Grades for big law in small markets

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Anonymous User
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Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:25 pm

I go to a top tier school and want to go back home to work in a mid sized city in NC (smaller than Charlotte). There is a Womble Carlyle office there and a few other big firms have offices as well. Are they going to be as competitive grade-wise as offices in major markets? I know I'd have to be top 20% or so to get OCI and probably higher than that if I wanted to go to NYC or something. But to go to a town with less than a quarter million people in it, will I need the same kinds of grades?

wwwcol
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby wwwcol » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:45 pm

would a real answer to your question change your behavior in any way? i.e. you're still gonna try your best on finals

Anonymous User wrote:I go to a top tier school and want to go back home to work in a mid sized city in NC (smaller than Charlotte). There is a Womble Carlyle office there and a few other big firms have offices as well. Are they going to be as competitive grade-wise as offices in major markets? I know I'd have to be top 20% or so to get OCI and probably higher than that if I wanted to go to NYC or something. But to go to a town with less than a quarter million people in it, will I need the same kinds of grades?


other thoughts: where do you go to school? at a t6 median is fine to get biglaw, and median would probably get biglaw from most if not all of the t14. your thinking 20% is necessary to get biglaw suggest you either don't go to a very good school or are unfamiliar with your school's hiring stats (both of which are problematic for different reasons)

if you go to a school outside the southeast and want to return to small city NC, your school better end with "arvard" "ale" or "anford", otherwise good luck w/ that.

womble carlye et al are not "biglaw." this is important because these firms have tiny classes and hiring is a crapshoot from year to year. there are cities in the south where all the "big" firms hires 25 people in total every year. if 25 smart people from Duke/UVA/Emory/UNC etc decide they wanna live in your city one year, then you're SOL.

hope this helps good luck on finals bud

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:52 pm

OP here:

My school is indeed in the southeast. I said it's in the top tier, so that could mean Vandy, Emory, William and Mary, UGA, Washington and Lee, plus others. So it's not like I'm trying to come back after being at Boston College or something.

And yes, Womble might not be big law in the sense that Cravath is big law, but a school's employment stats would certainly classify it as big law being that it has over 500 attorneys.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:54 pm

wwwcol wrote:womble carlye et al are not "biglaw." this is important because these firms have tiny classes and hiring is a crapshoot from year to year. there are cities in the south where all the "big" firms hires 25 people in total every year. if 25 smart people from Duke/UVA/Emory/UNC etc decide they wanna live in your city one year, then you're SOL.

This is the key. A quick look at Womble Carlyle's Winston-Salem office shows they hired a 2013 Duke grad who was summa. If you went to a peer school and were trying to get to that same office you're gonna have a bad time. But in another year they may be all over a median bro from Michigan. Comes down to ties and enough luck to avoid being up against especially tough competition.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I go to a top tier school and want to go back home to work in a mid sized city in NC (smaller than Charlotte). There is a Womble Carlyle office there and a few other big firms have offices as well. Are they going to be as competitive grade-wise as offices in major markets? I know I'd have to be top 20% or so to get OCI and probably higher than that if I wanted to go to NYC or something. But to go to a town with less than a quarter million people in it, will I need the same kinds of grades?


The answer is yes. You'll need to have solid (not killer) grades. Womble in particular picks up a lot of cum lauds T14 grads. I don't know that it's *necessary* to have 3.6+, but it's telling that they have a lot of these.

It's even more important that they like you, though. Unlike NY firms, these firms are huge in culture. So you can't get away with just "not being an aspie." In NYC, if you're in the grade range and halfway normal you're fine. Not so here.

You also need to be aware that places like Womble only hire ~50% of their SAs. If you can land the job, it's awesome and the hours are reasonable. You just have a ton more obstacles to climb to get there.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I go to a top tier school and want to go back home to work in a mid sized city in NC (smaller than Charlotte). There is a Womble Carlyle office there and a few other big firms have offices as well. Are they going to be as competitive grade-wise as offices in major markets? I know I'd have to be top 20% or so to get OCI and probably higher than that if I wanted to go to NYC or something. But to go to a town with less than a quarter million people in it, will I need the same kinds of grades?


The answer is yes. You'll need to have solid (not killer) grades. Womble in particular picks up a lot of cum lauds T14 grads. I don't know that it's *necessary* to have 3.6+, but it's telling that they have a lot of these.

It's even more important that they like you, though. Unlike NY firms, these firms are huge in culture. So you can't get away with just "not being an aspie." In NYC, if you're in the grade range and halfway normal you're fine. Not so here.

You also need to be aware that places like Womble only hire ~50% of their SAs. If you can land the job, it's awesome and the hours are reasonable. You just have a ton more obstacles to climb to get there.


OP here:

that was a super solid answer. I appreciate it.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby BigZuck » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:

My school is indeed in the southeast. I said it's in the top tier, so that could mean Vandy, Emory, William and Mary, UGA, Washington and Lee, plus others. So it's not like I'm trying to come back after being at Boston College or something.

And yes, Womble might not be big law in the sense that Cravath is big law, but a school's employment stats would certainly classify it as big law being that it has over 500 attorneys.


There's gotta be a pretty solid chasm between Vandy and W&L, so much so that's it's hard to generalize. I'd imagine you would have to absolutely crush it at a place like W&L to have a shot at big law anywhere, at Vandy there is probably more leeway (but you'll probably still need good grades).

