San Diego Big Law Forum

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taylor2223

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San Diego Big Law

Post by taylor2223 » Mon May 30, 2022 9:33 pm

My goal is to practice Big Law in San Diego. I’m currently deciding between WashU and USD. I know WUSTL is obviously a much higher ranked school and has better BL placement in general, but I keep hearing that SD is a very insular market, and USD places well if you’re sure you want to practice there. I’m on the waitlist at UCLA, but assuming I don’t get a spot there, which of my two options is better? I absolutely love San Diego, was not a huge fan of St. Louis, but I’m trying to do what’s best for my end goal. Is SD Big Law possible from WUSTL if I’m not from the area, just have family ties? Please help I’m so stressed out. Thanks.

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cavalier1138

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue May 31, 2022 10:03 am

You don't need to rely on what you hear about these schools. Job stats are published. USD will only give you a shot at biglaw anywhere if you're at the very top of the class. If you're from San Diego or have lived there for a significant amount of time, you should be able to leverage that from any school to get back (family ties alone may not be enough), with the caveat that I'm sure there are very few big firms hiring first years each year in San Diego. So you should be open to the LA market more broadly and should go where you have the best chance at biglaw at an affordable price.

What's your total COA at each school, and what's your LSAT/GPA?

taylor2223

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by taylor2223 » Tue May 31, 2022 1:13 pm

I’ve looked at the ABA employment statistics and see WUSTL has a major BL advantage, but California isn’t listed on their top 3 states of employment, which is what concerns me. It looks like a lot of their BL is in Chicago, which is a city I absolutely do not want to live in. I am open to LA. COA is currently cheaper at WashU by about $20k per year, I’m negotiating with USD. I took the GRE instead of the LSAT, have a 4.0+ GPA. I may be willing to make the best of St. Louis for a few years, but I don’t want to have Chicago as my BL option. I am somewhat debt averse, but am fortunate to have some family help with costs. Thanks for your input!

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trebekismyhero

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by trebekismyhero » Tue May 31, 2022 3:32 pm

Did you apply to UCLA/USC? With a 4.0, you could get into almost any school if you get a 170+ on your LSAT. Even a 165 or GRE equivalent should get you a big scholarship from USC, which would be much better for what you want. Do not go to law school this year if these are your two options. WashU with a big scholarship is not a bad option, but it isn't great for someone who has no desire to be in the midwest.

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Ohiobumpkin

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by Ohiobumpkin » Tue May 31, 2022 10:06 pm

I know many people hate this advice, but do not waste a 4.0 GPA on either WashU or USD. Get your LSAT around UCLA's and USC's median and you are looking at serious scholarships. Plus, SoCal is already competitive market. You do not want to handicap yourself by going to either a school who places most grads in the Midwest or a school with less than stellar career placement.

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tacolawyer

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by tacolawyer » Fri Jun 03, 2022 8:09 pm

Hey, I attended a T50 for 1L before transferring to a T6 and found that the San Diego market was accessible to me before transferring while doing OCI (with the caveat that I check multiple diversity boxes, am a SD native, and was top 3%).

For your situation, WashU is defensible - assuming you have strong grades. Employment stats don't tell the whole story, since a lot of people self select into the Chi/NYC markets from WashU. But you will need stellar grades and a compelling answer to "Why SD?"

latinx

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by latinx » Fri Jun 03, 2022 10:21 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 10:06 pm
I know many people hate this advice, but do not waste a 4.0 GPA on either WashU or USD. Get your LSAT around UCLA's and USC's median and you are looking at serious scholarships.
This assumes of course that a student with a 4.0 GPA can get a substantial increase in their LSAT score. That is likely the outcome if they have only taken it once, without substantial study. In which case your advice is very sound indeed. However, if they have studied for months, taken two or three LSAT prep classes, taken the LSAT three times already (the maximum allowed in one year), are you aware of any study or evidence that a substantial increase is likely? This is a big risk to take if they need to delay law school by a year, which incurs a very large cost in fees and particularly in lost salary. If you disagree, perhaps share what you think such a well-prepared student should change up to earn this substantially higher LSAT score.

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cavalier1138

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 04, 2022 6:51 am

latinx wrote:
Fri Jun 03, 2022 10:21 pm
Ohiobumpkin wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 10:06 pm
I know many people hate this advice, but do not waste a 4.0 GPA on either WashU or USD. Get your LSAT around UCLA's and USC's median and you are looking at serious scholarships.
This assumes of course that a student with a 4.0 GPA can get a substantial increase in their LSAT score. That is likely the outcome if they have only taken it once, without substantial study. In which case your advice is very sound indeed. However, if they have studied for months, taken two or three LSAT prep classes, taken the LSAT three times already (the maximum allowed in one year), are you aware of any study or evidence that a substantial increase is likely? This is a big risk to take if they need to delay law school by a year, which incurs a very large cost in fees and particularly in lost salary. If you disagree, perhaps share what you think such a well-prepared student should change up to earn this substantially higher LSAT score.
The OP hasn't taken the LSAT yet; they've been using their GRE score. A decent LSAT with a 4.0 will open up USC and UCLA. So none of your hypothetical situations apply.
tacolawyer wrote:
Fri Jun 03, 2022 8:09 pm
Hey, I attended a T50 for 1L before transferring to a T6 and found that the San Diego market was accessible to me before transferring while doing OCI (with the caveat that I check multiple diversity boxes, am a SD native, and was top 3%).
OP: Ignore this advice in its entirety. Do not plan on being at the top of your class. Do not plan on a transfer. Don't do it.

You really need to target USC/UCLA, and taking the LSAT will likely open those up for you, with good scholarships if your score is high enough.

CanadianWolf

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by CanadianWolf » Sun Jun 05, 2022 5:21 pm

Love tacolawyer's caveat: "...with the caveat that I check multiple diversity boxes, am a SD native, and was top 3%."

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nealric

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Re: San Diego Big Law

Post by nealric » Tue Jun 07, 2022 1:18 pm

taylor2223 wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 9:33 pm
My goal is to practice Big Law in San Diego. I’m currently deciding between WashU and USD. I know WUSTL is obviously a much higher ranked school and has better BL placement in general, but I keep hearing that SD is a very insular market, and USD places well if you’re sure you want to practice there. I’m on the waitlist at UCLA, but assuming I don’t get a spot there, which of my two options is better? I absolutely love San Diego, was not a huge fan of St. Louis, but I’m trying to do what’s best for my end goal. Is SD Big Law possible from WUSTL if I’m not from the area, just have family ties? Please help I’m so stressed out. Thanks.
If biglaw is what you want, I think your best option is to try again next year if you don't get off the UCLA waitlist. Law school isn't going anywhere.

WSTUL is expensive and has no real connections to the California market- it's going to place mostly in the Midwest and NYC to the extent it places in biglaw. USD may place "well", but only for the top of the class. You have no idea where you will place. Best bet is to assume around the median. Median at USD almost certainly won't get you biglaw.

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