Eyetalian wrote:I am torn between schools on the east coast like Duke and UVA and schools on the west coast like Berkeley and UCLA. I live in NJ now but would like to work in Cali.
What are the west coast employment/recruiting prospects like for Duke students? Do a lot of LA firms come to campus?
Bosque wrote:V8, you want to take this one?
Bosque - sure thing, although admittedly my "expertise" is more Bay Area oriented.
Couple of things for ya Eyetalian.
First, common wisdom is that for California and the West Coast generally, connections of some sort are very important. My understanding is that San Francisco in particular is notorious for this. With that being said, I have seen at least one person (really, probably two) with zero connections to California network like MAD and get a good firm gig in Palo Alto.
Second, rumor has it that around 10% of all Duke Law alums are in California. I can't verify that figure, but I feel like I heard it from a reputable source. Take that with a grain of salt though, because (a) we're pretty small, (b) we used to be smaller, (c) California is huge and populous, and (d) a ton of people from other schools try to get to California.
Third, I'll touch on a beef (one of few to be honest) that I have with the law school. A very significant portion of our school is from California or attempting to work there. Yet - and this is for a number of very reasonable reasons - there are not very many firms with significant California offices at OCI, relative to the number of people trying to get there. Probably half of the firms that do show up are, for lack of a better way of stating it, extremely fancy firms that maybe 10-20% of the California folks even have a shot at. The upside to this is that Duke and UVA host an annual OCI-style event in LA. The downside of that is that you only get a few firms with LA offices to show up.
Lastly, I'll say that, even given the issue I have with OCI bidding options, the Duke name travels very well and can earn you some interviews if you're willing to hustle. I haven't been able to turn any into a job yet, but I've received close to a half-dozen callbacks (Edit - yeah I know, total aspie yadda yadda yadda), only one of which was through OCI. So the take away is that you have to hustle for your work in California, although that's true pretty much at any school you go to outside of the particular California metro area that you eventually want to work in. Duke is generally going to open more doors for you, but without connections to California, you're probably going to have to do something to establish a presence where you want to work. Duke or UVA can allow you to do that, but USC or UCLA have a physical advantage (that is, if you're looking at LA). The thing with the more local schools is that networking and traveling to meet people is going to be easier, while Duke and UVA should open doors more broadly, and generally be very well-received anywhere you go.
TLDR: Either way, you're going to have to work hard for a California job.