ec2xs wrote:Does SMU have any pull in Austin or San Antonio?
Horns may have a different view, but I think Austin would be very difficult without top grades. 3 reasons: 1) UT is there, 2) There aren't that many jobs there, and 3) People that go there generally really, really want to stay there - so it's got incredible magnetism.
Not really sure about San Antonio. I don't believe there are that many "biglaw" firms there, and pretty sure if there are, they are satellite offices. Because of that, I think it may be a little easier to get into - but this is just conjecture.
Can't speak from experience here, Betasteve...but from what I've seen as an undergrad, the law firm I worked at in Austin, and from speaking to some 3L's from last year, Biglaw is leaving Austin slowly (but surely). That lines up pretty well with your logic on the dearth of Biglaw jobs in the area. Sure, V&E and many other Biglaw firms have offices there, but really, if you are planning on a Biglaw job, Austin probably won't be the best place for that to happen.
I have heard the same about San Antonio. When you look at the major metropolitan areas in Texas -- Houston, DFW, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, the best shot at Biglaw is Houston or the DFW area.
That's not to say that there aren't sizeable mid-size firms in Austin (there are plenty) who do pay first-year associates handsomely (its not $160K but for the most part $100K+).
I believe Betasteve said it best -- connections can't hurt either. There gets to be a point where its not what you know, but who you know.