3L, F**k It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

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Decide my future

Fuck it, go to San Francisco: might as well try given your current situation
Stay in Ohio: you're seriously out of your mind, stay with where your ties are located and avoid the risk
Middle Ground: don't put all your eggs in either basket (this option is discouraged, but if you pick it, please explain)
Total votes: 72

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:03 am

I agree with pretty much everything said here. Let me just add that I'm from SF (born and raised there), went to a T30 on the East Coast with top 10% grades, and really struggled getting a big law job in SF/SV (though I did succeed). I found that connection with alums did make a difference. But keep your spirits up if things don't go great. One firm treated me nasty because a partner alum from my school forwarded my resume, and all the associates looked at me like "We don't recruit from your school, so how did you even get to interview here?" suggesting I wasn't qualified. I would also add that the SV market is slightly easier than the SF market, though it really depends. Good luck.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:50 pm

I clerked for the 9th Circuit, and I was shut out of SF. Good luck, bro, but I'd stay in Ohio if you want to have a job in a year.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:38 pm

FORGET San Francisco, please for your sake. I just struck out after focusing on San Francisco during OCI at my MVP with median grades and very strong both SF and CA ties. Don't do it man. Trying for SF was one of the biggest mistakes in my life.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:30 pm

So here's my perspective. I know a lot of people say that SF is really tough but I think that there are certain things that you can do to set yourself up to get something in that market - based on how my situation turned out.

I am currently at a t14, absolutely zero ties to the SF market. In fact, my resume solidly reflects one city in the Midwest. I am above median but not enough that I felt comfortable grades-wise going into OCI. I have three years of paralegal experience. After OCI and hustling, I ended up with 4 big law offers in both SF and PA and one firm where I was under consideration but withdrew from. Reasons I think I was able to break in:

(1) I had a very specific pitch for the type of work I wanted to do and targeted only firms there that had well-known practices in that area. I also researched the SF market in depth both online and by talking to numerous attorneys in my practice area so I could create my targeted plan of attack.
(2) As everyone says, have a very specific and good reason for why you want to go to SF. For me, it was personal and I think that helped me because firms believe you when you say you'll stay where your SO goes. I have also seen it work for others who had a good pitch for a practice area they really wanted to go into that was really strong in the SF/CA market - e.g. tech transactions as well.
(3) I reached out to a number of my old connections and e-mailed alums like crazy. Not only did this give me additional perspective on the firms in my area of interest but also allowed me to set up IN-PERSON informational interviews where I could demonstrate my commitment to being on the West Coast by flying my butt out there and convincing people face-to-face that their firm was where I wanted to be both geography-wise and practice-wise. Don't be discouraged if people aren't willing to talk to you - in terms of cold e-mailing I think I got way less replies than I did responses.
(4) I flew out to SF for a week to meet with people I had cold e-mailed and I think that this led to me receiving callbacks. It's important to do this early even though the West Coast works on a later timeline because most of the firms I interviewed at gave offers on a rolling basis. I also think that attorneys are more willing to meet you for informationals if you tell them you're flying in from out of town and will only be there for a short period of time.

At the end of the day, based on my experience, I don't think SF is as hard to break into as people think. No market is easy, even though NY probably is a bit more comparatively - and I think firms are more willing to take a chance on someone who they think has really done their research. I do think SF would have been hard to break into if I relied on OCI only. Most of my offers did not come from OCI but from reaching out to attorneys who actually met me in person and were willing to put in a good word for me.

I hope this is helpful and good luck!

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by patrickd139 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:44 pm

Anon posting directly above me has several things on OP. Not saying you should disregard the post entirely, but I hope you read it carefully.

First, Anon has ties to the SF area, based on that post: his/her SO is, at the very least, living in SF.

Second, Anon is above median at a T14. OP did very well, but not outstanding, from a non-T14. Not saying that T14 >>> all other law students anywhere, but never underestimate the value of preftigiouf degrees in major market legal hiring.

Third, Anon started early. OP is not starting early. To the extent he is targeting 3L hiring, OP is starting late.

That said, Anon offers some great general points about targeting markets where you have no obvious ties.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:01 pm

Being from San Fransisco (10+ years) and worked as a paralegal a few years in Ohio after I moved out there for my (ex) gf. I would love to get back to Ohio post-grad.

I think you're insane. The 40k job you'll get Ohio will let you live like a fucking KING compared to the 50k job you MAY (probably won't) get in the Bay Area.

My shit paralegal salary allowed me to live in a 1000 sq.ft. 1 bed one of the nicest parts of the entire State, and go get wasted downtown 2-3 nights a week, have a car, and get laid regularly.

This same amount of money in California would literally cover the rent of splitting a studio in the hood. Forget about living in a "big city" ... you will be living 45 minutes away from the "big city" by BART/MUNI/CalTrans in a shittier suburb than anywhere you would be in cle/cbus/cinci
Plus, you're from OSU... well downtown Columbus is fun as hell for like $30 a night or less... $2 drinks at Cantina/Brother's/Gaswerks/fucking everywhere >>> $20 cover + $10 drinks anywhere in The City... oh yea the ratio of hot girls to guys in ohio is about 100x higher than SF

just my two cents... as someone who LOVED growing up out there... it is probably the most expensive city in the country with maybe the WORST job market

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by Anonymous Associate » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:35 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:If you can't get hired in Ohio, you sure as hell won't get hired in SF.

