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Author Topic: How important is the name really?  (Read 26756 times)

UChi2L

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2006, 07:34:05 AM »
People always like to diss biglaw.  Too bad the criticism usually comes from those who have no biglaw work experience or are upset about getting dinged from screeners and callbacks.

Guess I'll have to let you know how it is after next summer.  ;)

You're not going to know anything about Biglaw after a summer associateship ... You are, however, going to know what it feels like to have physical pain in your liver from drinking too much free expensive champagne, pain in your stomach from eating so much gourmet food from the fanciest restaurants in the city, and aggressive mental fatigue from choosing between events late in the summer when you have four a week and you can't physically make it to all of them.

Oh yeah, there's also the "pain" of trying to button up your old pants that you swear were a little roomy in April.

People diss biglaw for three reasons: (1) they're jealous; (2) it's really not for them, in which case they should keep their opinions to themselves (telling people not to go to biglaw just because you want to work at a boutique firm or in the government and go home at 3:30 on Fridays is like an aggressive vegetarian trying to convince everyone at a BBQ to eat a grilled mushroom -- keep your opinions to yourself) (2) they're proving that they have some kind of knowledge that relates to what you do.  It's exactly the same as when you first made your decision to go to law school and people were like 'oh wow ... good luck with that.'  You're alive (maybe not happy, but at least alive) aren't you?

I get this crap from people at my old law school, from my obnoxious cousins at Thanksgiving dinner, and from family friends who are lawyers.  The next person who calls the firm I'm working at a "sweatshop" or a "graveyard" is going to hear about it.  As long as you are proactive during the summer, seeking out first- and second-year associates (firms don't always give summers "access" to these young associates, that's a warning sign, too) and finding out how happy or miserable they really are, you'll never know.  There is some variation among the big firms, and although it's not like you really have a choice if you hate the firm you summer at after your second year, at least if you find out it's really terrible you'll be prepared enough to look for a good psychiatrist and get some Xanax before you even walk in the door for your first day.
I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah.

Krisace

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #71 on: November 29, 2006, 02:37:15 AM »
Well said...although I gotta say, once you get a second summer Biglaw position, you can leverage it pretty easily into a better position if you weren't completely happy with the firm you were at (as long as you got an offer).

DOCLAW

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #72 on: November 29, 2006, 04:13:13 PM »
This thread is funny.  Some of the posters give the impression that you MUST go to a T1 to have a real chance in BIGLAW.
I go to a T4 and got 5 call backs and 4 offers.  I even worked at a BIG LAW firm my first summer (who asked me to come back).  Many of my classmates also had multiple offers.

Sooooo, don't be discouraged by the few on this thread who try to paint a grim picture about job perspectives at schools outside of the elite 20.  If you like your school don't transfer.

And by the way,  I was not in the top 10 of my class but I am on law review.

Good luck.

rutherford

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #73 on: November 29, 2006, 05:25:34 PM »
 Of course you dont HAVE to go to a T1 to get into Biglaw, and of course some NFL players walk on and make the team, and of course some 5'5' atheletes can make it in the NBA. The point people are trying to make is that your chances are greater for making it into BigLaw if you are at a T1. That simply cannot be denied.

I was actually at a T4, finished top 5%, and decided to transfer to a T1 because the odds are simply better for me to get a better job. I think less than 20 schools were at OCI at my old school while my new T1 school has close to 600. The odds simply cannot be denied.

But alas, all of this is based what generally will occur and of course people at T4s will be able to crack into BigLaw. Its just that not as many will make it as those at T1s.

Good luck on exams!

TDJD84

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #74 on: November 29, 2006, 05:26:08 PM »
DOCLAW, what city do you go to school in? And how did you manage to get a job?  ANy advice?  Does anyone know if it is possible to get a federal clerkship coming from a t2, do most federal judges (like some firms) simply only take canidates from certain schools?

UChi2L

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #75 on: November 29, 2006, 05:29:52 PM »
This thread is funny.  Some of the posters give the impression that you MUST go to a T1 to have a real chance in BIGLAW.

It is absolutely not the end of the "biglaw world" to go to a low-ranked school.  In fact, I started at a third tier school, got a great biglaw job, and had a great first summer associateship.  I transferred up and I see how easy things are for these kids, all the way through their careers.  Don't forget that things don't magically equalize after you get the offer.  Some firms (and it's hard to identify them ex ante) are highly snotty about pedigree.

Like I said, law school is all about placing yourself in a position to be able to do the things you want.  OP seemed (if I remember correctly) really interested in biglaw.  She also has no grades yet (except for legal writing), and it's hard to know how one will fare after finals.  If you do well at a sub-t50 school, you can get into biglaw.  If you don't, good luck.  This year, nobody in the class beneath me at my old school got a job through OCI, and very few of my 3L friends (set to graduate) have jobs at all.  The average sub-t50 student has not-so-great biglaw prospects.

Again, biglaw is not the be-all, end-all.  Not even close.  But if it's what you want, or what you think you want (which is the point of this whole thread) there are things you can do to make it more likely.
I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah.

