get it to x wrote:Rutgers_1L thanks for all the insightful information. It's really helping to inform my decision. Could you speak alittle more in-depth about employment out of Rutgers in the NY market? It seems like for the top of the class one has a decent shot at biglaw, but what about everybody else? Chances at mid-sized firms? I know you said several pages back that you're just beginning this process, but any info is greatly appreciated beyond what you've already stated.
@wizoz- the curve is between 2.9 and 3.01 officially
@get it to x- Here's my general take on getting a job. Getting a job is your job. You can't get a job anywhere if you don't apply. Many people seem to throw out phrases like X-school doesn't "place" it's students in this or that. Well, a school is not a temp agency. They don't call around and make appointments for you to get a job. What a school does, is have a couple of days where they open up their campus and allow a number of employers to view a large number of students for potential summer/full time jobs. Those employers include Law firms, gov't jobs, public interest jobs, and various corporation. Here's some brutal truth--since the down turn of the market many legal employers have pulled out of OCI at Rutgers. That means fewer employers are coming directly to the campus. Instead, they choose to attend larger consortia and legal fairs in NYC. Because Rutgers is considered among the 13 NYC metro law schools, the Rutgers law student are invited to attend these events (that's the good news). Just because they don't come to the school does not mean they choose to recruit less from the school. It just means it takes more leg work on the student's part to get an interview.
There are not a lot of large independent firms in NJ. Most of the NJ firms are just offices of NY firms (albeit fairly large 100-150+). For example some of the large NJ firms that recruit highly at Rutgers are McCarter English, Sills Cummis, Day Pitney and Latham and Watkins are all actually HQd in NY. But, not everyone wants to work in NYC. I know that's blasphemous to say on this board. But what many people call "biglaw" is a combination of uninformed information. Many Rutgers grads are quite successful getting jobs at these firms if they want them. There are a number of grads that want to work at firms in NYC. If you use the word "biglaw" to mean a large law firm of 100+ people in an office, where you will receive a 6 figure salary then the options are limitless. Your chances are not the same as they would be if you were a T-14 grad. But it's most certainly possible. If you are saying "biglaw" to be one of the Vault 100 firms then you really will need to be in the top of the class. That's not just because you're a Rutgers student it's because those firms are prestigious enough to only hire students that are the very top of their classes. Understand, that the person hiring you is likely a graduate of a T-14 and that carries a lot of weight.
Working at a law firm is kind of the "expected" path of most law students. But there are a lot of other jobs out there. I won't go into that, because that's not what you asked. Mid-sized firms in NJ for Rutgers students are pretty common. Most people that are from NJ and already know where they want to live (i.e. Princeton, Parsippany, Hackensack) prefer mid-sized firms because the pay is great, the environment is great, and the work load is manageable. I know working at "biglaw" (and excuse me if I chuckle to myself, because I think that's a dumb word) is kind of this blown-out of proportion idea, that too many future law students have. Most people that work in such types of law firms hate their lives, and can't wait to leave. The reason most people work in 500+ law firms is because they have monster debt that requires them to need that kind of job. Most Rutgers student graduate with a relatively low amount of debt and thus, I believe is the reason the word "biglaw" rarely comes up. But believe me there are people that work at the big, flashy, firms. If you have the opportunity to do it--which you should if you get decent grades--then you should take the opportunity. Some people at Rutgers have the grades and/or connections and they work at those firms. Some have neither and don't get the chance. But wherever people work it doesn't seem to be a necessity to earn $160k like it would be for students at other schools.
Rutgers (in my opinion) tries to shove the public interest route down everyone's throat because they know RU student's can afford to take jobs paying $50-$70k/yr (also federal LRAP plays a part). It's not for everyone, but they offer MANY jobs like this and I think it's worth at least trying it out. Federal Clerkships are such types of low paying jobs. But those are worth it because most people go on to work at firms of their choice or other places. I also think RU has a great relationship with gov't jobs like the Attorney General and US Atty's office because both are around the corner from the campus. Those are lower paying jobs that aren't anything to snub your nose at.
So for a regional school, if you want to work in the NJ/NY area you're going to do okay. If the market wasn't what it is I would say your chances of landing a large law firm job would be excellent. But now I'd say with top 50% of your class (3.0 GPA) your chances are 50/50 and increase exponentially with your GPA and connections (don't underestimate who you know). As a regional school your chances at a firm like Wachtell are microscopic. But, we do have a couple of professors that worked at Wachtell and they'll tell you that's not where you want to work, ever! So before you start thinking biglaw or bust make sure you talk to as many people as possible that work at these places. Compare it to mid and small firms. It's likely your chances at mid/small firms will be great especially if you show an interest early (1L summer and during the semester).
I hope I answered your question and didn't rant too much