i got interviews with JK and steptoe w/no ties to WV so it's definitely not impossible. (median, t14)

1L or 2L?


op, 1L

User avatar
pjo
Posts: 610
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby pjo » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:09 am

Red Beard wrote:Interesting take on the WV legal market right now from a WVU Law professor: --LinkRemoved--


Just read this. I'm incredibly surprised that this professor thinks a "selling point" of the WV legal market is that it's now the mecca of doc review (i.e. his points 2 and 3). Yes, he is correct that there are some very good firms in WV (Steptoe/JK/Spillman/Bowles etc.) but let's face it, those firms are not competing with DC and NY firms. They have a very specific and dominant niche in oil and gas and litigation, primarily mass tort. But it's not like a client is saying "hey, should we let (top WV firm) handle this M&A deal or Skadden?"

Other than that handful of firms, the large plethora of legal work in WV is doc review from bigger firms in nearby cities. Reed Smith, Orrick, I think Buchannan Ingersoll (there's a bunch others as well) have moved their entire doc review centers to WV and Dayton Ohio because firms finally figured out they don't have to outsource overseas to get the lower prices. Just set up shop in a low COL area (like Dayton or WV) and you can justify paying 40k or less to a JD to sit in a room and develop no practical legal skills whatsoever. Although this is undoubtedly the future of the industry, I find it incredible that a WVU law professor is trying to portray this as a selling point for WVU law. It's like "hey, come to WVU law. You'll spend 3 years to get a degree that you won't actually need and end up working in a less-than-paralegal job, but hey you'll still technically be a lawyer". I really hope the ABA recognizes the changing legal industry/landscape of the profession and changes the curriculum so that you only have to go 2 years to do doc review.

Sorry for the rant.

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:20 am

pjo wrote:
Red Beard wrote:Interesting take on the WV legal market right now from a WVU Law professor: --LinkRemoved--


Just read this. I'm incredibly surprised that this professor thinks a "selling point" of the WV legal market is that it's now the mecca of doc review (i.e. his points 2 and 3). Yes, he is correct that there are some very good firms in WV (Steptoe/JK/Spillman/Bowles etc.) but let's face it, those firms are not competing with DC and NY firms. They have a very specific and dominant niche in oil and gas and litigation, primarily mass tort. But it's not like a client is saying "hey, should we let (top WV firm) handle this M&A deal or Skadden?"

Other than that handful of firms, the large plethora of legal work in WV is doc review from bigger firms in nearby cities. Reed Smith, Orrick, I think Buchannan Ingersoll (there's a bunch others as well) have moved their entire doc review centers to WV and Dayton Ohio because firms finally figured out they don't have to outsource overseas to get the lower prices. Just set up shop in a low COL area (like Dayton or WV) and you can justify paying 40k or less to a JD to sit in a room and develop no practical legal skills whatsoever. Although this is undoubtedly the future of the industry, I find it incredible that a WVU law professor is trying to portray this as a selling point for WVU law. It's like "hey, come to WVU law. You'll spend 3 years to get a degree that you won't actually need and end up working in a less-than-paralegal job, but hey you'll still technically be a lawyer". I really hope the ABA recognizes the changing legal industry/landscape of the profession and changes the curriculum so that you only have to go 2 years to do doc review.

Sorry for the rant.


This is a bit inaccurate. The large amount of legal work in WV is more on the small scale (PI, etc.). It's probably the most litigious state in the nation. There are tons of solo or small firm PI shops in WV. With how much of a wild west it is legally, there's a lot of work that pays decently. Most people graduating from WVU go into these little firms or into solo practice. That's another reason why the lit departments in the big firms are always so busy, too.

I agree with the rest of your post, though.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i got interviews with JK and steptoe w/no ties to WV so it's definitely not impossible. (median, t14)

1L or 2L?


op, 1L

What offices? I also interviewed with both these firms recently in Charleston. Ties. T14

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:37 pm

whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.


Top 15%-20% is what those firms look for. It's going to be tough, but manageable. Better odds at "bigg(er) law" than schools in the range of WVU.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.


If you want to stay in state, there is no better option than WVU. In state tuition is somewhere around 16k (obviously less for you). WV's legal market is above average (oil and gas is booming). The vast majority of hiring partners in the state attended WVU. Considering the debt level and employment prospects, I doubt there is a safer law school investment available outside the very top schools. Of course, law school is always a gamble and a WVU degree will not land you employment outside of WV and Pitt (likely top 5% for Pitt though). You may also want to consider that staying in WV severely limits your practice area options. If you go to WV and decide you want to do M&A/securities regulation/corporate governance/etc... it's just not gonna happen. You're pretty much limited to oil and gas, litigation (often really dark stuff like black lung/asbestos), or employment/labor law.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.


