DC from non-T14?

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comstoc

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DC from non-T14?

Postby comstoc » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:39 pm

School: Tier 1 state flagship in the 25-40 range (think Alabama, OSU, UGA, UW, etc)
Me: 4.0 GPA (ranked #3 in the 1L class after the first semester), interning with District Court judge (same state as school) for 1L summer, CALI'd legal research/writing but none of the doctrinals
Ties to DC: None, really. I want to go there because A.) I'd really like to do regulatory work and B.) my husband needs to go there to progress in his career.
Possible detriments (besides the school): I'm in my 30s with kids, no particularly relevant work experience, not particularly awkward as law students go but not likely to wow anybody with my social skills either (although I've been told by several people that I interview well).

Questions:
How impossible is it to get DC biglaw from a non-T14 school?
What level of firms should I be targeting? Do I have a shot at the higher-end firms (assuming I maintain my grades and make law review), or does my school rule that right out?
When should I start mass-mailing if I'm trying to get a 2L SA position (since very few DC firms come to OCI at my firm)? Same time as applying to firms for OCI here? Earlier to try to get a head-start?

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby 2013 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:43 pm

I heard the place is terrible, but Cadwalader regularly takes non-T14.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby sparkytrainer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:32 pm

2013 wrote:I heard the place is terrible, but Cadwalader regularly takes non-T14.


Cad does not have a DC summer program anymore. It was canceled 2 years ago.

OP, if you want DC, you need to work in DC this summer and network your ass off and get callbacks lined up before OCI. The overwhelming amount of SA's in DC are decided before OCI. Because DC has such a small summer class size compared to NY, Chicago, LA, SF, and now Texas, it is extremely competitive and it happens extremely early. I am not being facetious when saying you need to do callbacks and get offers before OCI if you want DC. If you dont, you do not have a prayer.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:43 pm

What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...

sparkytrainer

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby sparkytrainer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...


80% or more of all offers in dc will be out before OCI begins

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:40 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...


80% or more of all offers in dc will be out before OCI begins

Where are you getting these stats from? I've never heard this about dc

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby sparkytrainer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...


80% or more of all offers in dc will be out before OCI begins

Where are you getting these stats from? I've never heard this about dc


From my t13. I went through this two years ago. My only offers from DC offices were offers I got before OCI. Same with my friends. This year, I heard it was even worse. If you didn't get a pre-oci offer for DC, you didn't get one at OCI unless you had an interview with W&C.

Seriously I am not making this up to scare anyone. Its the truth. DC has a smaller summer class than all the other primary markets by a significant margin. On top of that biglaw summer associateship positions are down 25% across the board.

It is REALLY REALLY hard getting DC. Most of the t13 kids want DC, then you have to fight with the DC schools (which has too many law students as it is) and then everyone else wanting DC.

Truthfully, unless you are top 1-2% from a DC non-t13 (i.e. GW) or you did very well at your t13, your chances of getting DC biglaw are almost zero. Not to be mean, but its the truth. DC has less summer associateship jobs than Harvard has in any law class. Think about that.

If you want DC, you better work in DC this summer, network your ass off (like I mean coffee with people in the am, lunches with people, and going to all the firm receptions), and even then OP's chances are pretty poor.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:48 pm

Sparkytrainer isn't wrong: the DC market is hard to break into from an out-of-state non-T14 school. However, it is not impossible. I went to a similar school as you (25-40); a handful of my graduating class got DC BigLaw 2L summer associate positions. Most had at least some connection to the region (family, family friend) but not all.

If you aren't working there over the 1L summer, it will be tougher. But apply broadly (very broadly); indicate your interest in DC (reasons stated above make sense); the earlier you send the applications the better, for reasons Sparkytrainer suggested; and any connections you have, use them (including talking to alumni from your school in the area, even if you don't know them). To directly answer your question, the top tier firms aren't automatically closed off for the #3 student at a school like yours. But chances remain low so casting a wide net rather than being super picky is my recommendation. (FWIW, I was similarly ranked at similar school; applied more selectively than I should have; and struck out.) Also, if you happen to get any bites, tell other firms that you will be in town -- they may invite you in for at least a screener, and a foot in the door is better than nothing.

Final piece of advice: if you strike out for 2L gigs but are dead set on DC, the other route to get there is post-clerkship hiring. That's a whole other ballgame so I'll leave it at that, but it's how I ended up at DC BigLaw w/o summering here. If interested in chatting more I can PM.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:43 am

I went to a shitty law school far away from DC and I landed tons of DC biglaw offers. I think this place loves clerks more than any other city.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:05 am

Oh wow. The lure of DC...

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:09 pm

I think some of this is hyperbolic. I know lots of people from my CCN who got DC (mostly top third, though; below that, OCS told us to focus on NYC and our home market).

