3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

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TrundleBot
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3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby TrundleBot » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:55 pm

So here is my issue, my number one priority for employment is money and beyond that feel like I am almost too flexible for my own good. I absolutely love law school and the material so far and I am very confident that there are very few practice areas or work environments that I would not be able to enjoy. I am also not opposed to long hours or anything like that (in many ways I prefer it). I am going to be targeting the Minn market since the school's influence is definitely strongest here, but the salaries are typically much lower than other markets with similar cost of living so I would prefer to go somewhere that I can make more money if possible.

Given the school, what types of firms are likely to be completely out of my reach? Should I even bother applying to V50/100 firms that aren't in the Midwest? How does Minnesota compare to schools like USC or GWU that are close in rankings but might have more of a national presence?

Goal:
My number one goal is essentially to go where I can take home the most money. Beyond that I do not have any factors that would be controlling but there are a few preferences that might affect my decision if everything else is equal.

Location:
Strong ties to Boston.
Loose ties to CA, DC, Atlanta, Central Virginia, and Minn (just through school and now summer job).
Slight preference for something on the east coast but not a controlling factor at all.

Practice Areas:
I am interested in lots of different areas (corporate/tax/technology/IP/healthcare/others). I am not excluding the possibility of finding an area through classes that I absolutely love, but knowing my personality it is more likely that I will enjoy most of them and not have any strong preference. In any event, bidding on firms is happening now so future classes won't be helpful narrowing down my search.

Stats:
Rising 2L at Univ of Minn
3.73 GPA - The school only releases quartiles rather than your specific rank but the top 25% is 50 students between 3.587 – 4.080.
Will be on a Secondary Journal
Roughly 4 years of Non-legal work experience after undergrad (nothing particularly relevant to law or my practice area interests)
No hiring connections
No particularly impressive undergrad
No special undergrad degree
Not an especially amazing interviewer - I have very good to exceptional interpersonal skills once my foot is in the door but I am probably worse than average at conveying that in interviews or on any short term basis.

Thanks for any helpful feedback!
Last edited by TrundleBot on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.

DportIA
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby DportIA » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:04 pm

You aren't top 25% you're like 8-15%. Ask your CSO, but you should put "estimated class rank X%" or something.

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bk1
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby bk1 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:05 pm

DportIA wrote:You aren't top 25% you're like 8-15%. Ask your CSO, but you should put "estimated class rank X%" or something.

You should not put estimated class rank.

DportIA
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby DportIA » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:15 pm

Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

rad lulz
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby rad lulz » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:16 pm

DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

It's probably an honor code violation

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nevdash
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby nevdash » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:18 pm

DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

He can still just provide the cutoffs on his resume and employers will know what's up.

"GPA: 3.70 (top 25% = 3.59, top 10% = X)" etc.

TrundleBot
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby TrundleBot » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:20 pm

DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.


Ya I figure I am at least top 16% given a semi normal distribution and our OCS has us list the gpa then the quartile range so I wouldn't ever say I was only top 25% on a resume or anything. I thought about putting in a disclaimer or something in the title but I decided I didn't want to make it too convoluted. I'll change it to the GPA instead to avoid further confusion.

EDIT:
rad lulz wrote:
DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

It's probably an honor code violation


Ya, the only way we can get more specific ranges or our specific ranking is if applying to a clerkship or some job that requires it.

DportIA
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Re: 3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby DportIA » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:30 pm

bk1 wrote:
DportIA wrote:You aren't top 25% you're like 8-15%. Ask your CSO, but you should put "estimated class rank X%" or something.

You should not put estimated class rank.


Man our CSO did not tell us this. I am pretty sure they provided sample resumes with "estimated" ranks on there. We only have 12.5 and 37.5 percentiles, so somewhat more helpful for high GPAs, and useless to figure out a low GPA.

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minnbills
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby minnbills » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:51 pm

rad lulz wrote:
DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

It's probably an honor code violation


I'm pretty sure it would be. The U pretty much refuses to give actual class rank unless you're trying for a clerkship.

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bk1
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby bk1 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:55 pm

DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.

Not only is it likely an honor code violation (as noted above), the problem is you could be dead wrong. What if you legitimately estimate yourself as top 8-15% and you happen to be top 25%? That would be bad to have sent what essentially amounts to a lie on a bunch of resumes to employers.

I have no idea what the placement disparity is at UMinn based on grades, but I do know that firms that have hired from UMinn before will know what OP's rough percentile is based on previous hiring.

