Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

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sltu2

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Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by sltu2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:42 pm

Hey everyone, aspiring law student here.

My plan is to apply to law schools this autumn, and I'm wondering what my target schools should be given my career aspirations. I was born and raised in Seattle and I am about to graduate from the UW with my BS/BA. With the exception of the 6 months that I was gone for military training (I'm also a reservist attached to a unit in the area), my entire life has been spent here. Consequently, I also want to stay in Seattle for work as a lawyer, but I'm not sure what this means for the school I choose to attend.

My understanding is that Seattle's market is very insular and requires close regional ties for employment. I feel like my upbringing provides an obvious link, but going to UW would present an invaluable opportunity to network with local firms. Going to UW would also be incredibly cheap since I could cut back on living expenses and pay in-state tuition. However, I want to spend time away from home and I am confident that I can attend somewhere higher ranked. A school that I had in mind was UCLA -- it's still regionally relevant (west coast, does that matter?) and it's in a desirable location. Will UCLA still carry substantial weight in Seattle's market? And would the increase in cost (probably at least twice the cost of UW, assuming marginal financial aid) automatically make UCLA an inferior choice to UW?

I am not particularly ambitious with my goals; I am fine with a non-biglaw career as long as I can manage the debt that law school produces. I also have a pretty strong IP background -- one of my undergraduate degrees is in Aerospace Engineering.

Given my history (Seattle native), educational background (engineering), and career aspirations (biglaw isn't that important), what would be the better choice between UW (~100k) and UCLA (~225k) for Seattle work? I'm assuming marginal aid because I've heard that both schools are very stingy when it comes to offering aid, and the stats I've seen back it up.

Also... (last question) from what I've read on TLS, it seems like landing a decent job with a JD is getting harder and harder. From the looks of it, how is anyone supposed to survive if they graduate with 200k in debt and can't even get a meager job? Are law students just purchasing their way into financial hardship? Maybe people are exaggerating, but it's still concerning to hear.

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:50 pm

UW at a decent price is a no-brainer for Seattle, especially if you're okay with missing the biglaw train. Only HYS, maybe Berkeley, might be worth paying more money for, and even then it's close.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:58 pm

Why UCLA ? UC-Berkeley places much better in Seattle than does UCLA.

Have you taken the LSAT ? If so, what is your highest score ? Undergrad GPA ?

With knowledge of your numbers & career goals, then reasonable school recommendation can be made.

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Sarza

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by Sarza » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:39 am

Hey I am also from Seattle! I am graduating this year as well but I attend WSU.

It's my understanding that wherever you go to school you should expect to be "stuck" with that job market. As you get internships in law school, they will be centralized around that area and typically you either network or are hired through your internship.

That being said, the Seattle job market is said to be difficult -period- so regardless if you go to Seattle U or UW it seems like you have the same prospects. I would also look at the schools ABA 509 reports for employment outcomes, for wherever you want to attend.

Honestly as far as job market goes, you may want to have some idea of what type of law you want to practice. For myself, I am not really concerned about job market prospects because I find it really hard to believe that a little innovation, elbow grease, or not taking no for an answer won't get you to a spot you want to go.

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mist4bison

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by mist4bison » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:05 am

Some of the above advice is wrong, so I’ll briefly comment. For context, I’m a WA native, went to a WA college, graduated recently from a school similar in rank to UCLA, worked at a V10 (V5? Too lazy to check) for a bit before starting a COA clerkship (outside of Seattle). Now shopping the Seattle market for a post-clerkship gig.

First, your ties are sufficient. No one will fault you for leaving WA for law school considering UW is the best school in the state. I had no trouble at all with Seattle CBs during OCI and haven’t had trouble with post-clerkship hiring in Seattle. Spending your summers in WA could help, but it’s not necessary.

Second, you don’t need to be on the west coast. Don’t limit yourself to UCLA. You’d be better off going across the country to a better school.

