If you aren’t sure which schools are considered to be national, look no further. Here is how it works. The T14 schools are considered to be national. The training you receive in these law schools will be more theoretical in order to train you to practice the law wherever you please. The higher on the US News and World Report rankings your school lies, the more likely you are attending a national school.
What’s the typical path to a biglaw career? Typically, you will be recruited as a summer associate during On Campus Interviewing (OCI) which occurs during the fall of your 2L year. Most biglaw summer associates will be attending a national law school, in the top 10% of their 1L class rankings, and demonstrate malleability and good manners during their interviews. Biglaw hirers are looking for people who understand professional behavior and are willing to learn despite their already proven ability to perform.
The Biglaw firm will evaluate your performance, as well as your ability to learn and follow directions, during your summer gig. At the end of the summer (if your work is satisfactory and the firm is projecting a need for new associates) you will be offered a job with the firm upon successful passage of your bar exam. The current job market does not leave all firms with the ability to hire you even if you give a stellar performance. Some of this comes down to having the luck to land in a firm that plans to hire; but you may not know their hiring capacity until they offer (or don’t offer) you a future position with the firm. So, basically, you may know where you’ll be working before you even start your 3L year if you’re going to wind up in a biglaw firm.
If you aren’t selected into Big Law as a summer associate, don’t despair. There are a few other paths that might work for you. You can repeat the OCI selection process after your 2L year. Also, some Big Law firms are allegedly requiring a lateral transfer from another law firm after you have gained some experience and shown your stuff at that firm.
If you are contemplating a career in Big Law, be very careful in your selection of law schools, have a killer 1L year, don’t be a douche, and hope for some luck when it comes to position availability.
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