TrundleBot
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby TrundleBot » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:19 pm

bk1 wrote:
DportIA wrote:Why? You're selling yourself way short. There is a huge placement disparity between top 10 grades and 25 grades from a school like UM.


Not only is it likely an honor code violation (as noted above), the problem is you could be dead wrong. What if you legitimately estimate yourself as top 8-15% and you happen to be top 25%? That would be bad to have sent what essentially amounts to a lie on a bunch of resumes to employers.

I have no idea what the placement disparity is at UMinn based on grades, but I do know that firms that have hired from UMinn before will know what OP's rough percentile is based on previous hiring.


Yes, the risk of misestimating and thus misrepresenting my position is why I posted it the way I did since I am not officially assuming anything above 25% (it's possible, though unlikely, that the top quartile has one person with the 3.587, then me, then 48 other people with higher GPAs). I'm using my own estimates to apply for jobs that only want the top X% (where X is less than 25) but otherwise I'm just not making any affirmative statements beyond what I know for sure.

With that out of the way.... anyone have any thoughts on my actual question? :wink:

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Nova
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Re: 3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby Nova » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:21 pm

Nice work ;)

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nevdash
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby nevdash » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:25 pm

TrundleBot wrote:With that out of the way.... anyone have any thoughts on my actual question? :wink:

You should definitely mass-mail firms in any area where you have ties. It might take some work, but when people ask "should I even bother applying to X," they're usually saying, in a whiny voice, "do I haaaaave to?" Yes, you have to. Your grades don't make you a lock for the biglaw, which seems to be what you want. You have to put in extra legwork.

In terms of OCI, it depends on whether you're going to be restricted in your number of bids at all. Do you have more firms coming to OCI than bids available? If so, bid on all of them. Again, your grades are good, but you're not a lock.

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minnbills
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Re: 3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby minnbills » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:26 pm

Work OCI, go to the upcoming off-campus events, and start mass mailing firms elsewhere.

jkay
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Re: 3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby jkay » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:28 pm

Where do you work this summer?

I realize places like Dorsey and Faegre don't pay 160, but I really, really wonder about how much lower the actual cost of living is in Minneapolis compared to NYC. Housing alone is an order of magnitude different.

That said, have you started mass mailing firms in your target markets yet? There's only one way to find out how portable that degree really is.

TrundleBot
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Re: Top 25% at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby TrundleBot » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:50 am

Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it!

@Nevdash - I think you are right that I am really asking "do I have to" but my concern isn't really focussed on mass mailings or things like that but rather stuff that will cost me money that I do not really have right now. For example, our school has an off-campus interview program to bid on interviews that take place in NY, DC, and San Francisco. If there are only a few employers in each market it may not make sense to spend the money and miss class to go if I have almost no shot at landing anything.

I am getting way ahead of myself on this point but I would also be worried that because of the NALP guidelines for responding to offers I might be put in a situation where I would be tempted to accept an early offer from a firm because I misestimated my chances at landing better offers. Or worse, I decline an offer because I thought I had a great chance for something better when I really didn't.

As for OCI, we essentially have enough bids to cover all the firms that I would be interested in so I'll certainly bid them all.


@jkay I am working for a nonprofit org in MN this summer. The big firms in MN start around $110K which is certainly not bad but the cost of living isn't really significantly cheaper than some markets that pay the same or much more. It's only slightly cheaper than Chicago and it's more expensive than Texas, Atlanta, Florida, and countless other smaller markets. Honestly, I am pretty sure the only places where the market starting salaries are less, when adjusting for the cost of living, are NYC and San Francisco.

The bigger consideration though is that while the cost of living offsets most of the discrepancy between the starting salaries of markets like Minneapolis vs NYC, the salary tends to go up as a proportion of the original amount. Just as an example, if someone is able to make it 5 years in NYC biglaw (I know most people don't) their salary could have gone up by 60-70K a year (before taxes). Meanwhile 5 years in a MN firm starting at 120K or less has only gone up by 10-30K. If this is spent on getting a better house it will be about the same but if it's put towards savings or student loans it makes a huge difference since those expenses don't change with where you currently live. To a lesser extent the same scaling applies to bonuses. Also, if the starting pay/cost of living is comparable such that you have roughly the same percentage of disposable income in each city, then the same percentage would go further for savings/loans in a higher cost of living city; therefore there is also a stronger motivation to be frugal in the larger city since every decision that saves money on things like housing, has more of an impact.

rad lulz
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Re: 3.73 at Minnesota: Question about targeting other markets

Postby rad lulz » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:40 am

.




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