Budlaw

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #76 on: November 29, 2006, 08:01:53 PM »
This thread is funny.  Some of the posters give the impression that you MUST go to a T1 to have a real chance in BIGLAW.

It is absolutely not the end of the "biglaw world" to go to a low-ranked school.  In fact, I started at a third tier school, got a great biglaw job, and had a great first summer associateship.  I transferred up and I see how easy things are for these kids, all the way through their careers.  Don't forget that things don't magically equalize after you get the offer.  Some firms (and it's hard to identify them ex ante) are highly snotty about pedigree.

Like I said, law school is all about placing yourself in a position to be able to do the things you want.  OP seemed (if I remember correctly) really interested in biglaw.  She also has no grades yet (except for legal writing), and it's hard to know how one will fare after finals.  If you do well at a sub-t50 school, you can get into biglaw.  If you don't, good luck.  This year, nobody in the class beneath me at my old school got a job through OCI, and very few of my 3L friends (set to graduate) have jobs at all.  The average sub-t50 student has not-so-great biglaw prospects.

Again, biglaw is not the be-all, end-all.  Not even close.  But if it's what you want, or what you think you want (which is the point of this whole thread) there are things you can do to make it more likely.

I've just one issue to take with your otherwise good post. Setting the bar at T50 is way too arbitrary a number. There are plenty of schools within the 50 to 100 range that also give you excellent opportunities to place at biglaw. For example:

Temple, Case, Miami, Villanova, Cincinnati,Cardozo, Brooklyn, DePaul, St. Johns, Houston, Seton Hall, etc...

Also to name a notorious T3: New York Law School.

However, if you notice, all of these schools are in Major Legal Markets. That's the big difference. If you're in a T2 at an out-of the way place, that's when you'll run into trouble finding a Biglaw job, and you'll have to hustle a little more if you don't do very well in law school.

So really, it's not that you must go to a T1 to get a Biglaw job, it's that if you don't go to a T1, then you need to go to a T2 in a major market or do well at an out of the way school to get a job at Biglaw.

That being noted, I'd venture to say that if you don't do well at some of the out of the way schools in the lower end of T1, like UGA, Alabama, Florida, Colorodo, etc., you're not going to get a Biglaw job either.

RedNBlack

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #77 on: November 29, 2006, 09:40:57 PM »
Sorry, I just have to respond to your comment noting that UGA is "out of the way." UGA places the most law students in biglaw in Atlanta than any other law school, and I don't think its close. Nearly every one of my friends in the top 1/3 had a good shot at big law and either got an offer, or at least had multiple shots at it. If you aren't in the top 1/3 - 1/2 at any schools outside of the top 15, you likely aren't going biglaw. So the point: UGA is a bad example of a school that doesn't place well in biglaw, and while it is an hour from ATL, it certainly isn't "out of the way" in terms of getting a job.

UChi2L

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #78 on: November 29, 2006, 09:45:25 PM »
Top 10, 14, 15, 50 is arbitrary, Top 100 is arbitrary, third tier, fourth tier ... it's all arbitrary because US News rankings are full of garbage and give too much weight to unimportant factors (e.g. Kent moved up 40 spots in the rankings after it moved to a new building when it made no changes in its faculty, their publication rates, graduation rates, incoming student stats, etc.  This is proof not that Kent is "not as good as its ranking" but that there are a number of great schools languishing in the unranked third- and fourth tiers because of stupid factors that are totally insignificant to the quality of their grads.

There are great schools in the lower tiers and there are great lawyers from every school (there are also a lot of terrible lawyers who graduate from great schools).  Re: Cardozo, DePaul, 'Nova, and Brooklyn (the only schools on your list that I really know anything about), you have to be -- like I mentioned in a previous post -- at the very top of your class to get a screening interview.  Kids from those schools absolutely get biglaw jobs, but (again) the opportunities are less plentiful.  The general rule as to the quality of students when you move up from the third and fourth tiers to the top 100 (which I've heard from a number of biglaw partners throughout the interviewing process) is that you (generally) lop off the bottom third of the student body, and things are equivalent as you move up.  Kids in the top of the class at any fourth tier school could hang at any top 10 law school, no doubt, and everyone (law students, partners, associates, etc.) knows that.  That's part of the reason why law school students are snotty to transfers: they pose a major threat to other students' grades regardless of where they started out.  There are kids I go to school with would sink like stones at fourth tier schools, so some of it depends on how you learn and what kind of focus you can handle (theoretical vs practical).

As for whether the firm is confident enough in its lawyers and its reputation to take students from lower-ranked schools, that's something you have to find out on an individualized basis.  I was lucky enough find a firm that hired me out of my old school, but the difference in how they treat me post-transfer is really sad ... so it's hard for me to believe that the hiring process really is the end of the story.  It sucks, it's a miserable system, but it is how things work at some biglaw firms.
I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah.

UChi2L

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Re: How important is the name really?
« Reply #79 on: November 29, 2006, 09:47:03 PM »
If you aren't in the top 1/3 - 1/2 at any schools outside of the top 15, you likely aren't going biglaw.

Simply not true.
I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah.