W&M 2L Taking Qs

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
wired
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W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:48 pm

Finals are over. Willing to take Qs intermittently. I'm easily out-able, so I won't be giving specifics about rank, job, extra-currics, etc. Just want to help any potential students figure out if it is right for them.

Right off the bat, employment prospects. They seem great for people in the Top 10-15% (Vault positions in DC, NY, Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Dallas). Most in the top quarter are doing alright, but even the 10%-25% students aren't "good to go." Past that, results vary even more. I know of only know of one person outside top quarter who's managed BigLaw, but that could just be my limited experience. Others are finding different work - mid-size firms, government, etc. But again, it varies widely.

For those looking for an in to DC BigLaw, it's a great school for it if you manage to land Top 10%, but outside of that, I wouldn't rely very heavily on it. Also great for government work, but again, mileage may vary. Very few students end up outside of the Southeast, Texas, or NYC. The school has interview fairs in Texas and NYC (which explains why some end up there.)

I picked it because of location/QOL (it's 66 degrees outside right now, I drove 5 minutes to school from my a two-bedroom apartment that costs way less than anything you'll find in DC/NYC, students are way laid back and everyone is really collegial), price (starting to inflate a little, but still comparatively much better than others in the Mid-20s range), and it seemed right. I'm a huge fan of the faculty.

I recommend going to law (any law school) only if you are positive you want to be a lawyer and not because you think it is an easy ticket for a high-paying job or have nothing better to do. Even if you attend MVP, consensus seems to be that outside of the Top 1/3 at those schools, it's up in the air whether you'll land the golden ticket. That being said, if you come in because you want to be a lawyer then I think law school is great. Just don't come with the illusion that it will be an easy ride to a great job.

Qs?

BigJohnso
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby BigJohnso » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:56 pm

Thanks for taking questions. Did you have a fellowship? I was just accepted to WM with one and am wondering what the work is like.

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somewherewarm
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby somewherewarm » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Thank you for taking questions Wired. I was wondering if you knew how W&M students are doing with finding employment in Northern VA, as in Arlington, McLean, Alexandria, etc... (this may just be DC related, I don't know for sure). I'm also interested in the percentage of students that go into government work from W&M and what type of government organizations typically recruit W&M grads. Thanks again Wired, and good luck with your finals grades.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:15 pm

BigJohnso wrote:Thanks for taking questions. Did you have a fellowship? I was just accepted to WM with one and am wondering what the work is like.


The fellowships are great. (Everyone here calls them “GrFs,” pronounced “Gerf.” I say that only so if someone talks to you about “Gerfing,” you won’t be lost for two weeks like I was.) They provide a huge discount for your tuition bill (making it much more affordable) and provide you with a nice check every two weeks. The work you do will vary depending on what department you’re in and what year in school you are. For first year, almost everyone has four administrative hours and four library hours. Your admin hours will be with an office like Career Services, Admissions, etc. There is no consistency between positions for the type of work you will do; it all depends on your GrF coordinator. For the library, it is pretty routine: stack books, man a counter, put labels on things, etc. Some of the cushier jobs allow you to study the entire time (people doing desk duty on Saturdays basically have two hours to study.) Others will require more work, but still are not terribly difficult.

The exception to this are some of the GrF positions with the Center for Legal and Court Technology, the Election Law Center, and the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (I think there may be another area, but I’m not sure.) If you have one of those positions, you will work eight hours there and no hours in the library. These are great for people interested in those areas. CLCT works with a lot of the classroom tech, ELC and IBRL put on symposiums and host speakers.

After first year, some students fulfill their GrF hours by doing research for a professor or TAing. I do not think there are positions for everyone to research, but if you are really interested in it and have a good relationship with a professor, you can usually make it work out. TA positions are done through a competitive application. Those who don’t RA or TA can stay in their previous positions so long as they meet the GPA req (I can’t remember what it is; it isn’t insanely high, but I know that very few people lost GrF second year who wanted to keep it. Some stopped GrFing to focus on other things, or obtained in-state residency so they dropped it.) The requirement jobs from 8 hours to 10 hours during second semester of second year and stays at that for the rest of the time there. (During your third year, GrF hours can be satisfied with some journal positions, or any of the above.)

From the friends I’ve had who have done it, they’ve thought it was definitely worth it. It’s basically $14,000 for something like 96 hours of work for the semester. Not a bad deal.

