Law School Discussion

Need some clarification

Need some clarification
« on: June 19, 2007, 06:01:51 PM »
I’ve read lot’s of the posts and get the picture that going to a top law school affords students greater advantages because top firms are willing to recruit from deeper in the class.  But I’ve searched several of the top firms in my area and they all have at least a few graduates of regional schools (many of the not so well regarded regional schools even). 

I constantly hear people on the board talk about the greater “opportunities” that top law school graduates have, but I’m curious what that means exactly.  Once a HYSCCN type gets his/her first job is it all about performance? And if so does that mean that just about every school gives at least some of its students the same “opportunities” (as far as firm jobs are concerned), and that the only factor that varies is the percentage of a school’s students that receive them?  Or does a top degree open doors closed to others throughout one’s legal career?    Thanks for the clarification.

PS I realize that many of the people on this board are law students/future law students, but I’d welcome your wild speculation as well.     

Re: Need some clarification
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2007, 10:20:54 PM »
A lot of what people are talking about when they talk about recruiting is the ability to get into biglaw firms while in school. Generally, that means a summer associateship the summer after 2L. These summer positions tend to turn into full-time post-grad offers. If a student doesn't get one of these positions, it's tough to start off in a biglaw firm.

It's not impossible to ever get into biglaw, though. Generally after a couple years, once people have some experience, they can also have an opportunity to lateral into biglaw.

Another place where higher-rated schools give more opportunities is to get clerkships with federal judges. Some people in these clerkships already have an associateship set up, but that gets deferred for a year and, often, the former-clerk gets a bonus for coming to the firm. Similarly, clerks who don't have something set up can get the opportunity to lateral in at the end of the clerkship.

So, it's not impossible to get into biglaw as a lateral. It's not impossible to get a summer associateship. It's just a lot steeper hill.