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Burning Sands, Esq.:

--- Quote from: Maintain FL 350 on June 02, 2014, 11:02:08 AM ---I knew so many people who went to college with me in LA, then went to law school in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Washington because they simply chose the school with the highest USNWR rank. They quickly found out upon returning to LA that local students had a distinct advantage in terms of connections and employment, and that nobody really cares that you went to the #42 school instead of the #53 school. At that level, alumni connections and location are far, far more important.

--- End quote ---

Leaving a major legal market to gain a few measly points in school rank is a huge mistake and, as you mentioned, shows a complete misunderstanding of how legal employers interpret school rankings.  Connections are paramount to everything, even school ranking.  One (1) good connection can outweigh school rank, class rank, law review, moot court, student leadership groups, etc.  So my advice to any 0L's or current law students reading this, if you're at the #60 or 70-something law school (whatever that is) located in the market where you'd like to practice and you're obsessing over transferring to another school to gain a few points in class rank then you're missing the point.  Save yourself a lot of time, money and energy and focus your obsession on the number of solid connections you can make in your legal market.  You'll thank me later.

Burning Sands, Esq.:

--- Quote from: Citylaw on June 02, 2014, 05:54:21 PM ---That is a great summary and it really is unfortunate how many people fail to use common sense when choosing a law school. When your in 0L or law school bubble it seems so important, but the reality is real lawyers are not paying attention to the rankings they have staffing needs etc. The majority of firms can only afford to recruit locally the San Diego D.A.'s Office is going to do OCI at the San Diego Law Schools and maybe L.A. ones. There is no way they are going to do OCI at Iowa, Kansas, or Idaho even if those schools are far higher ranked than Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.

--- End quote ---

Exactly right. 

I practice Biglaw in New York, which is a ridiculously competitive legal market.  The big firms here pull heavily from the so-called "T 14" which I'd estimate make up around 60 to 70% of all associates at any given NY firm.  The other 30 to 40% of associates come from the NYC area law schools (Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, etc.).  It is rare -- and I do mean rare -- to run across an associate from a quote unquote "high ranked" school geographically located outside of the NYC area.  There are several reasons for this which primarily boil down to (i) local connections; (ii) regional reputation; and (iii) convenient geography for OCI.


Exactly and I also think it has to do with realities. I work for a government agency in just outside of San Francisco and if when we see an out of state resume we think it is really worth the time and energy to interview and offer this person a job when they may have thoughts about actually moving.

I believe a lot of like to say they want to move across country etc, but when it becomes real people often get cold feet. In addition to that government budgets are tight and we are not going to pay for travel and lodging for someone from Michigan State and a Michigan State law student is unlikely to have $2,000 on them to fly into San Francisco and pay for a hotel for a few days.

Geography is just such an important factor in the real world, but in the law school bubble people get lost and I was guilty of it myself as 0L, but thankfully practicing lawyers explained it to be before I made a horrible decision.


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