If you want to stay in state, there is no better option than WVU. In state tuition is somewhere around 16k (obviously less for you). WV's legal market is above average (oil and gas is booming). The vast majority of hiring partners in the state attended WVU. Considering the debt level and employment prospects, I doubt there is a safer law school investment available outside the very top schools. Of course, law school is always a gamble and a WVU degree will not land you employment outside of WV and Pitt (likely top 5% for Pitt though). You may also want to consider that staying in WV severely limits your practice area options. If you go to WV and decide you want to do M&A/securities regulation/corporate governance/etc... it's just not gonna happen. You're pretty much limited to oil and gas, litigation (often really dark stuff like black lung/asbestos), or employment/labor law.


OP here I really do want to stay instate and understand about the practice areas being limited. Even if I do not get one of the bigger firms, which I realize you can never bank on, I would be happy working at a smaller firm. Im just worried in general about taking on as little debt as possible and the ability to get a decent legal job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.


If you want to stay in state, there is no better option than WVU. In state tuition is somewhere around 16k (obviously less for you). WV's legal market is above average (oil and gas is booming). The vast majority of hiring partners in the state attended WVU. Considering the debt level and employment prospects, I doubt there is a safer law school investment available outside the very top schools. Of course, law school is always a gamble and a WVU degree will not land you employment outside of WV and Pitt (likely top 5% for Pitt though). You may also want to consider that staying in WV severely limits your practice area options. If you go to WV and decide you want to do M&A/securities regulation/corporate governance/etc... it's just not gonna happen. You're pretty much limited to oil and gas, litigation (often really dark stuff like black lung/asbestos), or employment/labor law.


OP here I really do want to stay instate and understand about the practice areas being limited. Even if I do not get one of the bigger firms, which I realize you can never bank on, I would be happy working at a smaller firm. Im just worried in general about taking on as little debt as possible and the ability to get a decent legal job.


30k is very manageable, especially considering what most law students end up owing. If the question is whether to go to law school at all, then I don't know what to tell you (other than it's risky). If the question is whether you should go to WVU, then I think the choice is easy. That said, you still need to be above median. If you want S&J or JK, you need to be top 5-10%. Top 15-20% will make you competitive for some of the other biggish firms, but you better have a good personality. Outside of those ranges, you're looking at smaller firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:whats the consensus on attending WVU if you want to stay in state? Ive lived here all my life and have a decent scholarship. Tuition will be ~10k/yr and Im hoping not to take out any loans for living so roughly 30k debt at graduation. I'd like to work at a major WV firm (Steptoe, JK, etc...) Really I'm wondering what my chances are at getting a good firm job and if that debt level is manageable.


If you want to stay in state, there is no better option than WVU. In state tuition is somewhere around 16k (obviously less for you). WV's legal market is above average (oil and gas is booming). The vast majority of hiring partners in the state attended WVU. Considering the debt level and employment prospects, I doubt there is a safer law school investment available outside the very top schools. Of course, law school is always a gamble and a WVU degree will not land you employment outside of WV and Pitt (likely top 5% for Pitt though). You may also want to consider that staying in WV severely limits your practice area options. If you go to WV and decide you want to do M&A/securities regulation/corporate governance/etc... it's just not gonna happen. You're pretty much limited to oil and gas, litigation (often really dark stuff like black lung/asbestos), or employment/labor law.


OP here I really do want to stay instate and understand about the practice areas being limited. Even if I do not get one of the bigger firms, which I realize you can never bank on, I would be happy working at a smaller firm. Im just worried in general about taking on as little debt as possible and the ability to get a decent legal job.


30k is very manageable, especially considering what most law students end up owing. If the question is whether to go to law school at all, then I don't know what to tell you (other than it's risky). If the question is whether you should go to WVU, then I think the choice is easy. That said, you still need to be above median. If you want S&J or JK, you need to be top 5-10%. Top 15-20% will make you competitive for some of the other biggish firms, but you better have a good personality. Outside of those ranges, you're looking at smaller firms.


Thanks for the insight. I know I want to to go to law school and I think given my situation WVU is a good choice for me. I would be happy working at any firm making 50-60K and hope that WVU is a good choice to make this possible.

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby hephaestus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:50 pm

I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).

User avatar
pjo
Posts: 610
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby pjo » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:22 pm

ImNoScar wrote:I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).


Yeah, I agree with this. Avg. starting salary for attorneys working at non-Biglaw firms in Pittsburgh is 45k.

Avg. starting salary for attys working in personal-injury type of firms in areas surrounding Pittsburgh (Beaver/New Castle/Indiana) is about 37k, which is what i would guess PI shops in WV would also pay.

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby hephaestus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:26 pm

pjo wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).


Yeah, I agree with this. Avg. starting salary for attorneys working at non-Biglaw firms in Pittsburgh is 45k.

Avg. starting salary for attys working in personal-injury type of firms in areas surrounding Pittsburgh (Beaver/New Castle/Indiana) is about 37k, which is what i would guess PI shops in WV would also pay.

Exactly. But that's still quite a bit with such low CoL.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273516
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:40 pm

ImNoScar wrote:
pjo wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).


