[Botbot]: Top 10%, Los Angeles (turned down V10-20 offers in DC as well)
[LucasHumble]: The law review board deliberately “front-loaded” our editing assignments to leave time at the end of the semester for finals preparation. We thus had significantly more work in August, September, and October than we will have in November and December. The first three months I spent 10-15 hours per week on law review, and will probably spend 5-8 through the end of the semester.
As for law school as a whole, I spend 2-3 hours per day on homework outside of classroom lectures and law review. During my 1L year, that number was significantly higher (4-5 hours per day). Beginning a few weeks before finals, I spend an absurd amount of time in the library preparing for exams, probably 6-8 hours per day. I have a wife and two kids and have never had problems balancing school with my personal life. I am always home by 6:00pm, and if I have additional homework, I finish it in the late evening after my kids are in bed.
[Casper13]: Lots o’ Mormons here, probably more than 90%. The $8,500 tuition is heavily subsidized for LDS students (on the order of $25,000+/student each year), so admissions are very competitive. The tuition is also subsidized for non-LDS students to a lesser extent.
Firm recruitment is definitely tighter this year. Many big firms (e.g., Kirkland & Ellis, Simpson Thatcher, Skadden Arps, Akin Gump, etc.) have reduced the size of their summer classes. If things are getting tight at Harvard, you know they’re tight everywhere. (See: http://abovethelaw.com/2008/09/open_thread_how_is_the_fall_re.php#comments
) As the linked stories explain, some firms are even rescinding offers already extended at schools like Michigan, Virginia, and U Penn. This is probably one of the worst recruitment seasons in nearly a decade.
That being said, we still have more than 100 firms at OCIs, and dozens more at the BYU Law fairs in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. These include most of the V25 firms (e.g., Cravath, Skadden, Davis Polk, Simpson Thatcher, Latham, Covington, Kirkland, Sidley, Gibson Dunn, O’Melveny, White & Case, Arnold & Porter, Jones Day, Milbank, Clifford Chance, Cadwalader, Hogan, etc.), the V50-100 firms, and most of the western regional NLJ250 firms. A lot of my colleagues in the top 1/3 of the class have good jobs with big firms, and many in the top 2/3 have jobs with regional firms. My impression is that people below the top 50% are having a much more difficult time finding a job this year, but that is the case everywhere (including Harvard, as the first link above indicates). I have also noticed that people who did not already have offers before the stock market fell 2,000 points are having a much more difficult time finding employment. A lot of firms have frozen recruitment since mid-September due to market uncertainty. Recruitment in New York is still fairly strong, probably more so than in areas like the Southeast, Orange County, Phoenix, and the Bay Area.
[Devo]: BYU gets a lot of respect from recruiters, especially since we are the hub of one of the largest and most powerful attorney networks in the world: the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. We have JRCLS members working in every major firm and in every market from Hong Kong to New York. The Society also includes hundreds of U.S. Circuit and District Court judges, law professors, government officials, and military officers. For example, the top Supreme Court litigators at Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin, and Winston & Strawn all have connections to the JRCLS. Sandra Day O’Connor frequently attends our JRCLS conferences, and last year Chief Justice Roberts visited the school for several lectures and Q&A sessions.
The school was founded 30 years ago by Rex E. Lee, one of the most respected U.S. Solicitors General in American history, and the relationships he built for the law school still run deep throughout the country. We are ranked 13th for U.S. Supreme Court clerk placement, and 18th for U.S. Circuit Court clerk placement. As I mentioned above, nearly all of the top V25 firms come to campus, and certainly every respectable firm in the Western United States recruits at BYU. I obviously think highly of the law school, but it’s admittedly not a Harvard or Chicago and will never match the career opportunities available at those schools. Nonetheless, the USNWR ranking does not correspond with the career opportunities available at BYU. I think, realistically, the opportunities at BYU compare with the T15-25 schools, whether it be clerkship placement, BIGLAW career prospects, or government service.
As for comparing BYU with UCLA or Texas, I think the BIGLAW GPA cutoffs are probably similar for all three schools, though probably lower for UCLA and Texas. BYU may have a better national network, however, than both UCLA and Texas. While those schools do extremely well in their home states and regions, BYU’s connections to diverse markets like New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Phoenix offer consistently broad opportunities throughout the country.
BYU is an interesting school, however, because many people are not as interested in major markets, opting instead for their hometown markets in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County, Seattle, Portland, Boise, and of course, Salt Lake City (more than 40% of graduates stay in Utah, and about 70% stay in the Mountain West). A lot of students turn down offers at T14 schools to attend BYU because the low tuition gives them the opportunity to accept work in their hometowns (where salaries are lower) with regional firms and government agencies. If everyone were gunning for top markets, I am sure we could place a more substantial portion of the class with V100 firms in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, but… some people just want to stay local.
I interviewed in Washington, DC, Orange County, and Los Angeles (since I have a family, I don’t want to work for the sweatshops in New York or Chicago). The opportunities in all of the markets were great. I had callbacks and offers with the top three firms in each city, and ended up going with the firm I preferred before the recruitment season began.
As for Arizona, I am not an expert on that market, but it seems like BYU does well in Phoenix. Firms like Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, Fennemore Craig, Bryan Cave, Gallagher & Kennedy, Lewis & Roca, Snell & Wilmer, and Steptoe & Johnson come to campus every year. If you are very strongly committed to staying in Phoenix, you should probably go to a local school. However, Phoenix is a mid-size secondary legal market, and if you want to keep your options open for a top national firm in a major market, you should go to a school with a national reach. U Arizona and ASU are good schools for Arizona and other areas of the Southwest, but your opportunities for employment with the V25 firms in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and even Los Angeles will probably be very limited.
The environment at BYU is great. The students are very collegial, the SBA puts on frequent social activities (most of which are very family-friendly), our law school intramural sports teams dominate the undergrads, the school hosts scores of accomplished guest speakers, and Provo is a fun and safe place for young adults. We’re also close to great skiing in Park City, the Sundance Resort (home of the Sundance Film Festival), Moab, Salt Lake, and Las Vegas. That said, the community is very conservative, very Mormon, and the winters are long. If that’s not your cup of tea—even if for only three years of law school—you may want to look around.