You're anon, feel free to say what school you go to and you might get more personally tailored advice

Anyway, I agree with what others have said, offices in smaller cities are just such a crapshoot, basically you've just gotta mass blast those apps and hope for the best.

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los blancos
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby los blancos » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:30 am

BigZuck wrote:I agree with what others have said, offices in smaller cities are just such a crapshoot, basically you've just gotta mass blast those apps and hope for the best.


This, speaking from experience. Ties matter a lot, so you'll at least have that down.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:46 am

"Top tier" felt rather deceptive here. If it takes top 20% from your school to penetrate the largest legal market, then I'm a little doubtful.

Without knowing more details this seems nearly impossible to offer, but I'm pretty sure at least to go to a market paying firm in a mid-sized southern city you will need 1) strong ties and 2) at least as good of grades as those necessary to go to some large firm in New York.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby thisismyname » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:57 am

If you are going to a regional school outside of your region, yes, you need grades. The ranking they are willing to accept may fluctuate by about 10% depending on the school ranking, but median will not cut it unless you have VERY strong ties. Even then, good luck. My suggestion, milk your ties to the city as much as you possibly can. The smaller the city, the more you need to convince them you absolutely intend to make a career there. Most smaller cites are weary that you will jump ship the first chance you get at a bigger market. Good luck on finals!

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:07 am

jbagelboy wrote:"Top tier" felt rather deceptive here. If it takes top 20% from your school to penetrate the largest legal market, then I'm a little doubtful.

Without knowing more details this seems nearly impossible to offer, but I'm pretty sure at least to go to a market paying firm in a mid-sized southern city you will need 1) strong ties and 2) at least as good of grades as those necessary to go to some large firm in New York.


ya this.

OP listed a bunch of "top tier" schools, and the list suggests he both does not know what a top tier school is and does not go to one.

I said it's in the top tier, so that could mean Vandy, Emory, William and Mary, UGA, Washington and Lee, plus others Duke or UVA.


like zuck pointed out, it's a different story coming from Vandy than from anywhere else. If you want small city NC from vandy, you probably have to do pretty well, but anywhere else, presumably you absolutely have to crush it. when you're competing with lots of duke and probably some uva/HYS people for a few jobs, it's gonna be tough regardless.

you should probably start forming a back-up plan that doesn't involve getting a post-grad job in a tiny southern market with just a few firms that regularly hire new grads (and in which firms regularly no offer those who are lucky enough to get summer associateships)

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:26 pm

I'm sorry... does "top tier" not mean top 50? Because I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean T-14 and maybe 15 and 16

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jbagelboy
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm sorry... does "top tier" not mean top 50? Because I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean T-14 and maybe 15 and 16


Actually when someone says "top tier" school on this site they usually refer to the same roughly thirteen programs, and often even just 5-6 schools.

There is no "top 50"; the unfortunate US news survey list of 50 schools comprises a select few top national schools, an even smaller group of top regional schools, and then a large number of middling regional programs
Last edited by jbagelboy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:35 pm

I think people here see a difference between "top tier" and "tier one."

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I go to a top tier school and want to go back home to work in a mid sized city in NC (smaller than Charlotte). There is a Womble Carlyle office there and a few other big firms have offices as well. Are they going to be as competitive grade-wise as offices in major markets? I know I'd have to be top 20% or so to get OCI and probably higher than that if I wanted to go to NYC or something. But to go to a town with less than a quarter million people in it, will I need the same kinds of grades?


I'm pretty sure I know the city in NC that you're talking about. Yes, all of these firms are grade sensitive. I go to WFU and Womble Carlyle in Winston-Salem only hired from the top 5 people in the last few years. Other big firms--Nelson Mullins, Kilpatrick Stockton, Smith Anderson, Moore Van Allen--hire from the top 10% + law review with occasional exceptions (I would say 90%+ of people who get these jobs are in the top 10% of the class).

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:03 pm

The schools you listed are not top-tier for biglaw / large firm hiring purposes. Top Tier for coming into non-large market means T14. That said, you will certainly want to be in the top 10-20% of your class and show strong ties (not just being from there, but a narrative why you want to work there) to the city you are interested in, which I assume is Greensboro or something.

As another poster already said, classes in these offices will be very limited.

Best of luck.

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los blancos
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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby los blancos » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:22 am

wwwcol wrote:womble carlye et al are not "biglaw."


Womble is biglaw by any rational definition of that term.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby wwwcol » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:30 am

los blancos wrote:
wwwcol wrote:womble carlye et al are not "biglaw." have tiny classes in the small markets


Womble is biglaw by any rational definition of that term.


amended to make my point clearer. hope this makes u happy

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:12 am

I work for a biglaw firm in the context of a city like you're describing. The best thing I can tell you is that hiring is a crapshoot. We have some people who were valedictorians and others who were like top third at a T2. It comes down to (i) a huge emphasis on local ties, (ii) hitting it off with the office at your interview, (iii) convincing people you're smart enough to do the job, and (iv) luck. Not a satisfying answer, but TCR is go for it.

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Re: Grades for big law in small markets

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:10 pm

Thanks everyone.

I've got some informational interviews set up over break with firms of all sizes, so hopefully I can make a good impression on someone who can give me the right boost.




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