Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

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minnbills
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Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:13 am

I've done a couple of these in the past and wanted to start another for the incoming class of 2016. Happy to answer any questions about my school and the market in Minnesota.

secadc11
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby secadc11 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:28 pm

Thanks for doing this-- What would you say are the 'best' biglaw or midlaw firms to target in the MN market? I guess I'm thinking quality of life while also paying MN market salary, knowing that is not the same as NY market.

latelatelate
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby latelatelate » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:58 pm

secadc11 wrote:Thanks for doing this-- What would you say are the 'best' biglaw or midlaw firms to target in the MN market? I guess I'm thinking quality of life while also paying MN market salary, knowing that is not the same as NY market.


Thank you so much for doing this! On a related note - how was OCI? Did you do any of the interview programs in NYC/etc?

More generally, any recommendations on where to live? Coming from out of state, and I have a poor track record with Craigslist. :lol:

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cannibal ox
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby cannibal ox » Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:18 pm

Are there any biglaw firms that don't have a terrible reputation (sweatshop, well below NYC market pay, etc.)?

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:54 pm

secadc11 wrote:Thanks for doing this-- What would you say are the 'best' biglaw or midlaw firms to target in the MN market? I guess I'm thinking quality of life while also paying MN market salary, knowing that is not the same as NY market.


I'd say this depends on a few different factors - for example: whether you want to be in a law firm vs. going in-house, what practice area you're in, etc.

if QOL is a big factor - then I'd say stay away from Faegre and Dorsey, which are about as demanding as NYC firms. However, Faegre and Dorsey offer the best exit options. So if you're looking to go in-house after a few years, it may be worth it to put in the 80 hour weeks for a few years.

Lindquist and Stinson both have good reputations for QOL. Fredrikson and Briggs are in a gray area.

secadc11
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby secadc11 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:02 pm

minnbills wrote:
secadc11 wrote:Thanks for doing this-- What would you say are the 'best' biglaw or midlaw firms to target in the MN market? I guess I'm thinking quality of life while also paying MN market salary, knowing that is not the same as NY market.


I'd say this depends on a few different factors - for example: whether you want to be in a law firm vs. going in-house, what practice area you're in, etc.

if QOL is a big factor - then I'd say stay away from Faegre and Dorsey, which are about as demanding as NYC firms. However, Faegre and Dorsey offer the best exit options. So if you're looking to go in-house after a few years, it may be worth it to put in the 80 hour weeks for a few years.

Lindquist and Stinson both have good reputations for QOL. Fredrikson and Briggs are in a gray area.


Great info. Any insight regarding Gray Plant Mooty, Oppenheimer, Norton Rose Fulbright, or DLA Piper?

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:26 pm

latelatelate wrote:Thank you so much for doing this! On a related note - how was OCI? Did you do any of the interview programs in NYC/etc?

More generally, any recommendations on where to live? Coming from out of state, and I have a poor track record with Craigslist. :lol:


No problem! Happy to help.

Regarding OCI: it's a pretty poor program at the U. Very few students get jobs through OCI, though most participate. The reality is big firms in MN only hire 2-10 people each in a given year, so the competition is intense. The U does have programs in Chicago and NY (and I think in LA and Boston as well). Participation in these other interview programs is much less though people have more success (outperform compared to OCI with MN Firms). I know someone who struck out with Minnesota firms but got multiple offers from Chi and NYC, and ended up at a V10 firm. She somewhere in the top 25% after 1L.

Let me put it this way: it's more difficult to get a job with one of the MN firms than it is to get into the V10 in NY or Chicago.

For neighborhoods, there are a couple of apartment buildings right near the law school. 7West is really nice but pricey. Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown are both nearby but are predominantly undergrad-type neighborhoods. Uptown and NE Minneapolis are both good options for law students. Lots of good restaurants and bars around. I would say uptown is the most popular neighborhood for law students. Other good options are the warehouse district and downtown (both are pricey).

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:29 pm

cannibal ox wrote:Are there any biglaw firms that don't have a terrible reputation (sweatshop, well below NYC market pay, etc.)?


Virtually all of the firms here pay between 115-120k for 1st years, with a small bonus (5k-10k is typical). Exceptions are satellite offices of bigger firms headquartered in NYC and Chicago. These firms are probably putting you at 120k but with a much larger bonus.

The only firm that has a terrible reputation is Faegre. It is a sweatshop and they are "sink or swim." Dorsey is not far behind. People have had dicey experiences with Fredrikson and Briggs.

I would say Gray, Lindquist, and Stinson have the best QOF reputations.

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smaug
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby smaug » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:30 pm

Please follow up on the Daniel Pi saga.

I want to relive the UMN threads of old.

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:31 pm

secadc11 wrote:
minnbills wrote:
secadc11 wrote:Thanks for doing this-- What would you say are the 'best' biglaw or midlaw firms to target in the MN market? I guess I'm thinking quality of life while also paying MN market salary, knowing that is not the same as NY market.


