Regional law school in a region you've never lived?

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Regional law school in a region you've never lived?

Postby ringwraith » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:37 pm

Anyone here have experience going to a top regional state school (think CU Boulder, Alabama, U Washington, U Florida) with nothing but a strong desire to live in that area?

I'm worried that going to a school under these circumstances may prove to be a mistake, despite my excitement about moving to an area where I've always wanted to live. I would also be leaving behind my family, but my spouse would be coming with me.

I know there's a lot of emphasis on "ties," but when I don't have any preexisting connections to an area, wouldn't going to a school there be enough? Did any of you go to a law school with these feelings to regret it later on because of employment or networking difficulties?

Any reassurance, warnings, positive or negative experiences very welcome!

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Re: Regional law school in a region you've never lived?

Postby UVA2B » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:46 pm

I don't have personal experience doing this, but I think you're looking at ties slightly off. It's always better ties to be from the region, spent significant time in the region, or have really compelling reasons to be in that region (spouse's job and/or family, etc.), but that doesn't mean you can't establish ties in a region entirely. By choosing to go to law school in that region, you're establishing your first tie there. And if you can come up with a compelling reason why you want to be there long-term beyond the three years that would convince the local firms that you aren't some flight risk, then that might be enough to get you a job in the region.

Keep in mind that the angst over ties in most regions (this is region-dependent and definitely varies by the overall desirability of the region) is that mostly the firms in that region will want to see someone committed to being there long-term that doesn't pose a flight risk when your personal circumstances change or whatever else could change your mind on being there long-term. So while a place like CU-Boulder or UW may be a bit more ties-sensitive because the size of the legal market is relatively small and they have plenty of people with stronger ties that have already proven they want to be there long-term, that doesn't mean you can't get your foot in the door. It'll still mostly be about how well you do in that regional school. You're not getting any leg-up on locals if you're at/near median at the regional school as an outsider, but if you do well enough in that regional school to otherwise get the type of job you want, you can craft a narrative that shows your interest in being there long-term so as to not remove yourself from consideration in a position.

That being said, you can't reasonably predict you'll do well enough at that regional school to guarantee you're in a position to sell your ties in the first place, but that's a whole other issue entirely.

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