Law School Discussion

Rankings v Initiative

Rankings v Initiative
« on: September 10, 2008, 12:58:36 AM »
So what are your opinions on the impact of rankings versus your own initiative/personal networking in associate/post grad jobs?

Now, I'm not implying that tier 4 can be competitive with a tier 1 candidate or anything crazy like that.. but say a one or maybe 2 ( tier 2/3 or tier 4/2) tier difference. Also,not referring to "Big Law" either. Smaller firms, gov't, public interest type work.

I am just reflecting on my personal experiences in undergrad... that in undergrad where you went to college isn't a huge concern about getting a job compared to the more important issues of experience, individual initiative,etc. Example, I've had pretty good political jobs/internships and I'm not at an Ivy college or anything like that.. just a regional university and take initiative to be involved in the community and relevant organizations... I would imagine this might continue into law school.

say you get into a lower tier school in a more desirable location than a higher tiered school somewhere else.. or something like that.


Re: Rankings v Initiative
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 12:51:55 PM »
^ specifically related to tier 2,& 3 school differences not talking about extremes.. I'm not going to a top 25 or bottom 25 school so midrange schools. Keep this in mind.

Re: Rankings v Initiative
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2008, 01:16:58 AM »
My general view is that outside the top 14-25 schools, it's really all about location. In other words, if you don't get into a "top" (not top-tier) program, you should just go to the best possible school in your desired region.  This is because most schools are in fact relatively regional in terms of placement and reputation, and a solid 2nd tier (or even 3rd tier) school may place as well (or better) in that region as a more distant first-tier school. 

And the reason for that, as you imply, is that local connections, networking, etc., all become more important outside of the top schools, especially for non-biglaw jobs.

Re: Rankings v Initiative
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 04:08:57 PM »
I'm somewhat of a contrarian on this matter. I think the common factor among nearly all associates at the most prestigious firms is academic achievement. Most come from top schools, but those that don't did well at whatever school they attended. So, study hard and get good grades. I think the government typically cares about grades and extracurricular activities, in addition to other key factors in your resume (previous work experience, mostly). Big Law doesn't want to hire someone who is unlikely to pass the bar, so I think they tend to focus on the grads from the top schools because they can tout their resumes to their clients and because there is little risk that those grads won't pass the bar. For government, you will almost certainly need to be a licensed attorney with relevant experience and good grades. The school you come from is probably less relevant than what you have done while you were there. I'm sure plenty of posters will disagree with me on this. I am also positive that the importance of the school you attend will greatly differ from agency to agency.

As far as networking and local connections go, many jobs are filled by word of mouth and recommendations from associates and colleagues. Developing networking skills is a must for all professionals. Don't make this an either/or proposition. Learn sound networking skills AND go to a good school. That is your best bet. If you can't get into a great school, do well at the one you choose and network your a$$ off either way.


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Re: Rankings v Initiative
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 09:53:26 AM »
Differences between lower tier one and two, two and three, three and four are not that significant. So yes, personal drive/ability is far more importaint.

Once you get past top programs, it's all about the regional market. BTW, I think there was a thread with that exact title a few months ago.
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