EDIT: Something else to add so the picture isn't too rosy: making sure you finish all of your GrF hours can become irksome for non-library hours. As a GrF, you're responsible to make sure you have your hours filled. As an RA or for your admin hours, that can sometimes mean bugging your coordinator to make sure you get the hours you need. The school does a good job of accommodating finals, but it can also be annoying to have to finish your hours while you're trying to figure out what proximate cause is for your Torts final in a week.
Last edited by wired on Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:17 pm

somewherewarm wrote:Thank you for taking questions Wired. I was wondering if you knew how W&M students are doing with finding employment in Northern VA, as in Arlington, McLean, Alexandria, etc... (this may just be DC related, I don't know for sure). I'm also interested in the percentage of students that go into government work from W&M and what type of government organizations typically recruit W&M grads. Thanks again Wired, and good luck with your finals grades.


I am not positive; I had friends who interviewed with firms in Northern VA, but I am not sure of many who were offered there or took there. There are some big firms who have offices in Tyson's Corner that I know interviewed here at OCI and there are good number of mid-size and small firms that interview here as well. But from my limited experience, I haven't met too many who are actually ending up there. But again, its a limited experience. W&M definitely carries to Northern VA, with the caveat that you're competing against GMU and GW heavily there. (Also competing against UVa, but my sense is that most UVa students don't really target the Northern VA market.)

Edit:

As for government positions, I know in years past we've had a decent success rate at DOJ Honors and Presidential Management Fellows. In the past four years, covering both programs, I think something like 10 students have ended up there. (Obviously not an automatic in to either program, but decent numbers considering how intensely competitive those can be.) Students place decently well into State AG positions and state clerkships. For the AG positions, you really do need to be focusing toward that. Virginia is not melting down like other states are in terms of state positions, but you can't treat it like a back up job and just "plan on getting it" third year if nothing else pans out. State clerkships can help move you into one of those positions and are a good way to fend off unemployment. They aren't as competitive as AIII clerkships and I know students from last year who were around top third who got them; others who are lower may have too, but I don't have any anecdotes on that.

A wide array of federal positions are open to W&M students, but that will be true of almost any school you go to. W&M's location does make it easier to interview for those positions if you want to try to get a position there during first summer.

Quite a few Commonwealth Attorney's (the Virginia version of a District Attorney or a County Attorney) recruit for summers, but whether they have openings for full-time employment depends entirely on the needs of the office. There's nothing in place (that I know of) that allows perspective grads to apply on a routine basis.

futurelawyer616
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby futurelawyer616 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:30 pm

What does W&M have to offer for those interested in politics or want to become a lobbyist? Are there any particular programs (e.g. legislation programs and the like)? Also, how does W&M place on Capitol Hill? Thank you.

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ganggreen
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby ganggreen » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:43 pm

Thanks for making this!

Is it too late to apply for a GrF once you've been admitted? And are they very selective? I feel like, in combination with my scholarship, the GrF would make W&M much more affordable for me.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:46 pm

futurelawyer616 wrote:What does W&M have to offer for those interested in politics or want to become a lobbyist? Are there any particular programs (e.g. legislation programs and the like)? Also, how does W&M place on Capitol Hill? Thank you.


Short answer: I don't know enough to say.

Long answer: I know one guy who is working in a lobbying arm of a big firm and I know multiple people who worked on the Hill (in offices or for the judiciary committee) over the summers. I don't believe that those end up as permanent positions. My sense is that whether you get on a staff is largely dependent on whether you wow anyone, but that is purely second hand.

As for particularly programs related to lobbying or legislation, there's a few courses that focus on it, but no designated programs. On the local level, we have a big name in Virginia politics who teaches a course on the legislative process. There is a course in fall semesters that is on post-election litigation that is actually in D.C.; not really lobbying or legislation, but in the political ball park.

My recommendation is if you are really interested in getting to the hill is trying to find a contact for someone who works there (check with a career office at your undergard) and see what their sense of how people get jobs.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:49 pm

ganggreen wrote:Thanks for making this!

Is it too late to apply for a GrF once you've been admitted? And are they very selective? I feel like, in combination with my scholarship, the GrF would make W&M much more affordable for me.



Not sure. I would email Dean Shealy about your situation. She's good. She'll of course try to sell you on W&M (that's her job), but she is also honest about options. If they do grant you the GrF retroactively, I would be prepared to take at least a little hit in your scholarship amount; W&M generally doesn't stack a lot of aid into few individuals, but tries to spread it around. (I actually like this approach as opposed to a few star students being subsidized by the rest of the student body. While you don't like to see anyone end up without a job, it makes it SLIGHTLY more bearable when you know that the aid is being dispersed much more widely.)