I'd look at firms that have huge summer classes (Covington has like 60 SAs, so does Hogan Lovells). Firms like Boises or Davis Polk have <5 so I'd apply to them last. Focus on getting good grades this semester and LR because some firms (W&C de facto require it).

There aren't THAT many DC firms, so I'd start in your preferred area (corp or lit) and start with the biggest classes and work your way down. If you're #1 or something at Alabama, all it takes is one firm to say yes. The marginal cost of applying to W&C, Covington, Gibson Dunn before OCI is so low that it can't hurt. My advice would be to start in early-mid July (after LR comes out) and apply to like 20 firms a day for 10 days (if there are even that many firms) and see how it goes.

Source: top 3% at CCN; 25 interviews in DC->16 call backs->8 offers (none before OCI).

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think some of this is hyperbolic. I know lots of people from my CCN who got DC (mostly top third, though; below that, OCS told us to focus on NYC and our home market).

I'd look at firms that have huge summer classes (Covington has like 60 SAs, so does Hogan Lovells). Firms like Boises or Davis Polk have <5 so I'd apply to them last. Focus on getting good grades this semester and LR because some firms (W&C de facto require it).

There aren't THAT many DC firms, so I'd start in your preferred area (corp or lit) and start with the biggest classes and work your way down. If you're #1 or something at Alabama, all it takes is one firm to say yes. The marginal cost of applying to W&C, Covington, Gibson Dunn before OCI is so low that it can't hurt. My advice would be to start in early-mid July (after LR comes out) and apply to like 20 firms a day for 10 days (if there are even that many firms) and see how it goes.

Source: top 3% at CCN; 25 interviews in DC->16 call backs->8 offers (none before OCI).


You are the exact person that has a great success story, but does nothing for OP. Top 3% at CCN is in no way comparable to OP. The top 10% or so of the t13 can get DC if they want fairly easily, especially as you go up in the rankings. You would get DC offers from OCI because you fall in that group of people who don't need to do pre-oci.

OP does. OP, you need to work in DC. See if you can still find a summer gig there. Then you need to network asap. And start sending out apps the day you get your grades. Listen to this CCN person if you want, but you will not get a DC offer following that advice.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:30 pm

Personal experience: totally feasible with those stats. But you’ll have to hustle. I was top 3-5% in a school below T25 that is not located on the east coast and was able to get a 2L summer in DC with a V20 with a decent sized summer class. I did not have super strong connections to DC.

Send lots of applications, be willing to play up (but don’t lie) your connections/interest in DC. Let me know if you want more details via PM.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Mockingbird42 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:05 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...


80% or more of all offers in dc will be out before OCI begins


This is entirely hyperbolic. At my T14, I knew no one who got summer offers for DC (I do know plenty who got NYC offers). I myself was only top 1/3rd and got more than a handful of offers through OCI, including with my two top choice firms. Of course this is anecdotal, but certainly enough to counter the idea that "80%," or even the majority, is taken through summer offers.

DC has a reputation for being tough for two reasons:
(1) Because the class sizes are so small, getting a position is less formulaic (i.e. all students above median at X school get an offer) and much more about luck, hustle, and fit.
(2) In their balancing formula between grades and school prestige, DC weights grades much higher NYC. Therefore, someone who is bottom half of CCN can still get multiple offers in NYC, but none in DC.

This is good news for OP. Having a top 5 rank (not just %) at a T1 means that DC is certainly open, even if its not guaranteed. I second those who suggest internships in DC for the summer. I'm not sure there is a need to push for a summer offer, but having the opportunity to build up a network is a great idea. Personal connection I found were less important than demonstrated interest in the certain areas of DC-specific law. If you already have an area in mind, see if your local Bar has events with practitioners in that area. Reach out to alumni for informational interviews. Ask your informational interviewer for recommendations for other people you could talk to. Remember, "hustle" is much more than sending out hundreds of form applications -- you need to actually talk to people.

Good luck!

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Mockingbird42 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:10 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the percentage of Pre OCI hiring in DC firms/offices? I've asked some firms in DC and they said they don't have Pre OCI interviews...


80% or more of all offers in dc will be out before OCI begins


This is entirely hyperbolic. At my T14, I knew no one who got summer offers for DC (I do know plenty who got NYC offers). I myself was only top 1/3rd and got more than a handful of offers through OCI, including with my two top choice firms. Of course this is anecdotal, but certainly enough to counter the idea that "80%," or even the majority, is taken through summer offers.

DC has a reputation for being tough for two reasons:
(1) Because the class sizes are so small, getting a position is less formulaic (i.e. all students above median at X school get an offer) and much more about luck, hustle, and fit.
(2) In their balancing formula between grades and school prestige, DC weights grades much higher NYC. Therefore, someone who is bottom half of CCN can still get multiple offers in NYC, but none in DC.

