Sufficient ties for the South?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 313760
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 20, 2018 5:06 pm

I'm a rising 2L brainstorming markets to apply to. As of right now, I will be applying to my law school's market, my secondary home market, and NYC. Was also thinking about DC (not sure if my grades are high enough) and Cali (have some cousins who live in LA, no ties to San Fran).

All other markets seem very ties sensitive though. However, my parents are retiring on the Gulf of Mexico, in an area near Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. Is that a strong enough tie to apply to cities like Houston, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, and/or Tampa Bay? Those are all major markets near where they would be retiring. Even if it isn't that strong of a tie, would it at least not be a waste of time to apply to those cities anyways?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun May 20, 2018 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 313760
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 9:53 am

I can’t speak to Houston or New Orleans, but that will definitely not be enough for the other markets you mentioned. From my experience, ties to the south do not translate to having strong enough ties to those specific markets and your ties are already flimsy. Those cities already have a very limited number of openings and they tend to want to take local people who are likely to stay long term. That being said, if you have spare time it couldn’t hurt to mass mail the big firms in those markets (Holland & Knight in Tampa, Burr Forman in Alabama, Alston & Byrd in Atlanta) but that should happen AFTER you mass mail the major markets. While I have no experience with Houston, I know people who were able to get positions there with no direct ties. From my understanding, if you can sell yourself as someone really interest in energy/oil&gas you have a decent shot.

Anonymous User
Posts: 313760
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 10:26 am

I lived my entire pre-law school life in the area your parents are retiring to and had an overall goal of returning to the South following graduation.

I generally had the most success in Houston/Dallas. Ties (extended family in Texas) were certainly a help but not necessary if you can articulate a reason for wanting to work in the city and meet the firm's other criteria re grades etc. As far as the southern markets are concerned, these two are the easiest to break into. This is in no small part due to the fact that they have the largest classes and are home to national firms' offices so you can apply more broadly.

Atlanta would be your next best bet, although their class sizes are substantially smaller than Houston/Dallas. It can't hurt to massmail, but I would not expect much success here unless you can articulate some specific reason why you want Atlanta in particular. The Atlanta market is pretty ties-sensitive and there are a lot of t-14 Georgia residents looking to come back and top-10% types at Emory/Vandy/UGA.

Birmingham hammered me on ties to Birmingham specifically even though I grew up three hours away, and Bham is the nearest decently sized city to my hometown. I imagine your chances of success there would be extremely low. Unless your significant other was moving there for work or something, you would have a hard time getting your foot in the door.

I have no experience with New Orleans but I believe it would be similar to Birmingham.

Tampa has very little in the way of actual SA positions (CFJB and Idk who else?), so your chances are probably similarly slim here as well. Additionally, remember that you would be competing against Florida residents from T-14 schools trying to return home, and top-10% people at UF/FSU/Miami.

Some of this also depends on where your law school is located. Duke/Vandy is very different than Northwestern or something, for instance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 313760
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2018 3:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Atlanta would be your next best bet, although their class sizes are substantially smaller than Houston/Dallas. It can't hurt to massmail, but I would not expect much success here unless you can articulate some specific reason why you want Atlanta in particular. The Atlanta market is pretty ties-sensitive and there are a lot of t-14 Georgia residents looking to come back and top-10% types at Emory/Vandy/UGA.

Birmingham hammered me on ties to Birmingham specifically even though I grew up three hours away, and Bham is the nearest decently sized city to my hometown. I imagine your chances of success there would be extremely low. Unless your significant other was moving there for work or something, you would have a hard time getting your foot in the door.

...
...

Some of this also depends on where your law school is located. Duke/Vandy is very different than Northwestern or something, for instance.

I had a similar experience to the above. While I cannot speak specifically to Houston/Dallas, Atlanta is certainly ties sensitive and Birmingham is even more so. My family is about 2.5 hrs away from Birmingham and I was grilled about my ties during interviews. I never made it past screeners, even with solid grades.
Atlanta is probably easier than Birmingham purely based on market size, but, as mentioned above, there needs to be some compelling reason you want Atlanta in particular (not Marietta, not Alpharetta, not Roswell, but Atlanta ITP). Having family in Pensacola won't cut it.
You school location really matters for these markets. The Atlanta market is basically Harvard, Yale, UVA, Duke, Vandy, Emory, UGA, then Alabama, UNC, UF, WF, and UT if you have ties. Outside of those schools, there will be a need for a compelling reason why you want Atlanta AND why you didn't go to one of the previously mentioned schools.

Anonymous User
Posts: 313760
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 27, 2018 5:21 pm

Re: Houston, I don't think ties are particularly important there, at least not at big firms (there may be variation though among the big firms). I recently got a job there with no ties whatsoever. I got a lot of questions about whether I wanted to live there or not during interviews. But it was enough to say that I wanted the low COL and relatively sane real estate market compared to DC (where I'd previously worked). At least a few of my interviewers said the Houston is the kind of city where a lot of people are from outside of Texas and the firms are generally ok with that.

ETA: I think the other posters are generally right about other Southern markets. Being close to parents might move the needle a bit, but it isn't very strong at all. If you can talk up low COL, affordable real estate (really want your own backyard w/ a pool kinda thing), that can help too. Some firms are better about this than others. In Birmingham, Bradley Arant is probably the most open to folks w/o strong AL ties. There are firms that do corporate/finance work in Charlotte that will take T14 students with thin/no ties. I suspect the firms in Nashville may be opening up a bit as that city becomes a "cool" place to live. Probably still tough though. I'd think Atlanta wasn't super tough, maybe not quite as open as Houston, but better than Birmingham, etc.

User avatar
Toni V

Bronze
Posts: 385
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:42 am

Re: Sufficient ties for the South?

Postby Toni V » Sun May 27, 2018 9:32 pm

I wholeheartedly agree Atlanta ties carry a significant importance. Every year there is a slew of successful applicants from UGeorgia, Emory, GA State and to some extent Mercer. Then, as noted earlier, Duke, UVA, Vandy, and UTenn applicants are also banging on the doors. Having parents living nearby (ala Macon; Savannah) is very helpful. Just figure out a way to be Southern!!



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.