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kaftka juice
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby kaftka juice » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:18 pm

Do you know how the people who did not get biglaw are doing post-graduation? Are most getting at least some sort of non doc review law work? It seems to me the advantage of going to a school that is pretty cheap and generous with aid is that getting a $45-50k job is still financially viable.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:26 pm

kaftka juice wrote:Do you know how the people who did not get biglaw are doing post-graduation? Are most getting at least some sort of non doc review law work? It seems to me the advantage of going to a school that is pretty cheap and generous with aid is that getting a $45-50k job is still financially viable.


To be honest, I don't. I can check in with some acquaintances to see what type of work they are up. Let me see if I can't find out something for you.

futurelawyer616
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby futurelawyer616 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:05 am

Thank you! You are awesome!

wired wrote:
futurelawyer616 wrote:What does W&M have to offer for those interested in politics or want to become a lobbyist? Are there any particular programs (e.g. legislation programs and the like)? Also, how does W&M place on Capitol Hill? Thank you.


Short answer: I don't know enough to say.

Long answer: I know one guy who is working in a lobbying arm of a big firm and I know multiple people who worked on the Hill (in offices or for the judiciary committee) over the summers. I don't believe that those end up as permanent positions. My sense is that whether you get on a staff is largely dependent on whether you wow anyone, but that is purely second hand.

As for particularly programs related to lobbying or legislation, there's a few courses that focus on it, but no designated programs. On the local level, we have a big name in Virginia politics who teaches a course on the legislative process. There is a course in fall semesters that is on post-election litigation that is actually in D.C.; not really lobbying or legislation, but in the political ball park.

My recommendation is if you are really interested in getting to the hill is trying to find a contact for someone who works there (check with a career office at your undergard) and see what their sense of how people get jobs.

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ap613
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby ap613 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:57 pm

Two quick questions, can you talk about the social scene in Williamsburg a bit? Basically, just what students do in their limited free time (like events put on by the school, bars, etc.)

Also, I really want to wnd up in Richmond or Tidewater area (Norfolk/VB). Are there lots of options for these markets at W&M. I'm assuming you guys clean up in Hampton Roads but just wondering if you had a feel for the number of people that get placed there?

CanadianWolf
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Are you willing to comment on the quality of teaching ?

northside
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby northside » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:54 pm

BigJohnso wrote:Thanks for taking questions. Did you have a fellowship? I was just accepted to WM with one and am wondering what the work is like.



What fellowship? I applied for the IBRL one but the acceptance packet didn't say anything. I'd go in a heartbeat if I got it. Won't in a second if I don't. It would be nice to at least know I didn't.

Green Crayons
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby Green Crayons » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:33 am

Another W&M 2L here.

ap613 wrote:Two quick questions, can you talk about the social scene in Williamsburg a bit? Basically, just what students do in their limited free time (like events put on by the school, bars, etc.)
Drinking. And there are not a lot of places to "go out" and do that.

As far as other events, there are seasonal-esque events/things to do in the area (off the top of my head, since these just happened: annual fireworks show; corn mazes; cheap but delicious Williamsburg Winery tours). There are also school group-specific events (including a casino night, etc.). A lot of parks. The campus/Colonial Williamsburg provides a great place to map out running paths. In the Fall semesters there are informal student sports stuff (I think next Fall is softball). I've yet to still go out and see one of the UG's plays, but I hear they are pretty decent and cheap. There are a few solid restaurants (some really great ones, but overall not a huge variety) at which to make a social breakfast/lunch/dinner date event. Virginia Beach is an hour (maybe?) away. Richmond is 45 minutes away.

Williamsburg is certainly no bustling city. But your peers are great and most folks fall into social "clumps," (less rigid, natural-forming cliques) where there is always a group doing something -- and there will always be opportunities to join in.



CanadianWolf wrote:Are you willing to comment on the quality of teaching ?
The majority of my professors I would rate to be amazing. A few have been mediocre, as far as teaching style goes, but that's personal preference and so that's bound to occur. That said, there are a few professors whose teaching styles I have heard about and who I am glad I missed in the 1L class-roulette and won't be taking their classes in the future. Every single professor I've had has made themselves available to students outside of class for follow-up explanation and discussion. Exam styles differ significantly, but I think at the end of the day they are legitimately looking to see if you have absorbed the material in a fashion that enables you to then apply those principles in such a manner so that you're "thinking like a lawyer" -- which, for better or worse, is basically the primary purpose of law school these days.

