rekopter wrote:Just to be clear here, Pufer defines biglaw in a limited way to include only $160k market firms--which is only about four firms in Denver (Hogan, MoFo, Arnold & Porter, Gibson). He excludes the larger regional firms (Reilly Pozner, Holland & Hart, Rothgerber, Brownstein, etc.) which are highly desirable to most law students and pay in the range of $120k or so.
Indeed. "Biglaw," as it is used on TLS and other places in the internet legal realm, has a fairly well-defined definition: the firm is big (100+ lawyers at a minimum, typically a lot of offices in a lot of states/countries), it pays biglaw scale ($160k/yr+), it is ranked on some kind of biglaw ranking (Vault 100 or similar).
Placing well in Denver simply has nothing to do with placing well in biglaw. As rekopter said, MoFo has an office here, and will hire nothing but Stanford and Berkeley grads just off a 10th Circuit clerkship for their one open Denver new associate spot. The only reason MoFo has an office here, however, is to service its big corporate clients who are also here, but are based elsewhere. They do very specific stuff, for very specific clients, and their only real tie to the Denver legal market is the fact that they happen to have an office here. Maybe four of these positions will open up even in the best of years - they are not where the jobs are in the Denver market.
Large scale local business isn't going to MoFo. To replicate the services provided by a MoFo, they'll hire a regional firm (e.g., Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck), or put together the services of four or five smaller, Denver-based boutique firms (e.g., Reilly Pozner or Messner & Reeves) on an as-needed basis. None of these smaller firms fit the definition of biglaw. However, few of these firms will substantial operations outside of Denver, and they will be primarily drawing new lawyers from CU and DU. As rekopter correctly says, this is where the big-time firm jobs are in the Denver market.
However, the simple reality is, there aren't all that many jobs in this "midlaw" category (none of these are massive firms, and hire as needed, creating rekopter's 10-20% cutoff).
Everybody else (the bulk of the law business) goes to even smaller firms. This is where the majority of CU grads will end up. However, the simple fact of the matter is that, unless you go to a T14, the bulk of every school's graduating class will end up in such firms. If you want true biglaw making $160k, go to a T14. If you want a chance at a good clerkship followed up by a job with a midlaw firm, but will be fine with working at a suburban five-person firm too so long as you're a lawyer, CU is an excellent choice.