You don't really need to exaggerate ties for any of the major markets. The term "ties" is a little misleading. The important thing is that you know what the city is like and you are able to articulate why you want to be there. They don't care that you have family in Houston, for example, they care that you've visited enough to understand its vibe and explain why you like it. Living in any of the major legal markets (DC, Chicago, LA, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Philly*) your 1L summer is enough.
* I assume. The only people I know who went to Philly grew up nearby (MD/NJ).
TX firms I interviewed with very deeply much cared about family I had in those cities. They wanted to know about family members' experiences in high school in those cities. They also wanted to know about my experiences living in those cities. I would be asked about ties upfront, and then they would circle back around and ask me the same questions toward the end, almost as if they were trying to catch me in a lie (this last thing was only two firms that I can remember, but it was crazy)
We might have just interviewed at different places or different people but my experience interviewing with TX firms was waaaaaaayyyy different than this
You're were also probably a more persuasive dude and better candidate than me though.
I think that's because you had what people normally consider ties that mattered and brought them up. Usually they'd ask me "Why Houston?" pretty early and I'd go into my spiel. I was asked about ties once and I said something along the lines of "I don't have any. I want to practice there because [reasons]. I worked in Houston last summer and liked the city, but more important to me is being somewhere that's right for my career."
BigZuck wrote:I think walking into a Houston firm screener and saying "COL and family values, bro" is a recipe for a ding but some will likely disagree. I would have been totally screwed if that was my tactic I think.
There's so much more that goes into why you would want to live in a place besides money. Are you cool with living in a swamp? No? Well then maybe you wouldn't like living in Houston. It's probably easier for them to hire the guy next to you who is actually from there. At least he's used to dealing with swamp ass for 9 months out of the year. Your ability to cope with swamp ass is an unknown commodity compared to his. And in every other way, you guys are fungible candidates.
Living there 1L summer pretty much much handles this, especially in regards to Houston where (apparently) the rest of the year is just soooooo great. I think answering, "I want to be involved with major transactions, but still be able to have a yard for my [future] kids" wouldn't be so bad.
So they simply won't believe someone who wants to live there for the low CoL and lack of a state income tax? I don't get why that wouldn't seem credible, unless they've actually had a bunch of people jump to NYC (why?!?) after saying the same thing.
They'll believe it, but why Houston over Dallas or Austin? I had some interviewers comment at the end of my answer to say "plus you can actually afford shit with your salary in Houston".