Limited to one region by Law School?

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kweehunt
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Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby kweehunt » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:04 am

I've read a good number of articles that say the further your law school is ranked from the top 14, the more regional your employment opportunities are. The "unless you want to practice in [Insert Region], don't go to [Law School from same Geographic Location]" warnings are quite common.

The one thing I don't understand however, is the time tables for these warnings. Are lawyers from schools outside of the top 30 or 50 forever limited to one region or are they just less likely to start in BigLaw hubs? Will these graduates eventually get BigLaw employment opportunities after a few years in smaller, regional firms?

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:42 am

kweehunt wrote:I've read a good number of articles that say the further your law school is ranked from the top 14, the more regional your employment opportunities are. The "unless you want to practice in [Insert Region], don't go to [Law School from same Geographic Location]" warnings are quite common.

The one thing I don't understand however, is the time tables for these warnings. Are lawyers from schools outside of the top 30 or 50 forever limited to one region or are they just less likely to start in BigLaw hubs? Will these graduates eventually get BigLaw employment opportunities after a few years in smaller, regional firms?


Even T14s are regional. The geographic placement of (any) law schools is directly tied to where the student body comes from before law school. However, the less well regarded a particular law school is, the more difficulty graduates from that school will have in returning to where they came from before school. The T14 difference is that students are generally placed in NLJ250 firms as opposed to mid sized firms (firms of 11-165ish attorneys) and small firms (firms of 2-10 attorneys).

In theory, some small/mid sized firm lawyers do move to NLJ250 firms. However, that is difficult to quantify or predict. If you truly want an NLJ firm and are not able to get one right out of law school, you should at least consider government positions as those positions frequently lead to positions at local competitive firms (after ~5 years of experience).

SUCO
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby SUCO » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:21 pm

I have a question to add to this. Is there a difference in mobility between someone who just graduated and someone who has been a lawyer for years? Could you in fact start off locked in one region but have an easier time finding work elsewhere once you have significant experience?

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dingbat
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby dingbat » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:56 pm

SUCO wrote:I have a question to add to this. Is there a difference in mobility between someone who just graduated and someone who has been a lawyer for years? Could you in fact start off locked in one region but have an easier time finding work elsewhere once you have significant experience?


Once you're 10 years out, no one cares what school you've gone to, only what you've acchieved since then.
If you graduated from Yale in 1999 and have been unemployed ever since, no one will hire you.
Likewise, if you went to Cooley in 1999, but since then have published 10,000 articles and won a case in front of the supreme court, you'll be very marketable.

UzerName
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby UzerName » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:38 am

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
kweehunt wrote:I've read a good number of articles that say the further your law school is ranked from the top 14, the more regional your employment opportunities are. The "unless you want to practice in [Insert Region], don't go to [Law School from same Geographic Location]" warnings are quite common.

The one thing I don't understand however, is the time tables for these warnings. Are lawyers from schools outside of the top 30 or 50 forever limited to one region or are they just less likely to start in BigLaw hubs? Will these graduates eventually get BigLaw employment opportunities after a few years in smaller, regional firms?


Even T14s are regional. The geographic placement of (any) law schools is directly tied to where the student body comes from before law school. However, the less well regarded a particular law school is, the more difficulty graduates from that school will have in returning to where they came from before school. The T14 difference is that students are generally placed in NLJ250 firms as opposed to mid sized firms (firms of 11-165ish attorneys) and small firms (firms of 2-10 attorneys).

In theory, some small/mid sized firm lawyers do move to NLJ250 firms. However, that is difficult to quantify or predict. If you truly want an NLJ firm and are not able to get one right out of law school, you should at least consider government positions as those positions frequently lead to positions at local competitive firms (after ~5 years of experience).


Much agreed. Top 14 has great job distribution because they pull country wide students. A good portion tend to go back home, regardless of job. I haven't noticed wider distribution to be necessarily related to increased salary.

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dingbat
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby dingbat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:15 pm

UzerName wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:
kweehunt wrote:I've read a good number of articles that say the further your law school is ranked from the top 14, the more regional your employment opportunities are. The "unless you want to practice in [Insert Region], don't go to [Law School from same Geographic Location]" warnings are quite common.

The one thing I don't understand however, is the time tables for these warnings. Are lawyers from schools outside of the top 30 or 50 forever limited to one region or are they just less likely to start in BigLaw hubs? Will these graduates eventually get BigLaw employment opportunities after a few years in smaller, regional firms?