This is good news for OP. Having a top 5 rank (not just %) at a T1 means that DC is certainly open, even if its not guaranteed. I second those who suggest internships in DC for the summer. I'm not sure there is a need to push for a summer offer, but having the opportunity to build up a network is a great idea. Personal connection I found were less important than demonstrated interest in the certain areas of DC-specific law. If you already have an area in mind, see if your local Bar has events with practitioners in that area. Reach out to alumni for informational interviews. Ask your informational interviewer for recommendations for other people you could talk to. Remember, "hustle" is much more than sending out hundreds of form applications -- you need to actually talk to people.

Good luck!

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:20 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think some of this is hyperbolic. I know lots of people from my CCN who got DC (mostly top third, though; below that, OCS told us to focus on NYC and our home market).

I'd look at firms that have huge summer classes (Covington has like 60 SAs, so does Hogan Lovells). Firms like Boises or Davis Polk have <5 so I'd apply to them last. Focus on getting good grades this semester and LR because some firms (W&C de facto require it).

There aren't THAT many DC firms, so I'd start in your preferred area (corp or lit) and start with the biggest classes and work your way down. If you're #1 or something at Alabama, all it takes is one firm to say yes. The marginal cost of applying to W&C, Covington, Gibson Dunn before OCI is so low that it can't hurt. My advice would be to start in early-mid July (after LR comes out) and apply to like 20 firms a day for 10 days (if there are even that many firms) and see how it goes.

Source: top 3% at CCN; 25 interviews in DC->16 call backs->8 offers (none before OCI).


You are the exact person that has a great success story, but does nothing for OP. Top 3% at CCN is in no way comparable to OP. The top 10% or so of the t13 can get DC if they want fairly easily, especially as you go up in the rankings. You would get DC offers from OCI because you fall in that group of people who don't need to do pre-oci.

OP does. OP, you need to work in DC. See if you can still find a summer gig there. Then you need to network asap. And start sending out apps the day you get your grades. Listen to this CCN person if you want, but you will not get a DC offer following that advice.


Anon from above

Just to be clear, here is my advice:

Step 1: Get great spring grades and LR (easier said than done)
Step 2: In early-mid July (after LR comes out), start applying to 20 law firms per day, starting with the firms with the largest summer classes.
Step 3: Continuing applying to 20 firms per day until you either (a) have an offer you really like or (b) run out of firms that you'd work for under any circumstance. In only two weeks, you'll have applied to 240 firms (who knows if there are even that many firms in DC)

My advice was not intended for you to wait until OCI, but rather to controvert the idea that "80%" of DC offers are out before OCI.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby comstoc » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:59 pm

Thank you all for the advice. For those who said I should try to intern in DC this summer, that's unfortunately not possible. Even if I hadn't already accepted the judicial internship here, I've got a family situation going on here this summer that won't allow me to be away for more than a week or so at a time. I have contacted career services to get a list of alumni in DC, though, so I'll be reaching out to them for advice and can hopefully set up some informational interviews that way and maybe get some leads.

As far as mass-mailing goes, it seems like the consensus is that early is better. I'd personally sooner be ready to send off applications as soon as I get my spring grades rather than wait until law review results are out. Would it be a good idea to then use making law review (assuming, of course, that I make it) as an excuse to contact the firms again later in the summer?

Question for mockingbird42 (or anyone, really):

Personal connection I found were less important than demonstrated interest in the certain areas of DC-specific law.

Any recommendations for how a 1L can demonstrate interest in regulatory stuff? I'm taking a class in it as an elective right now, and I'll be a research assistant for a professor who specializes in the subject next year, but that obviously won't be until after the 2L hiring process is done and this is all moot.

And to the Anons who offered to PM - I'd love to! The more information the better.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Mockingbird42 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:43 pm

Personal connection I found were less important than demonstrated interest in the certain areas of DC-specific law.


By this I mean that personal connections to the city (like your stepdad lives there) are less important. Personal connections to lawyers at firms will always be the most powerful thing.

When showing "demonstrated interest" the idea is twofold - (1) you know what the actual work entails and you enjoy it and (2) the firm won't need to start from scratch when training you.

Things that work to help get you an interview - undergrad thesis or published work, notes for law review, RAing for professors, informational interviews, meeting people at networking events for interest area, organizing events for related law school organizations, some interest areas have mock trials, externships, anything else that can go on a resume.

Things that are helpful in an interview - all the above, reading legal blogs on your area of interest, carefully namedropping people you have had informational interviews with

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:45 am

Going to DC this summer as a 2L, focused entirely on DC and did a ton of research.

