Law School Discussion

How regional is regional?


How regional is regional?
« on: April 11, 2004, 08:01:41 PM »
Ok.. I am having a hard time figuring something out.  The top 14 schools are the national schools, meaning you can get a job anywhere in the country.  Beyond, that schools seem to get more regional as you get lower in the rankings.  For example, UCLA and USC have major clout in Los Angeles and in California, good clout in the surrounding states' legal markets (Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc...) but lesser out in the East Coast.  If you go to the bottom of the spectrum, few people outside of San Diego would give Thomas Jefferson students much of a look.  Now within this spectrum I have some questions.

How regional are some of these "regional" tier-2 or tier-3 schools?  I've applied to a bunch of California schools and some in neighboring states- Santa Clara, USF, San Diego, Loyola, UNLV, Arizona State.  these guys are all tier 2 schools.  Using a school like USD as an example, it seems to have very good clout within San Diego, but how would schools like this fare even in their own states?  For example, would I have a decent shot as a USD grad or a Santa Clara grad anywhere in California, or would San Diego mostly limit me to San Diego, and Santa Clara mostly limit me to the Bay Area? 

I've applied to these schools because I would like to stay in the region- I wouldn't mind practicing in California, Las Vegas, or Arizona.  But because these are 2nd tier schools, am I limited even further to only being able to practice in the CITY these schools are located in?  ???

Any insight would be appreciated, thank you!


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Re: How regional is regional?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2004, 08:52:03 PM »
From what I read, you are most likely going to practice in the area/state/city that you went to school.

the schools keep data on where there graduates practice. 

The lower the tier of the shcool, the more likely you will stay in the school's city.  If you go to Thomas Jefferson, you are most likely going to stay in San Diego.  If you want to go to a lower tiered school, you will have to work harder at your job search in order to get a position outside the city/state/region.  i.e. If you go to TJSL and want to work in Arizona, you aren't going to find an employer on a campus recruitment day.  You will need to go to Arizona and find your employer.

The above information is all based on what I have read.  You will find the most information by ocntacting the placement/career offices of the schools you wish to attend. 

Last thought...if you have to stay in San Diego, what the hell is wrong with that? :-)


Re: How regional is regional?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2004, 08:53:46 PM »
I've had similar questions, and what I think is this: Obviously, your best prospects coming from USD are in San Diego. But it seems like each of the schools mentioned has enough alumni out there to give you pretty good employment prospects throughout California. People move around, so there have to be USD alums in Northern California, etc.

I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Re: How regional is regional?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2004, 09:06:01 PM »
I think for a 2nd tier school "regional" means the city in which the school is located.  Of course a USD grad can find jobs in other markets if they have very good credentials.  You can do a Martindale search to find the number of USD alums in other CA cities, however keep in mind that some of these people have 'lateraled' over. 

USD is similar to a school like Cardozo.  Some Cardozo grads get jobs outside of NYC but the vast majority stay in NYC at least at the beginning of their career.  All of the other CA cities have law schools of their own (some more than one).  If you're coming from USD you're going to behind the curve, so to speak.  Your career services won't know anyone.  Networking will be really tough.  I've found that the best way to network is through an alum.  It's been nearly impossible for me to schedule informational interviews with attorneys who didn't graduate from my school unless I have a personal contact with that person.  So you begin your networking with an alum of your school and if there aren't many then it's very difficult to network. 

Odds are that you'll end at a small firm and small firms hire through networking and a small firm can't afford to take risks so they are very conservative about who they hire.  Small firms often won't even consider hiring someone from a law school that they are unfamiliar with.  Not only that, but some firms are full of lawyers who all graduated from the same law school.  They can't afford to take a chance with an unknown entity which is what you are as a fresh new graduate.  It's a little less risky if you have credentials and come from a school they're familiar with. 


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Re: How regional is regional?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2004, 04:11:23 PM »
While I think that all of the above tends to be the rule, the exception, from what I've heard, are big firms that are hiring for positions more than one of their locations. This may be more true of the higher ranked schools than lower ranked schools.