Even T14s are regional. The geographic placement of (any) law schools is directly tied to where the student body comes from before law school. However, the less well regarded a particular law school is, the more difficulty graduates from that school will have in returning to where they came from before school. The T14 difference is that students are generally placed in NLJ250 firms as opposed to mid sized firms (firms of 11-165ish attorneys) and small firms (firms of 2-10 attorneys).

In theory, some small/mid sized firm lawyers do move to NLJ250 firms. However, that is difficult to quantify or predict. If you truly want an NLJ firm and are not able to get one right out of law school, you should at least consider government positions as those positions frequently lead to positions at local competitive firms (after ~5 years of experience).


Much agreed. Top 14 has great job distribution because they pull country wide students. A good portion tend to go back home, regardless of job. I haven't noticed wider distribution to be necessarily related to increased salary.


T-14 doesn't neccesarily translate into better salaries:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=150681

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wallflower1987
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby wallflower1987 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:15 am

I'm actually curious how much geographic flexibility is offered by some T1 schools. For the schools at the lower end of T1 (especially 30-50), am I going to be stuck where I graduated? If so, I would rather go TTT I think, or mid TT at least. I'm trying to make this decision and it is not easy; I'm reluctant to move across the country to a school that will have limited geographic prospects, especially since I have no connections out there. If I hate it, then what? So my question is: how much geographic flexibility is offered by mid-low T1?

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romothesavior
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby romothesavior » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:30 am

kweehunt wrote:I've read a good number of articles that say the further your law school is ranked from the top 14, the more regional your employment opportunities are. The "unless you want to practice in [Insert Region], don't go to [Law School from same Geographic Location]" warnings are quite common.

The one thing I don't understand however, is the time tables for these warnings. Are lawyers from schools outside of the top 30 or 50 forever limited to one region or are they just less likely to start in BigLaw hubs? Will these graduates eventually get BigLaw employment opportunities after a few years in smaller, regional firms?

I think there are a couple of issues here, so I'll address each one...

First, most law schools are very regional. The only truly national law schools are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The rest of the T14 and T1 will allow for some national reach, but the further down you go, the more regional they become. That's why going to law school in the region you want to practice is usually the wise move (also see point three below).

Second, if you miss the biglaw boat, you usually have missed it for good. Few people are able to go from a smaller firm to a bigger one. Perhaps if you are able to become really good at a certain practice or pick up some great clients, or just network and get lucky, you'll be able to go from small firm ---> big firm, but most people go the opposite direction. Part of that is probably also self-selection, as its easier to do the big law grind while you're fresh out of law school and single/childless than it is when you've got a family going.

Finally, keep in mind that while people move around the country for various reasons, but it happens less with lawyers than other professions. Once you have built a network, established yourself in the legal community, and most importantly, started to develop clients, it is hard to just say, "Well, I think I'm gonna move to a new region." It's not like you're "locked in" forever, but the longer you stay somewhere, the harder it will be to move.

ETA: I'll throw in the caveat that this is just what I've been told by various attorneys and the CSO. Not my personal experience, since I'm just a law student myself.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:19 am

wallflower1987 wrote:I'm actually curious how much geographic flexibility is offered by some T1 schools. For the schools at the lower end of T1 (especially 30-50), am I going to be stuck where I graduated? If so, I would rather go TTT I think, or mid TT at least. I'm trying to make this decision and it is not easy; I'm reluctant to move across the country to a school that will have limited geographic prospects, especially since I have no connections out there. If I hate it, then what? So my question is: how much geographic flexibility is offered by mid-low T1?


Define "stuck." No school anywhere will literally prevent you from going anywhere. However, in order for someone to give you more tailored advice, you would need to disclose what markets you have ties to, what schools you are referring to, and how much money those schools are offering you.

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wallflower1987
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby wallflower1987 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:59 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
wallflower1987 wrote:I'm actually curious how much geographic flexibility is offered by some T1 schools. For the schools at the lower end of T1 (especially 30-50), am I going to be stuck where I graduated? If so, I would rather go TTT I think, or mid TT at least. I'm trying to make this decision and it is not easy; I'm reluctant to move across the country to a school that will have limited geographic prospects, especially since I have no connections out there. If I hate it, then what? So my question is: how much geographic flexibility is offered by mid-low T1?


Define "stuck." No school anywhere will literally prevent you from going anywhere. However, in order for someone to give you more tailored advice, you would need to disclose what markets you have ties to, what schools you are referring to, and how much money those schools are offering you.