1. The idea that 80% of all DC offers go out pre-OCI is absurd. The majority of firms I researched last summer - which is to say, the majority of firms in DC - did not do pre-OCI interviews unless they weren't coming to your OCI. If my career services office was right, this is a relatively new phenomenon so that might be why there's some controversy about it in this thread. I found this information both on websites and in personal responses to queries - and if someone was to get a pre-OCI interview I would've been that person (top 5 at a T10, from DC, ended up w/ several offers). I did two pre-OCI interviews, got one conditional offer. A larger than usual number of my classmates are going to DC (as opposed to NYC) this year, and I know for a fact that none of them got offers pre-OCI.

2. The best thing you're going to be able to do is find a partner who went to your school and email them. This is another thing I noticed about DC biglaw - a higher percentage of the partners at these firms than you would expect did not go to T14 law schools. I have a friend who went to a tiny college in Indiana that got an offer in DC because a partner at a DC firm went to that school.

2b. I have the impression that some DC firms really like getting top ranked students from state university law schools. Builds into the whole idea of whatever DC is.

2c. The list of alumni in DC is going to be your best friend. When you start applying to firms, if you've managed to have a conversation with the person, CC or BCC them on the email to the recruiting email when you send it in. It's also likely they'll ask you to just send it to them anyway. Mention in your cover letter you're especially interested in the firm after talking to X.

3. You've already had kids, firms are going to love you. Parents are responsible. Firms like people who are responsible. I wouldn't like shoehorn that fact into interviews but I don't know that you should try to hide it.

4. Taking an elective in regulatory law is great. A lot of the T14 doesn't offer electives to first-years, so you've already got a leg-up in terms of whatever that interest buys you. (Not all firms in DC actually do a ton of regulatory work so, you know, be smart about it.)

5. You can put your future RA position on your resume to demonstrate further interest. It also looks good.

6. I agree with basically all of the advice above. 20 firms a day might be overboard but I might be a little sunny about your chances. Emphasizing: play up interest in DC. If it's true, tell them you're only looking in DC. Have more answers than just "my husband needs to go there" because the interviewer is going to think: what if his situation changes two years from now, do we lose this person? It's a great city to raise a family in, great schools and tons of culture. etc.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:03 am

comstoc wrote:School: Tier 1 state flagship in the 25-40 range (think Alabama, OSU, UGA, UW, etc)
Me: 4.0 GPA (ranked #3 in the 1L class after the first semester), interning with District Court judge (same state as school) for 1L summer, CALI'd legal research/writing but none of the doctrinals
Ties to DC: None, really. I want to go there because A.) I'd really like to do regulatory work and B.) my husband needs to go there to progress in his career.
Possible detriments (besides the school): I'm in my 30s with kids, no particularly relevant work experience, not particularly awkward as law students go but not likely to wow anybody with my social skills either (although I've been told by several people that I interview well).

Questions:
How impossible is it to get DC biglaw from a non-T14 school?
What level of firms should I be targeting? Do I have a shot at the higher-end firms (assuming I maintain my grades and make law review), or does my school rule that right out?
When should I start mass-mailing if I'm trying to get a 2L SA position (since very few DC firms come to OCI at my firm)? Same time as applying to firms for OCI here? Earlier to try to get a head-start?


The most anecdotal of anecdotes: I matched with a cute girl on Tinder who was at Jones Day DC from one of the schools you mentioned. So it's happened successfully at least once.

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
comstoc wrote:School: Tier 1 state flagship in the 25-40 range (think Alabama, OSU, UGA, UW, etc)
Me: 4.0 GPA (ranked #3 in the 1L class after the first semester), interning with District Court judge (same state as school) for 1L summer, CALI'd legal research/writing but none of the doctrinals
Ties to DC: None, really. I want to go there because A.) I'd really like to do regulatory work and B.) my husband needs to go there to progress in his career.
Possible detriments (besides the school): I'm in my 30s with kids, no particularly relevant work experience, not particularly awkward as law students go but not likely to wow anybody with my social skills either (although I've been told by several people that I interview well).

Questions:
How impossible is it to get DC biglaw from a non-T14 school?
What level of firms should I be targeting? Do I have a shot at the higher-end firms (assuming I maintain my grades and make law review), or does my school rule that right out?
When should I start mass-mailing if I'm trying to get a 2L SA position (since very few DC firms come to OCI at my firm)? Same time as applying to firms for OCI here? Earlier to try to get a head-start?


The most anecdotal of anecdotes: I matched with a cute girl on Tinder who was at Jones Day DC from one of the schools you mentioned. So it's happened successfully at least once.


how did things work out ?

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Re: DC from non-T14?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:36 pm

She was a great conversationalist but I was about to move home to chicago, so we never met. C’est la vie.

Very mundane story. Haha



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