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Author Topic: How important is the name really?  (Read 27413 times)

rutherford

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2006, 10:59:37 AM »
I decided to transfer after my first year at a Tier 4 where I was in the top 5%. I had an option to transfer to a rather regional Tier 2 w/ $$$; or, to go to a top 20 school where I would incur some serious debt. FYI. Starting salary out of the Tier 2 was $70K and the Tier 1 was $125K.

I opted for the Tier 1. I was a little bit apprehensive at first, but every lawyer I talked to told me that the name alone would be worth it. I'm not here entirely for the name, but lawschool unlike other type of graduate education, is very ranking focused. So I decided if I'm going into this field, I'll have to play the game. Of course I'm getting a great education, but I'm also hoping that the connections I develope while at this rather "national" school will help me land a good job no matter what my class standing.

As for the OP. It all depends what you want. Of course you'll likely find a good job if you're in the top of your class, plus you will have minimal debt. It might just work for you, but me personally, I would have taken the rank and debt, lived frugal for the first 3 years out of school and paid off my loans

amityjo

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2006, 02:44:44 PM »
FWIW -

Hofstra 2L here, not top 10%, but on LR. I managed to secure a BigLaw summer associate position for 2007 in NYC (4 offers, actually). Didn't have to pull any strings to get it either. I am sure it's because I interview well, and I have a magnificent resume. I suppose the 10 years of work experience didn't hurt.

Kick butt with your grades, make your resume interesting and powerful, get on Law Review, and above all, be more than some legal drone (i.e. have a personality - people hire people they like.) It's doable, but if you can't be top 10%, you have to differentiate yourself another way.


What was your class rank?  How many of your classmates are going to biglaw and what was their class rank? 

Since you were on law review I'd assume that your experience is atypical compared to the typical Hofstra student.

No, I'm sure my experience is different from most Hofstra students, not just because I'm on LR, but because I'm a non-traditional student, which has its advantages. But it is not completely out of the realm of possibility to get a BigLaw job, either. Pretty much everyone on LR has a BigLaw job who wanted one. As for other students, I can't really say, since I don't pay that much attention to anyone else. I can assure you I didn't get my job because of my grades. It's because I can write extremely well and because I have something to offer from my past work experience.

I can honestly say that I'm really happy with my education at Hofstra, and while it may not be for everyone, I've gotten exactly what I needed out of my time here and only will owe $30k total after graduation. Being more than a decade older than most of my classmates had a huge impact on my decision to forego other very highly ranked schools. I have less time to pay off a huge debt, so Hofstra's generous scholarship was good for me. I can't say I would have made the same decision had I gone to law school at the age of 22.

grotius

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2006, 07:26:16 AM »
For what it's worth, the law school name is meaning less and less. I'm a 2L not at a T14 law school (but top tier) and I have 8 outstanding offers in BigLaw firms in NYC and DC. I'm probably in the top 30% of my class (we don't rank), but not in the top 3% and I'm not on law review. However, I did go to a top Ivy League undergrad and have quite a bit of "interesting" work experience. The hiring partner at one of the firms I interviewed told me that 5-10 years ago he would only hire from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia Law, etc. That's because the firms client's wanted to know that their lawyers that they pay a lot of money for went to the top schools. This is changing for a lot of BigLaw firms and they are seeking to diversify their summer associate classes. The partner I spoke with prided himself on the fact that last year of the firm's 50 offers, they were from 35 different law schools. What seems to be most important in landing the BigLaw offer is not so much where you went to law school, but work experience. All of my classmates who don't have offers at this point went straight through from undergrad to law school and are quite young.

rutherford

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2006, 08:24:20 AM »
What seems to be most important in landing the BigLaw offer is not so much where you went to law school, but work experience. All of my classmates who don't have offers at this point went straight through from undergrad to law school and are quite young.


As a 30 year old 2L in the evening program, I'm hoping that the 6 years I spent working before I decided to enter law school will hopefully benefit me during the interview process. So if big firms are willing to consider my work experience too, that's great.