I'd say this depends on a few different factors - for example: whether you want to be in a law firm vs. going in-house, what practice area you're in, etc.

if QOL is a big factor - then I'd say stay away from Faegre and Dorsey, which are about as demanding as NYC firms. However, Faegre and Dorsey offer the best exit options. So if you're looking to go in-house after a few years, it may be worth it to put in the 80 hour weeks for a few years.

Lindquist and Stinson both have good reputations for QOL. Fredrikson and Briggs are in a gray area.


Great info. Any insight regarding Gray Plant Mooty, Oppenheimer, Norton Rose Fulbright, or DLA Piper?


Can't speak to Norton. I don't know much about DLA's office here (other than the managing partner is Lindsey Vonn's father).

Oppenheimer and Gray both have great reputations. Gray usually hires 1 (maybe 2) people a year out of the U. Oppenheimer is probably about the same.

Several faculty members are partners at GPM and Oppenheimer: Brad Clary and Robert Stein, for example.

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:51 pm

Jason Taverner wrote:Please follow up on the Daniel Pi saga.

I want to relive the UMN threads of old.


Looking back after a few years I'd say not much has changed. I think Mr. Pi was a bit of a hysteric - but some of his criticisms were spot on.

To those of you who don't know what we're talking about: there was an epic UMN thread a few years back where this guy (Daniel Pi) just ripped on the school. It's worth taking a look at.

Keep the Qs coming!

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby KMart » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:44 pm

minnbills wrote:To those of you who don't know what we're talking about: there was an epic UMN thread a few years back where this guy (Daniel Pi) just ripped on the school. It's worth taking a look at.

Link to help people look :D.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby MCFC » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:15 pm

KMart wrote:
minnbills wrote:To those of you who don't know what we're talking about: there was an epic UMN thread a few years back where this guy (Daniel Pi) just ripped on the school. It's worth taking a look at.

Link to help people look :D.

I still think of that thread whenever I see anything locked down at my school.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby kd5 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:44 am

minnbills wrote:
cannibal ox wrote:Are there any biglaw firms that don't have a terrible reputation (sweatshop, well below NYC market pay, etc.)?

The only firm that has a terrible reputation is Faegre. It is a sweatshop and they are "sink or swim." Dorsey is not far behind. People have had dicey experiences with Fredrikson and Briggs.

I would say Gray, Lindquist, and Stinson have the best QOF reputations.

Don't forget to put Robins in the "sweatshop" category.

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:01 am

kd5 wrote:Don't forget to put Robins in the "sweatshop" category.


Right right, forgot about them.

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trebekismyhero
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:41 pm

Do you know if they have started or are planning on upgrading Mondale Hall? I think law students complain or worry way too much about the law school building, but the MN law building was a pretty depressing sight when I visited a couple years back

Also, is the 5k-10k bonuses just for first years at the bigger firms in MPLS or do you know if that remains for more senior associates? Not in MN now, but have thought about lateralling back at some point

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:28 am

As far as I know there are no plans to upgrade Mondale Hall (aside from a current update to the lib). The law school is losing all financial support from the greater university over the next few years, so the administration has to deal with that first.

I don't have too much information on bonuses for senior associates, but from what I understand they are not much better (if at all) than what junior associates get.

The difference in compensation between biglaw jobs in MPLS vs. Ny/Chi grows with each year of seniority. A senior associate at a big firm in MPLS is probably not making more than 140-150k at most.

Let me just reiterate that my knowledge here is pretty tenuous, so if you are seriously considering a lateral move I would get a better source.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby middlemarch » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:07 am

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Can you speak more to the work environments at the large firms in Minnesota (Dorsey, Faegre, Robins)? I have heard those places described as demanding very long hours, but is that compared to small Midwestern shops (where of course the lifestyle is better) or are they on par with New York or DC? For example, how many hours do associates bill on average per year? Those intending to make partner? How collegial/friendly are the work environments? Do people take their vacation time?

I'm not sure if you are personally "put[ting] in the 80 hour weeks for a few years" (i.e. on average -- when not on trial or on a deal), but if your friends are claiming that, those hours sound hyperbolic and frankly not credible. That would be a 4000 hour year, which is 33-50% more than what top billers in New York Biglaw average.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby chingwoo » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:05 pm

What would you say are the strongest transactional practices in the Twin Cities?

I can think of Dorsey, Fredrikson, Faegre, Lindquist, but start to run out of thoughts after that. How does Briggs/Winthrop/GPM/Oppenheimer/Maslon fare?

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:36 am

middlemarch wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Can you speak more to the work environments at the large firms in Minnesota (Dorsey, Faegre, Robins)? I have heard those places described as demanding very long hours, but is that compared to small Midwestern shops (where of course the lifestyle is better) or are they on par with New York or DC? For example, how many hours do associates bill on average per year? Those intending to make partner? How collegial/friendly are the work environments? Do people take their vacation time?

I'm not sure if you are personally "put[ting] in the 80 hour weeks for a few years" (i.e. on average -- when not on trial or on a deal), but if your friends are claiming that, those hours sound hyperbolic and frankly not credible. That would be a 4000 hour year, which is 33-50% more than what top billers in New York Biglaw average.