Third, think about what you want to do. You say you’re fine without biglaw but you mention IP. Do you want IP? If so, youll probably want a firm (and maybe in house down the road). The work you’ll get and what you’ll get paid will vary drastically based on whether you go biglaw (aka Perkins or satellite offices) or some no-name shop. The reality is that probably 50% of people who say “I don’t care about biglaw” before law school/during the first half of 1L have usually changed their minds by OCI. Actually think about where you want to be in 10 years. If it’s a firm or any sort of decent govt position, then go to a better school. I also know that a number of in-house opportunities in Seattle prefer people who went to top schools (and had clerkships, if interested in lit).

TL;DR: Don’t worry about ties; you’ll be fine since you’re from WA and went to UW undergrad. Go where you want to go. Don’t limit yourself to UW.

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nixy

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by nixy » Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:55 am

For myself, I am not really concerned about job market prospects because I find it really hard to believe that a little innovation, elbow grease, or not taking no for an answer won't get you to a spot you want to go.
This is probably a fairly healthy attitude but wrt getting a legal job, you have to be willing to define “a spot you want to go” really really broadly. Law is oversaturated and extremely competitive. And not all jobs will service the average debt incurred.

I have also seen Seattle natives report much more suspicion on trying to return there after going elsewhere for law school, though TBC I haven’t tried this personally. Just that it comes up fairly regularly. There’s still a lot of good reason not to limit yourself to UW to go to a top school that’s outside of Seattle, but it is a notoriously tough market.

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el madrileno

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by el madrileno » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:44 pm

Checking in to answer questions anyone might have. I am a 2018 UW Law grad working in a Seattle suburb.

cormacr

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by cormacr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:05 pm

El Madrileno-

I am strongly considering UW this year, although they have yet to release scholarship info. How was your experience? Did you enjoy your time there? Did you think that the opportunities were good for employment? I'mnot totally sure exactly what I would like to do, but I often waffle between a government job (EPA in Seattle owuld be amazing) or a private job to pay off loans.

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el madrileno

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by el madrileno » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:12 pm

cormacr wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:05 pm
El Madrileno-

I am strongly considering UW this year, although they have yet to release scholarship info. How was your experience? Did you enjoy your time there? Did you think that the opportunities were good for employment? I'mnot totally sure exactly what I would like to do, but I often waffle between a government job (EPA in Seattle owuld be amazing) or a private job to pay off loans.
I enjoyed it despite not being the type of person that typically excels in the law school environment - not litigation focused, generally anxious about cold calling, etc. I'm from the Seattle area and didn't have biglaw aspirations, so that certainly contributed to my overall experience. It's not too competitive either. I was able to cruise and was comfortably above median.

My friend group was almost all non-Seattleites. None had problems finding employment in the practice area they wanted. Corp biglaw, tax & estate planning, public interest, housing, general lit after clerking; definitely a mixed bag. I think I had the toughest time because I became too reliant on my pre-law school connections and those ultimately proved unfruitful. Our collective experience is pretty representative of the opportunities coming out of UW. Hustle and network and you'll be fine. Coast and be complacent and you could be scrambling come 3L.

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sltu2

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by sltu2 » Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:55 am

Hey everyone,

Thanks for all the replies! Sorry about the slow response, here are my (predicted) stats:

GPA: 3.61 (Aerospace Engineering + Philosophy)
LSAT: 168-170 (Averaging around 170+ on practice tests, but don't think it will drop lower than 168 on the April LSAT-FLEX)

Based on these stats and the aforementioned information, does anyone have any guesses as to what $$ I can expect from UW? I also receive full tuition coverage from federal grants as an undergraduate at UW, will any of this need-based aid carry over to the JD program?

I still need to do research into what kind of law I'd like to study. As of now, I know that IP is an option because of my background, but other than that, I am entirely open to suggestions.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by ESQ92 » Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:48 pm

sltu2 wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:55 am
Hey everyone,

Thanks for all the replies! Sorry about the slow response, here are my (predicted) stats:

GPA: 3.61 (Aerospace Engineering + Philosophy)
LSAT: 168-170 (Averaging around 170+ on practice tests, but don't think it will drop lower than 168 on the April LSAT-FLEX)

Based on these stats and the aforementioned information, does anyone have any guesses as to what $$ I can expect from UW? I also receive full tuition coverage from federal grants as an undergraduate at UW, will any of this need-based aid carry over to the JD program?