Krisace

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2006, 10:37:20 AM »
I'm not so sure...I've read the last couple of posts and firms are still pretty school snobby no matter how much they have "changed."  There very well may be more exceptions than there were in the past (and based on personla experience I can agree with this) but the amount which a school name comes into play is still huge. 

I wonder if maybe morre firms are diversifying because they are just getting larger.  Since a firm now takes 50 summers at a certain office rather than the 25 they took ten years ago, they likely are much more willing and able to go get a top student from a mid T-1 school.

RenaldoBalkman

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2006, 10:38:45 AM »
For what it's worth, the law school name is meaning less and less. I'm a 2L not at a T14 law school (but top tier) and I have 8 outstanding offers in BigLaw firms in NYC and DC. I'm probably in the top 30% of my class (we don't rank), but not in the top 3% and I'm not on law review. However, I did go to a top Ivy League undergrad and have quite a bit of "interesting" work experience. The hiring partner at one of the firms I interviewed told me that 5-10 years ago he would only hire from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia Law, etc. That's because the firms client's wanted to know that their lawyers that they pay a lot of money for went to the top schools. This is changing for a lot of BigLaw firms and they are seeking to diversify their summer associate classes. The partner I spoke with prided himself on the fact that last year of the firm's 50 offers, they were from 35 different law schools. What seems to be most important in landing the BigLaw offer is not so much where you went to law school, but work experience. All of my classmates who don't have offers at this point went straight through from undergrad to law school and are quite young.

Well its different going to a T1 regional school and going to a 3rd tier school like Hofstra. 

Obviously a top tier regional school like Fordham can place grads in biglaw who come from the top 1/3. 

At Hofstra and other 3rd tiers you have to be in the top 10% or higher.

Budlaw

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2006, 05:58:23 PM »
For what it's worth, the law school name is meaning less and less. I'm a 2L not at a T14 law school (but top tier) and I have 8 outstanding offers in BigLaw firms in NYC and DC. I'm probably in the top 30% of my class (we don't rank), but not in the top 3% and I'm not on law review. However, I did go to a top Ivy League undergrad and have quite a bit of "interesting" work experience. The hiring partner at one of the firms I interviewed told me that 5-10 years ago he would only hire from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia Law, etc. That's because the firms client's wanted to know that their lawyers that they pay a lot of money for went to the top schools. This is changing for a lot of BigLaw firms and they are seeking to diversify their summer associate classes. The partner I spoke with prided himself on the fact that last year of the firm's 50 offers, they were from 35 different law schools. What seems to be most important in landing the BigLaw offer is not so much where you went to law school, but work experience. All of my classmates who don't have offers at this point went straight through from undergrad to law school and are quite young.

You're only supposed to keep 5 offers open past November 1st according to NALP guidelines. You need to drop a few.

ruskiegirl

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2006, 06:26:53 PM »
You know, I have heard too much for too long how important the name of the law school is on your diploma.  I have heard that the name can sometimes be more important than the ranking within your class.  But why?  I know some people say that it's because behind the name and the reputation comes excellent education, and even if it doesn't things are how they are and it's not I who will change it.  But I wonder if firms will really turn me down because I didn't go to a top 50 school.  I got a 169 on my LSAT, I had a 3.5 cum. GPA in my undergraduate school, I got in all but one out of 10 schools I applied to, 3 of them in the top 50 and one in the top 5...yeah...but I chose a school ranked 87 by the infamous US News and World Report for the full ride.  I thought it was an honor that a school bet so highly in my success that they said I don't have to pay to go there, that it is my name that may help build theirs up and not the other way around.  You know, I think that there is a lot more going for lawyers than a fancy law school.  I think that if you have additional, relevant attributes you are much better off than the stereotype anti-social Ivy-Leaguer.  I speak five languages, hold dual citizenship and American Residency, have traveled the world, volunteered abroad, worked at the Maryland General Assembly, was a crucial help on the passage of a really important child-welfare bill, I am outgoing, smart, persevering, persuasive, diligent, and yet somehow I hear that because I chose to go to Hofstra, and emphasis on the word "chose", I am doomed as far as jobs.  So my question to you, who have the experience required to answer my question, is whether it is really true that going to Hofstra Law is going to affect my job choices negatively.  I am not sure whether it is relevant, but my field of choice so far is M&A and other types of business law.  Thanks in advance for the replies. 