I haven't been accepted to many schools yet, but I have been accepted to the two that concern me most I think. I have no connection to DC or NY, but I think they would be interesting. I was accepted at American (bottom of T1), and so far I know nothing about money, although I don't expect any. I was also accepted at Brooklyn (mid-upper T2) with a 26,100 scholarship per year (I also may get need based... not sure). That still would have me borrowing as much as Nebraska, Colorado or Minnesota at full price, and those three are in the area I have grown up and lived in. They are close to family, yet none are in tiny towns (for me, because I'm from South Dakota). I guess my major issue is this: if I went to Brooklyn or American, would I be "stuck" on the east coast, as in unable to get a good job back here? I know I could come back and try, but I feel like the Minnesota and Colorado markets especially are crowded enough, and their schools are ranked higher anyway. I would consider going out east for Fordham and GW (I don't EXPECT to get into either, but if I did...), but even then, it is hard to decide. If I know that it is a serious preference of mine to end up back in the upper-Midwest or the Mountain West (originally from Montana), am I better off going to Nebraska (T2), Creighton (TTT) or St. Thomas (TTT) than going out east to a low T1 or a TT? I know the money will be lower out here; so is the cost of living, so some of that is cancelled out. Furthermore, the following markets (medium and small) are mostly dominated by their regional schools: Omaha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Lincoln, Denver, Boulder, etc. It is hard to give up a T1 acceptance, but if I didn't get into Colorado or Minnesota, would I still be better off going to a T2 (Denver or Nebraska) or TTT (Creighton or St. Thomas) if I know that I want to end up back in this area? Just looking for opinions: for these purposes, is it worth distinguishing between low T1 schools and the rest? Or for practical considerations, do they have any real benefits outside their local market? Just want honest answers and opinions. Thanks!

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bk1
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby bk1 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:08 pm

wallflower1987 wrote:I haven't been accepted to many schools yet, but I have been accepted to the two that concern me most I think. I have no connection to DC or NY, but I think they would be interesting. I was accepted at American (bottom of T1), and so far I know nothing about money, although I don't expect any. I was also accepted at Brooklyn (mid-upper T2) with a 26,100 scholarship per year (I also may get need based... not sure). That still would have me borrowing as much as Nebraska, Colorado or Minnesota at full price, and those three are in the area I have grown up and lived in. They are close to family, yet none are in tiny towns (for me, because I'm from South Dakota). I guess my major issue is this: if I went to Brooklyn or American, would I be "stuck" on the east coast, as in unable to get a good job back here? I know I could come back and try, but I feel like the Minnesota and Colorado markets especially are crowded enough, and their schools are ranked higher anyway. I would consider going out east for Fordham and GW (I don't EXPECT to get into either, but if I did...), but even then, it is hard to decide. If I know that it is a serious preference of mine to end up back in the upper-Midwest or the Mountain West (originally from Montana), am I better off going to Nebraska (T2), Creighton (TTT) or St. Thomas (TTT) than going out east to a low T1 or a TT? I know the money will be lower out here; so is the cost of living, so some of that is cancelled out. Furthermore, the following markets (medium and small) are mostly dominated by their regional schools: Omaha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Lincoln, Denver, Boulder, etc. It is hard to give up a T1 acceptance, but if I didn't get into Colorado or Minnesota, would I still be better off going to a T2 (Denver or Nebraska) or TTT (Creighton or St. Thomas) if I know that I want to end up back in this area? Just looking for opinions: for these purposes, is it worth distinguishing between low T1 schools and the rest? Or for practical considerations, do they have any real benefits outside their local market? Just want honest answers and opinions. Thanks!


1. Brooklyn and American will leave you looking for initial employment within their respective cities. Even Fordham and GW would leave you looking for initial employment within their respective cities. This is because that is where their alumni are, where their CSO's focus on trying to get students placed, where the school is the most known, etc. You could get a job outside of their respective cities, but it would be an uphill battle and wouldn't make sense to handicap yourself.

2. If you want to end up in CO, MN, or NB then pick a state and go to the state school there. These schools are the top of the market and dominate their states. They are better than places like Brooklyn/American or even Fordham/GW since they aren't dominated by better schools in their area and don't have a ton of T14 kids hankering to work there either.

3. Yes if you want to end up in the region you're still better off going to a T2 or TTT in the region. However that's generally not a good idea (like any T2/TTT/TTTT). If you want to work in MN, don't settle for less than UMN. Ranking isn't really important except for distinguishing schools in the same area.