I still need to do research into what kind of law I'd like to study. As of now, I know that IP is an option because of my background, but other than that, I am entirely open to suggestions.
If you can pull off those stats you'll be in a great position for $$$ at UW, or going to a better school out of state. Here's another thing to consider: there are a lot of market paying attorney jobs in patent law that ONLY interview people with an undergrad degree in a hard science such as your engineering degree. My experience was that people with science/engineering degrees were a big minority in law school and you'll be competing with a much smaller group.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by aegor » Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:09 pm

FWIW I got several Seattle BL offers from my T6, which I attended for financial reasons. I had strong friend/family ties and spent the latter part of my childhood in the area. I would pick the highest ranked school that makes sense financially--my interviewers did not grill me on why I was not in Seattle for law school.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by DebtPrisoner » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:17 pm

Heads up, I would not rely on $$$ from UW. I was accepted to both UW and UCLA. In my year (2018), UW really delayed getting out financial aid packages, and then in mid or late April basically told people that they were short on funds. I can't remember if I got a very nominal package, or no aid at all. Needless to say I chose UCLA, who offered a package on par with USC, Vandy, etc. There's a fairly strong PNW contingent in my year at UCLA (a lot of Oregon people) and I know they have gotten interviews up there. I think legitimate ties that show up on your resume can overcome not going to UW, but you will have to do the work to reach out because you won't be able to rely on OCI. UCLA OCI is mostly focused on CA and NY.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by CalF123 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:31 pm

Personally in your situation I’d be very tempted to look out of state with those numbers. You have a great chance of $$$ at T14s.

As someone born and raised in Seattle, I doubt firms there would look down on going out of state to a better school.

What going out of state would give you is national portability that UW does not have. I appreciate that you are not wedded to biglaw, but the Seattle market is difficult period.

Frankly there are not enough associate positions even for locals studying in-state/looking to return from elsewhere. I believe there are only around 25 big/midlaw SA positions in Seattle.

nixy

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by nixy » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:20 pm

Historically (but anecdotally), UW has been really stingy with money - I just don't think they have a lot.

Also, need-based aid isn't really a thing for law school (except at HYS, where they do need-based aid only and don't do merit-based scholarships).

sltu2

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by sltu2 » Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:51 am

CalF123 wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:31 pm
Personally in your situation I’d be very tempted to look out of state with those numbers. You have a great chance of $$$ at T14s.
Oh really? I knew that if I could hold down a ~170 on the LSAT I'd have a good chance at T14, but I didn't think any of them would actually offer me money.

Does anyone know which T20 schools offer the most aid, and which ones I might have the best chance for? (170 LSAT, 3.61 GPA (Engineering major), military service, interesting softs)

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by CanadianWolf » Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:21 am

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by CalF123 » Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:12 pm

The reason I suggest looking out of state is that Seattle is not a market I’d ever advise anyone to bank on breaking in to.

It is one of the most competitive in the country simply due to the very limited number of graduate positions available.

The last thing you want is to attend UW and then strike out in the Seattle market (which could easily happen) as you will really struggle to place anywhere else.

If you go to a good out of state school, Seattle remains open but you have much better placement opportunities elsewhere if that doesn’t work out.

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Re: Seattle Market - is UW the best option?

Post by abujabal » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:40 am

Great advice above. Popping in to say that if your goal is Seattle BL (DWT, PC, K&L), you can likely get interviews at least at the T13. Converting those interviews to offers is harder because of the few positions that are open (Perkins, for instance, hires about 2-3 lit SAs per year, and usually fills those from their 1L spots, and maaaybe year to year there's a 2L lit opening. DWT is trying to hire more T14, but the firm generally has that typical "why'd you leave Seattle??" air, so YMMV.

The tried and true strategy continues to be lateraling in after a few years. I will say, as a Seattle SA at a T6, the T6 part on my resume was flashy enough for people to notice me as an SA and be cloyingly weird about "oh wow you go to X school you must be brilliant," which is nice for the ego for about 10 seconds before it just is weird. Especially when they do it in front of your fellow SAs who are all UW or SU students and just as capable of handling things as you are.

If you're looking at Seattle PI, the opportunities and routes there are so minuscule and individually-oriented as to be impossible to advise about in general. The key continues to be either being overwhelmingly impressive or lateralling later for non Seattle schools.

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