It's neither fair nor particularly right, but the pedigree of your school does affect your job opportunities. I have friends who go to the school across the Bay (Hastings) and they have two work twice as hard to get the same bite at the apple as my fellow Boalties. I would go so far as to say, even, that Hastings lawyers are, as a result of the competition, better trained than are Boalt lawyers. But, at the end of the day, most any law firm in the country would rather have an associate bio that boasts Boalt or Stanford rather than Hastings or USF.

I was actually in a similar position to the OP when I applied. I had a full ride to Stetson University and an acceptance to Boalt. At that time, I assumed I would want to return to Florida to practice. I spoke to dozens of practitioners in the Tampa area who all told me to go to Boalt and not think twice. I went with it. My job search was certainly affected by the fact that I went to Boalt. While I had no trouble securing interviews, callbacks and offers from prestigious firms in major markets, I found that Florida firms were more intersted in regional ties and they questioned by decision to attend Boalt rather than a Florida school. I am headed to London next year, to do high-level corporate work for a very prestigious firm. There's no doubt in my mind that I would have never had this opportunity had I gone to Stetson, but...I AM missing out on the sun and sand for a few more years... ;)

ruskiegirl

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2006, 06:45:49 PM »
Here's my take.  I think that you should transfer up at the end of your 1L year.  You will have had a good experience at Hofstra and not paid a dime and that is awesome.  However, if you want to do M&A and securities work you need to get into BigLaw. To do that you would be doing yourself a major disservice in being at Hofstra. 

Also, be aware that there are a handful of people who scored around 170 at my mid-T1 lawschool.  I know for sure that some of them are near the 50% percentile in their class.  So work real hard this year and make the transfer happen...don't slack.

Transfer to any T-14 and you'll be guaranteed a job, with the work you want, paying you a first-year total package between 170-190K. The first year at the firm will make up the difference in tuition you'll be facing by transferring. But again, realize that if you want to transfer out of Hofstra to a T-14 you'll need to be at least in the top 10% and there's people with LSAT scores and undergrad GPA's much lower than your that are just now finally getting their academics in gear.


I disagree with a couple of things in this post. First, even people at T-14 jobs are not guaranteed a BigLaw job paying "first year total packages btwn 170-190." I know people at Georgetown and Michigan who were at the middle of their classes, went through OCI and did not land jobs. Even at top schools, competition for BigLaw jobs exists. As you probably know, big law firms hire almost exclusively from OCI, so if you don't get a job thorugh this process, you're out of luck, at least for the big firms. 

Second, the most any BigLaw firm starts their associates out at is 145,000 and even these are scarce outside of NY. I found one firm in Chicago that pays 145 starting. There are quite a few that start at 135. Even with bonuses, there are very few firms that would give a first year associate a total package of 190,000 and if this firm did exist, you would probably be billing 3,000 hours + a year.

this is a very misleading post.

1) biglaw does most, but NOT ALL of its hiring through oci. write-ins, minority job fairs, etc. are all effective ways of getting a biglaw job.

2) no one, i repeat, NO ONE bills 3,000+ hrs a year. not even in nyc.

3) yes, it happens that people at top schools don't land jobs through oci. that happens exceptionally infrequently and they are usually able to secure well-paying positions later in the year.

4) market salaries are well over $100k in just about any major market. top 10 law students, unless they are socially retarded, usually have no trouble getting these jobs, regardless of class rank. many of my friends who made all "Passes" in their first year are now at top 20 firms in SF, NYC, DC, and LA.

WhiteyEMSR

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #49 on: November 16, 2006, 08:07:53 PM »
Here's my take.  I think that you should transfer up at the end of your 1L year.  You will have had a good experience at Hofstra and not paid a dime and that is awesome.  However, if you want to do M&A and securities work you need to get into BigLaw. To do that you would be doing yourself a major disservice in being at Hofstra. 