4. So if you really want CO/MN/NB and don't get into the top state schools there then retake/reapply until you do.

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wallflower1987
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby wallflower1987 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:31 pm

bk1 wrote:
wallflower1987 wrote:I haven't been accepted to many schools yet, but I have been accepted to the two that concern me most I think. I have no connection to DC or NY, but I think they would be interesting. I was accepted at American (bottom of T1), and so far I know nothing about money, although I don't expect any. I was also accepted at Brooklyn (mid-upper T2) with a 26,100 scholarship per year (I also may get need based... not sure). That still would have me borrowing as much as Nebraska, Colorado or Minnesota at full price, and those three are in the area I have grown up and lived in. They are close to family, yet none are in tiny towns (for me, because I'm from South Dakota). I guess my major issue is this: if I went to Brooklyn or American, would I be "stuck" on the east coast, as in unable to get a good job back here? I know I could come back and try, but I feel like the Minnesota and Colorado markets especially are crowded enough, and their schools are ranked higher anyway. I would consider going out east for Fordham and GW (I don't EXPECT to get into either, but if I did...), but even then, it is hard to decide. If I know that it is a serious preference of mine to end up back in the upper-Midwest or the Mountain West (originally from Montana), am I better off going to Nebraska (T2), Creighton (TTT) or St. Thomas (TTT) than going out east to a low T1 or a TT? I know the money will be lower out here; so is the cost of living, so some of that is cancelled out. Furthermore, the following markets (medium and small) are mostly dominated by their regional schools: Omaha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Lincoln, Denver, Boulder, etc. It is hard to give up a T1 acceptance, but if I didn't get into Colorado or Minnesota, would I still be better off going to a T2 (Denver or Nebraska) or TTT (Creighton or St. Thomas) if I know that I want to end up back in this area? Just looking for opinions: for these purposes, is it worth distinguishing between low T1 schools and the rest? Or for practical considerations, do they have any real benefits outside their local market? Just want honest answers and opinions. Thanks!


1. Brooklyn and American will leave you looking for initial employment within their respective cities. Even Fordham and GW would leave you looking for initial employment within their respective cities. This is because that is where their alumni are, where their CSO's focus on trying to get students placed, where the school is the most known, etc. You could get a job outside of their respective cities, but it would be an uphill battle and wouldn't make sense to handicap yourself.

2. If you want to end up in CO, MN, or NB then pick a state and go to the state school there. These schools are the top of the market and dominate their states. They are better than places like Brooklyn/American or even Fordham/GW since they aren't dominated by better schools in their area and don't have a ton of T14 kids hankering to work there either.

3. Yes if you want to end up in the region you're still better off going to a T2 or TTT in the region. However that's generally not a good idea (like any T2/TTT/TTTT). If you want to work in MN, don't settle for less than UMN. Ranking isn't really important except for distinguishing schools in the same area.

4. So if you really want CO/MN/NB and don't get into the top state schools there then retake/reapply until you do.


Well in Nebraska, Creighton is ranked behind Nebraska, but in Omaha, I think Creighton is at least even with Nebraska. And from what I have heard, Denver does a decent job in Denver (although it is expensive at sticker). The one I am most reluctant to attend, as you said, is T2 in Minneapolis. If I don't get into Minnesota, it would take a lot of other things going wrong for me to end up at UST I think. Sitting out and retaking is not an option at this point. I'm two years out of undergrad, have a Master's and am in no position to comfortably sit out another 12 months with anything but garbage employment. I initially wanted to wait and work because the legal field kinda got slammed by the recession, but it may not come back in my entire lifetime, and people are still making it work even now. So I am not waiting... But I do appreciate the pep talk on GW and Fordham. If either of them accepts me (not likely, but possible), it would be hard to turn down. But if I know that I am just as happy to live in Omaha as NYC or DC, then that isn't such a big deal... At least some people agree. It is hard to have confidence in a decision that seems so questionable as turning down a T1 offer. Hopefully CO, NE and MN will let me in, so we can avoid that (NE is T2, but whatever).

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dingbat
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Re: Limited to one region by Law School?

Postby dingbat » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:50 pm

Fordham and GW are good schools, but, they are regional schools.
Basically, if you attend either, you're most likely going to end up working in NY or DC. However, both schools have alumni in (almost?) all 50 states, so it is possible to move.

However, a lot or markets are dominated by regional schools. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota are just about dominated by UND and USD, respectively, and if that's where you want to end up, you're probably better off going to those schools, even if they're TTTT, over just about any school (possibly including HYS)

Your long term goals are more important than rankings. Go to the school that gives you the best odds in the market you want to practice in.

On the other hand, having gone to law school in another state can be a good selling point - you've got worldly experience and can use that to your advantage - if you get an interview.
Don't feel like you'll be stuck in a particular region because of where you want to go to law school. You'll be at a disadvantage, due to a lack of connections, but that's a disadvantage that can be overcome.




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