They are all smart and well-versed in their fields, try to make the subject matter as interesting as possible (though at times it can become unbelievably dry, depending upon your personal interests relative to the course), and I haven't personally had a thoroughly negative experience in terms of quality.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Thanks Green Crayon. I agree with everything (s)he wrote.

Adding on a little more, the SBA sponsors bar review every Thursday night where they try work a good deal on drinks at a local bar or resturant. The Public Service Found is probably the second most active in putting on social activities, usually holding the casino night GC mentioned, a singer/song writer showcase, and some others.

All of my professors have been great with one being okay. (Won't say who.) GC described them perfectly. If you are willing to reach out to them, the vast majority are very receptive to meeting with you and helping in any way that is fair to the rest of the class (I.e. they won't bump your grade like some undergrad profs do.) If anyone ends up matriculating, just talk to 2Ls when it comes time to sign up for 2L classes and they can tell you who isn't generally helpful.

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justonemoregame
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby justonemoregame » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:38 pm

Do you know if W&M matches scholarships or is otherwise generous in negotiation? Also, when would you advise asking...asap, or maybe just after the deposit deadline, assuming more $$ becomes available then?

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:32 pm

justonemoregame wrote:Do you know if W&M matches scholarships or is otherwise generous in negotiation? Also, when would you advise asking...asap, or maybe just after the deposit deadline, assuming more $$ becomes available then?


No one is going to be able to give you great insights on when to negotiate. I personally don't know whether anyone has negotiated up scholarships. I do know that the school rarely gives out large amounts to individual students, opting instead to spread more aid around to multiple students. Thus, if the school does negotiate, I would not expect to move your award up in large amounts.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:26 pm

wired wrote:
kaftka juice wrote:Do you know how the people who did not get biglaw are doing post-graduation? Are most getting at least some sort of non doc review law work? It seems to me the advantage of going to a school that is pretty cheap and generous with aid is that getting a $45-50k job is still financially viable.


To be honest, I don't. I can check in with some acquaintances to see what type of work they are up. Let me see if I can't find out something for you.


Sorry I haven't checked back in on this yet. I am still waiting to hear back from a friend who graduated last year. Any other Qs I can help out with?

BSC
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby BSC » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:13 pm

There was recently a thread asking about the legal market in Virginia, but I figure you'll have stuff to add. How would a W&M student from out of state fare looking for jobs in the major Virginia markets without ties other than law school? And where ARE the major markets for W&M grads?

I'm very interested in W&M. I'll be applying next cycle with a 3.88, 169 and am from Birmingham. I'm not too interested in living in a big city like New York, DC, etc., and really like the south. Right now, I'm thinking Bama with a lot of money for Birmingham, or W&M with some money for a Birmingham sized city in Virginia. I know the correct answer is retake and take money at Vandy or Virginia at sticker, but no one enjoys studying for the LSAT.

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kaftka juice
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby kaftka juice » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:40 am

wired wrote:
wired wrote:
kaftka juice wrote:Do you know how the people who did not get biglaw are doing post-graduation? Are most getting at least some sort of non doc review law work? It seems to me the advantage of going to a school that is pretty cheap and generous with aid is that getting a $45-50k job is still financially viable.


To be honest, I don't. I can check in with some acquaintances to see what type of work they are up. Let me see if I can't find out something for you.


Sorry I haven't checked back in on this yet. I am still waiting to hear back from a friend who graduated last year. Any other Qs I can help out with?


Thanks very much for finding this out!

BSC
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby BSC » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:20 pm

BSC wrote:There was recently a thread asking about the legal market in Virginia, but I figure you'll have stuff to add. How would a W&M student from out of state fare looking for jobs in the major Virginia markets without ties other than law school? And where ARE the major markets for W&M grads?

I'm very interested in W&M. I'll be applying next cycle with a 3.88, 169 and am from Birmingham. I'm not too interested in living in a big city like New York, DC, etc., and really like the south. Right now, I'm thinking Bama with a lot of money for Birmingham, or W&M with some money for a Birmingham sized city in Virginia. I know the correct answer is retake and take money at Vandy or Virginia at sticker, but no one enjoys studying for the LSAT.


bump

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:37 am

kaftka juice wrote:
wired wrote:
wired wrote:
kaftka juice wrote:Do you know how the people who did not get biglaw are doing post-graduation? Are most getting at least some sort of non doc review law work? It seems to me the advantage of going to a school that is pretty cheap and generous with aid is that getting a $45-50k job is still financially viable.