RE hours: I would bet the hours are comparable to big firms in NYC, especially for Dorsey/Faegre/Robins/Briggs. I think the hours get more manageable if you move down the ladder to firms like oppenheimer and maslon. A lot of this is firm specific though, and may depend on the particular practice group you're in.

Yes 80 hours is an exaggeration, but not much of one. The midwest ethic is to get into the office early and leave early. Throw in the biglaw wrinkle that most don't get out of the office until at least 7pm, and you've got some serious hours. In MN, people are usually into the office at 8am at the latest, with most getting in closer to 7am.

What I hear, and this is particularly common at Dorsey/Faegre/Robins, is that people will leave around 7pm for dinner, then come back for a few hours.

EDIT: to answer your other questions, I would say it's firm specific. Very few people make equity partner at the biggest firms. Most firms seem to allow people to hold themselves out as partners but don't actually give them equity in the firm. This is increasingly common across the country FWIW. Your ability to make equity partner isn't so much about the hours you can put in as as it is your ability to generate business.

The work environments are firm specific. I can tell you Faegre and Robins are well known for having a "sink or swim" culture and are sweatshops. Some people are of the opinion Dorsey is "stuck up" or the like. I can't speak to vacation, but I doubt it would be an issue at most places.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:49 am

chingwoo wrote:What would you say are the strongest transactional practices in the Twin Cities?

I can think of Dorsey, Fredrikson, Faegre, Lindquist, but start to run out of thoughts after that. How does Briggs/Winthrop/GPM/Oppenheimer/Maslon fare?


Dorsey is definitely the top transactional practice as far as big firms go. There is a boutique transactional firm called Kaplan Strangis and Kaplan (they're on the top floor of the Wells Fargo Building) which is arguably better. Their roster of clients is ridiculous: all the MN sports teams, Target, Best Buy, Medtronic, Etc.

Dorsey/Faegre/Robins are the only true "national" biglaw firms headquartered in the twin cities. Other firms have strong regional presences and do sophisticated work as well. Their clients are varied too. Briggs, for example, does legal work for the second largest auto parts distributor in the country. Briggs also works much smaller, local, companies. Here's how I would put it: MN firms have some serious clients, but they will also take most anything that walks in the door. Just yesterday I was chatting with a guy who is doing a medical startup and using Gray Plant Mooty (he was upset at the fees GPM was charging too).

It is also worth noting that many national firms are opening up regional offices in MN. Barnes and Thornburg (one of the hottest firms in the country) opened up here in 2009 and is still going gangbusters. DLA Piper and Cozen O'Connor have recently added offices as well. The MN economy as a whole is doing really well so MPLS/StP is an attractive place for established firms to get in on.

I would throw in a caveat that the employment outcomes for UMN grads are less than desirable though. But I think MPLS is a great place to be an established attorney.
Last edited by minnbills on Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jchance
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby Jchance » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:51 am

I know a few junior associates from those MN firms that hold out to be "boutiques" (true boutiques that are small but pay market rate) clocking in at 2300-2400 hours per year.

Edit: Hogan Lovells also opened a regional office in Minneapolis.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby MinnesotaLawQs » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:43 pm

Who would you say are the employers of choice for UMN grads for those looking for firm jobs? Do most people have a lot of geographic flexibility or maybe even a preference for the bigger markets, or are a lot of people focused on Minnesota only? How do people think about looking at the MN firms you mention versus their options in Chicago or on the coasts? You call a few local firms out as sweatshops, but would UMN folks really turn down a position at Faegre, Dorsey or Robins for Gray Plant, Lindquist or Stinson?

I note your view that UMN has a pretty poor OCI program and that the MN legal market is pretty small, so some people probably have to have a lot of flexibility. But if UMN students had the choice of whatever job they wanted, is there kind of a prevailing view of what markets/employers are the best?

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:22 pm

I think most people going to the U enter with the goal of making it to a big firm in the twin cities, or a fed/SSC clerkship. I don't think the student body has different goals than what you'll find at any law school with a similar ranking. There is definitely a subset that is hyper-focused on public interest, but they are a small group.

I think most are focused on MN only, specifically the twin cities. There are definitely people who want NY/Chi/LA as well, but I have seen a pretty clear trend for people to stay in town if possible. The twin cities is seriously a great place to live. Most people who come here choose not to leave.

No I don't think anyone would turn down a job at the firms you mentioned. Moreover, every big firm is more or less a sweatshop. Some are better than others. There is generally a better QOL at twin cities firms as compared to NYC/Chi, with the exception of Dorsey, Faegre, and Robins for sure. Though firms are also the most prestigious and potentially offer more compensation than others. People are batting down doors for any of these jobs.

My impression is that a year or two out school, your "typical" UMN grad is either working at a smaller firm (1-20 lawyers) or clerking for a state district judge.

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Re: Minnesota Law recent graduate taking Qs on UMN and MN Legal Market

Postby Danimals18 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:35 pm

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