How was the transition down to California? Recently moved to Seattle and really love it, but not positive I want to be here my whole career. Was it reasonably easy to transition to another state? All I’ve read so far makes it seem like UW is amazing in Seattle and mediocre if you ever want to work anywhere else.
I'm interpreting "transition" as "finding a job," and not the other headaches of moving across state lines (which are myriad). Let me know if I'm wrong.
Summary: If you want to get to California, you can. Most don't, which is why it looks like UW doesn't do well here.
Several California law firms interview at UW for OCI. That was how I got my current job: I did OCI, got a summer associate gig, did that, and then came back after graduating and taking the bar exam. So it's not impossible on that front, although you, of course, would have more mid/big-law OCI options if you were at a California law school. A few of my classmates did the same and are here in California as well.
Some of my other classmates who are down here simply looked for jobs through alternative means, either by applying directly (outside of OCI), clerkships, or finding something after graduation. I know one person who is doing a JD Advantage type of job (he's really into health care policy and he's basically doing that, so I'm guessing he's satisfied with the outcome). Another managed to get an in-house counsel job at a start-up.
I don't think UW is "mediocre" in terms of its California presence because employers here don't want UW grads. I think the problem is UW grads are either from Washington/Seattle and want to stay there, or they love it so much they opt to stay there after graduation. Personally, I love Seattle and miss it a lot. I wasn't necessarily trying to end up in California, I was just being open minded about where and how to get the kind of job I wanted practicing the kind of law I wanted.