To be honest, I don't. I can check in with some acquaintances to see what type of work they are up. Let me see if I can't find out something for you.


Sorry I haven't checked back in on this yet. I am still waiting to hear back from a friend who graduated last year. Any other Qs I can help out with?


Thanks very much for finding this out!


I talked to three different students in three different parts of the country. One ended up taking a school-sponsored fellowship (it gives you 6 months of pay so that the school can list you as employed to US News; it's a standard trick used by career offices to pump numbers) and he worked in a state court system in the West working on some substantive legal matters and some administrative work. He had work lined up with a smallish, midish sized firm to pick up afterward, but they informed him about a month ahead of time that they didn't have the finances for him so he's currently doing temporary work bouncing between attorneys while he tries to find a full-time position. Another student I talked to will be working at a smallish sized firm in the Southeast with a fairly good pay, starting around $55-75k (I asked for a ballpark). The final I talked to is working in Virginia at a small-sized firm, but I am not sure of starting wage. All have been doing substantive legal work as opposed to just document review. Both of the students who ended up at small firms worked their during their summers then negotiated a full-time position during the last semester of 3L (though the topic came up before then.)

Of course, there are those who end up unemployed - I didn't know anyone off hand in that situation, but they obviously exist. But there is some sort of life outside of BigLaw. We had a significant number of students go into 1-year state court clerkships. My sense is that is a good opportunity to get into a community and work into a state government position or network with private attorneys in the area for a position. At the very least it allows someone to defray some costs for 1 year while they search for other work.

wired
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Re: W&M 2L Taking Qs

Postby wired » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:56 am

BSC wrote:
BSC wrote:There was recently a thread asking about the legal market in Virginia, but I figure you'll have stuff to add. How would a W&M student from out of state fare looking for jobs in the major Virginia markets without ties other than law school? And where ARE the major markets for W&M grads?

I'm very interested in W&M. I'll be applying next cycle with a 3.88, 169 and am from Birmingham. I'm not too interested in living in a big city like New York, DC, etc., and really like the south. Right now, I'm thinking Bama with a lot of money for Birmingham, or W&M with some money for a Birmingham sized city in Virginia. I know the correct answer is retake and take money at Vandy or Virginia at sticker, but no one enjoys studying for the LSAT.


bump


Sorry I missed this on my first go around.

Your numbers make you a virtual lock for W&M so long as you do a decent job on your other materials. I'm not as focused on telling people to re-take as others; there's a lot of factors that go into it. I will say this about your numbers and aid. Alabama throws serious money at people with good numbers (or they did two years ago when I was applying). I know one poster on here who had full ride+ from Bama and took it over T14 schools that he was easily qualified for. If you are comfortable going to Birmingham, paying sticker at Vandy or Virginia really might not be worth it and I think you're making a good decision. Others would crucify that mentality, but I'd much rather graduate with no debt and a 15% chance of being employed than graduate with $150k minimum and a 50% chance of being employed. William & Mary will likely offer significant aid, but they rarely give 100% tuition. That is a factor to consider once you've been accepted at both schools.

The main Virginia markets are Richmond, Norfolk/Hampton Roads, and Northern Virginia suburbs (Fairfax, Prince William). There are some students who venture off to Western Virginia, but there really aren't any "major" markets that way. From my quick Wikipedia comparisons,* Richmond is the closest to Birmingham. They have similar city-limit and metro-populations. Ties in Richmond and Norfolk do not seem to be an enormous issue, especially if someone attends W&M. As long as you can coherently state why you chose W&M (from the South, really like the climate) and how your experience has confirmed that you want to be in Virginia long-term, you are fine for establishing ties. It isn't like some of the areas that are TLS fabled-areas (Atlanta? Miami? San Francisco?) where you have to be from the area going back five generations in order to establish ties. The few job listings that OCS I have seen that describe a preference for ties have always made it in terms of future commitment as opposed to past connections. I am sure those with past connections have an easier time establishing it, I am just saying that it isn't a DQer.

*I think I accessed Wikipedia about 8 times yesterday, each time forgetting that SOPA and PIPA hate puppies and Wikipedia shut down in protest. Made me realize how much I use it now.




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