Also, be aware that there are a handful of people who scored around 170 at my mid-T1 lawschool.  I know for sure that some of them are near the 50% percentile in their class.  So work real hard this year and make the transfer happen...don't slack.

Transfer to any T-14 and you'll be guaranteed a job, with the work you want, paying you a first-year total package between 170-190K. The first year at the firm will make up the difference in tuition you'll be facing by transferring. But again, realize that if you want to transfer out of Hofstra to a T-14 you'll need to be at least in the top 10% and there's people with LSAT scores and undergrad GPA's much lower than your that are just now finally getting their academics in gear.


I disagree with a couple of things in this post. First, even people at T-14 jobs are not guaranteed a BigLaw job paying "first year total packages btwn 170-190." I know people at Georgetown and Michigan who were at the middle of their classes, went through OCI and did not land jobs. Even at top schools, competition for BigLaw jobs exists. As you probably know, big law firms hire almost exclusively from OCI, so if you don't get a job thorugh this process, you're out of luck, at least for the big firms. 

Second, the most any BigLaw firm starts their associates out at is 145,000 and even these are scarce outside of NY. I found one firm in Chicago that pays 145 starting. There are quite a few that start at 135. Even with bonuses, there are very few firms that would give a first year associate a total package of 190,000 and if this firm did exist, you would probably be billing 3,000 hours + a year.

this is a very misleading post.

1) biglaw does most, but NOT ALL of its hiring through oci. write-ins, minority job fairs, etc. are all effective ways of getting a biglaw job.

2) no one, i repeat, NO ONE bills 3,000+ hrs a year. not even in nyc.

3) yes, it happens that people at top schools don't land jobs through oci. that happens exceptionally infrequently and they are usually able to secure well-paying positions later in the year.

4) market salaries are well over $100k in just about any major market. top 10 law students, unless they are socially retarded, usually have no trouble getting these jobs, regardless of class rank. many of my friends who made all "Passes" in their first year are now at top 20 firms in SF, NYC, DC, and LA.


1. Like I said, big firms hire almost exclusively through OCI. Through my experience (somewhat limited, I suppose) it is very unlikely for someone to get a well paying (and by well paying I mean 100,000+) job not through OCI.

2. You say "nobody bills 3,000 hours a year." Are you kidding me? This is billing less than 60 hours a week. Billing 60 hours a week is billing approx 8.5 hours a day (assuming you work weekends). This is very possible. Some lawyers out in 12 hours a day. With 12 hour work days you can surely bill 8.5 hours a day. Of course this means no life, almost whatsoever, but it also means mucho dinero. To say nobody bills 3,000 a year is a ridiculous over-generalization. Ask any associate at any big firm. I know people who have billed this many hours. They are not happy people. I even know of small firms where associates bill over 3000 hours (Baker Daniels in Indy, for example). Some firms have huge incentive programs for billing this many hours. Bonus packages for billing 2500 hours are VERY common. What makes you think 500 hours more (approx 9.5 billable more a week) is out of the question.

3. I was speaking more to BigLaw. It is likely that you will get something through OCI, but I was refuting the statement that "T14 people are guaranteed BigLaw jobs paying 170-190." This is not true. This is not true because base salaries don't start out this high. Check Nalp. Seach by salary. There is one firm listed that pays 155,000, a handful that pay 150,000.

4. Again, I'm not talking about "top ten law students." Of course the top ten law students can get BigLaw jobs. Again, I was responding to the guy who said a T14 is guaranteed a BigLaw job regardless of class rank. There are quite a few students, including myself, that secured jobs at Vault top 20 firms. We were all top of our class. All of us. The BigLaw firms (Sidley Austin, Kirkland & Ellis, Sheaman & Sterling, Jones Day, Jenner Block, etc, etc,) only took the top students. These firms would never take students from the bottom of the class. Check out these firms' websites. Even the associates from HYS, etc have honors, journal experience, etc.

BTW, good luck in England. I have a lot of family there; I envy you. Bring your wellies and your brolly though;)