It's not that the SF legal market is particularly weak right now, as some other posters have indicated: it's that you don't have the qualifications or the personal ties.
I had to quote this because it is so credited.

Addressing qualifications, do you have a technical background?

FYI-I am in SF.


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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by curiousgeorges » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:48 pm

Ex-BigLaw SF attorney here, about to lateral back into BigLaw (holding midlevel offers but haven't yet transitioned) after some time in public service. Few points:

1. SF is awesome, but right now it's financially painful (especially speaking as someone currently in the public sector). I still wouldn't trade it for anything. I sympathize with anyone who wants to come out here. Rooting for the OP and anyone else who is willing to hustle to be here.

2. Don't come out here without a job, but do take the California bar at the first opportunity. One person I know - HYS alum, ex-BigLaw, top-3 MBA - moved out here without a job more than a year ago, thinking it would be easy enough to find one. Still no full-time job despite his hustling, although he has been making ends meet with some part-time/temporary gigs and family help. Another person I know, from a much less competitive law school, lost his job at a plaintiff's firm several weeks ago ... and hasn't gotten a single interview at any legal employer despite applying for every position he can find. The prospect of long-term unemployment out here is real, particularly given that - as others have pointed out - you don't have the most competitive credentials possible, a tech background, or geographic ties to the area. However, taking the California bar is viewed as an indicator of geographic commitment and can go some way towards overcoming the out-of-state hurdle. Applying without the California bar will be difficult, although theoretically not impossible: (non-BigLaw) employers dislike having to deal with the delays, time off, and general inconvenience of waiting for a transplanted candidate to become admitted. For many smaller offices that need you to be able to practice law officially from day one, lack of admission will be a dealbreaker.

3. Re: lying about being from SF, putting a friend's address on your resume, etc., as suggested by someone in this thread. Do not do this. In addition to the ethical issue: unless you know this area damn well, you will likely get caught in casual conversation. I've encountered people doing this before. E.g., one candidate I interviewed had a SF address on her resume, and I liked her (supposed) neighborhood, so I asked her a couple of questions re: how she liked certain specific things about it and mentioned certain things about one of the MUNI lines serving her neighborhood that she'd have known if she lived there. I wasn't trying to catch her in a lie, as I assumed that she was telling the truth about where she was living - but she quickly had to admit that she was not actually living there/familiar with "her" neighborhood. Obviously, a candidate who is willing to lie blatantly on their resume about their circumstances is a liability to any employer, and I noted this on her interview evaluation form. As a transplant to SF from the East Coast who weathered my share of discrimination against non-Bay Areans (this area is notoriously parochial, and the questions about whether you're from the area and serious about remaining will persist for years after your initial move), I sympathize with the temptation to claim ties to this area even if they are fictional. But just don't do it.

4. Right now, SV seems to be hotter than SF for hiring. If you are set on living in SF proper but will be applying for jobs in SV, note that the commute to the Peninsula is difficult and be sure you are prepared to spend 2+ hours a day on 101/280, Caltrain, and driving/biking/walking to reach 101/280/Caltrain. Note also that this commute is now extremely popular, so the neighborhoods that are at least moderately desirable and are are convenient to 101, 280, and Caltrain are some of the most excruciatingly expensive.

But I can't help but sympathize with anyone hellbent on this area. I've felt the same way about it since I was a 2L set on moving here. I was at HLS, in a good economy, and with good grades - and yet I had a hard time convincing many SF/SV (BigLaw) employers to take a chance on me without geographic ties. I was doing great in East Coast BigLaw interviews, yet came very close to striking out in SF/SV, getting only one offer in SV and none in SF the first time around. Some of the comments I got from classmates at the time were as discouraging as some of those posted in this thread. It worked out for me. (After moving to the Bay Area for a federal clerkship and passing the California bar, my next BigLaw job search went smoothly, and all of the firms that dinged me the first time around (many without callbacks) extended interviews and offers.) Obviously you are applying under different circumstances and at a different time. If there's anything specific you'd like to discuss (I know SF/SV biglaw litigation, some gov't/public interest, and clerkships myself, but have friends working throughout the legal market in this area), feel free to PM me.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by 84651846190 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:25 pm

sap wrote:Also, you should consider, if you're a straight guy: do you want to have sex in the next several years? With a girl?

Don't move to San Francisco. You'll be an unemployed lawyer with a LOT of debt who graduated from a school that most people here haven't heard of, living in a crappy apartment, in a city where there are 1.6 men for every woman. And most of them are software engineers with no debt. Nobody will want to date you, and nobody will want to hire you.
Harsh, but fair.

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Re: 3L, Fuck It, I Think I'm Going to Try for San Francisco

Post by hiima3L » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:00 am

I vote a resounding no, do not move to SF.

I lived in the Bay Area for the past 7 years and went to law school in SF. The market is abysmal.

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