Yeah, I agree with this. Avg. starting salary for attorneys working at non-Biglaw firms in Pittsburgh is 45k.

Avg. starting salary for attys working in personal-injury type of firms in areas surrounding Pittsburgh (Beaver/New Castle/Indiana) is about 37k, which is what i would guess PI shops in WV would also pay.

Exactly. But that's still quite a bit with such low CoL.


So wheres the balance between the WV big firms and the 37K jerbs? Or are you saying there is no middle ground?

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby hephaestus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:01 pm

Something critical about legal hiring is that it's bimodal. So, there's a big spike in salary for big law attorneys and a vast gap to small firms. If the WV market is like other nearby markets, you'll see a big drop off.
An oft-repeated myth is that "If I miss big law, I'll hit mid law and make 2/3 as much." That really isn't borne out by reality. For example, in Pittsburgh, the big firms pay between 100-145k. You'd be hard pressed to find a small firm paying 60k. As pjo said, the average hovers around 45. So it's either 100 or 45 with almost no middle ground.

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10384
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby TTH » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
pjo wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).


Yeah, I agree with this. Avg. starting salary for attorneys working at non-Biglaw firms in Pittsburgh is 45k.

Avg. starting salary for attys working in personal-injury type of firms in areas surrounding Pittsburgh (Beaver/New Castle/Indiana) is about 37k, which is what i would guess PI shops in WV would also pay.

Exactly. But that's still quite a bit with such low CoL.


So wheres the balance between the WV big firms and the 37K jerbs? Or are you saying there is no middle ground?


I don't know what they pay, but there's a decent band of middle-sized firms in Charleston doing various forms of business law: Bonasso, Lewis Glasser, Goodwin, to name a few. I can't imagine they're paying 30/40. I'd put them in the 50-60 range.

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
pjo wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:I can't imagine that 50 or 60k is normal for a small firm in WV though. With the big four paying between 72-78k, I'd doubt that's average. Honestly, that's pretty high for nearby, more major markets (eg Pittsburgh).


Yeah, I agree with this. Avg. starting salary for attorneys working at non-Biglaw firms in Pittsburgh is 45k.

Avg. starting salary for attys working in personal-injury type of firms in areas surrounding Pittsburgh (Beaver/New Castle/Indiana) is about 37k, which is what i would guess PI shops in WV would also pay.

Exactly. But that's still quite a bit with such low CoL.


So wheres the balance between the WV big firms and the 37K jerbs? Or are you saying there is no middle ground?


There is middle ground. Also, Nelson Mullins hires one or two per year and pays in the 70s.

Then you have Kay Casto, Bonasso, Huddleston Bolen, Pullin Fowler, Farrell White and Legg, etc. Those are solid secondsry options that still pay quite well. That includes the firms named above too.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:09 pm

http://www.wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html

Anyone here been to the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville? Looks pretty fascinating! Think I might add that to the list of things to do on my northern WV trip this summer, in addition to the penitentiary and New Vrindaban.

User avatar
wvu
Posts: 1565
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:20 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby wvu » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:44 pm

PinkLotus wrote:http://www.wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html

Anyone here been to the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville? Looks pretty fascinating! Think I might add that to the list of things to do on my northern WV trip this summer, in addition to the penitentiary and New Vrindaban.

I haven't been in a long time but I used to roll down it as a kid. :lol:

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:39 pm

I need to get out to the mounds again one day

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:42 pm

wvuchip wrote:
PinkLotus wrote:http://www.wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html

Anyone here been to the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville? Looks pretty fascinating! Think I might add that to the list of things to do on my northern WV trip this summer, in addition to the penitentiary and New Vrindaban.

I haven't been in a long time but I used to roll down it as a kid. :lol:


I always love when WV fans bitch about Dana wearing black on the sidelines.

User avatar
wvu
Posts: 1565
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:20 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby wvu » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:35 pm

Red Beard wrote:
wvuchip wrote:
PinkLotus wrote:http://www.wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html

Anyone here been to the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville? Looks pretty fascinating! Think I might add that to the list of things to do on my northern WV trip this summer, in addition to the penitentiary and New Vrindaban.

I haven't been in a long time but I used to roll down it as a kid. :lol:


I always love when WV fans bitch about Dana wearing black on the sidelines.

I've carefully screened the WVU message board I visit to ensure a lack of those people.

Red Beard
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:56 pm

Re: West Virginia Legal Market

Postby Red Beard » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:39 am

wvuchip wrote:
Red Beard wrote:
wvuchip wrote:
PinkLotus wrote:http://www.wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html

Anyone here been to the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville? Looks pretty fascinating! Think I might add that to the list of things to do on my northern WV trip this summer, in addition to the penitentiary and New Vrindaban.

I haven't been in a long time but I used to roll down it as a kid. :lol:


I always love when WV fans bitch about Dana wearing black on the sidelines.

I've carefully screened the WVU message board I visit to ensure a lack of those people.


Unfortunately the Scout board is filled with them. I only use it since I like their recruiting updates.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.