For those of you who, like me, want to return to the West Coast after law school, it is often difficult to find helpful resources. As I have found during my time at NYU Law, returning to California requires you to be far more proactive than staying in New York. When I asked the office responsible for advising on pro bono requirements about the California Bar requirements, they told me they were not familiar (FYI, as far as I could find, there is no requirement). To make this NYU Law-California job process easier for students in the future, I have collaborated on this blog post with OCS Director Wendy Siegel, who handles the West Coast and is always so generous about enlightening students on how to succeed in the job search.
Main OCS takeaways (with my input):
1. Students should devote the majority of their schedule to California firms; the California market is typically more grade-conscious.
California firms recruit smaller classes (NALP is very helpful to find specific class sizes). I found this to translate to firms looking for the right personality fit. Some firms had grade cut-offs, but ignoring those few, most firms seemed more concerned with finding students who gelled with their culture.
2. Do not let #1 discourage you! Students can definitely outperform their numbers, and the statistics you will hear at Strike-a-Match can be misleading. Every student has their own story, so the stats are not one-size-fits-all.
Again, personality and career aspirations are very important! Do not self-select out due to GPA-related fear.
3. The need to network and reach out to alumni is definitely greater for markets outside NYC. Attend NYU Global in Greenberg Lounge (immediately after Strike-a-Match) to meet firm representatives, and feel free to reach out to Wendy in OCS for a list of attendees for the last few years. Also, watch the OCS West Coast Webinar, reach out to West Coast Connection and 3Ls, and be proactive!
NYU alumni in California were extremely responsive when I reached out. Since most West Coast offices do not visit campus before EIW (unlike the New York counterparts’ receptions), speaking to alumni was in many cases the best (or the only) opportunity for me to ascertain the office’s personality. Regarding NYU Global, most of the attendees I met were interviewers when my friends or I interviewed with them during EIW, so making a good impression and staying in touch significantly helps your job search!
4. Articulate your connection to California.
If you do not have familial or personal ties, securing a 1L summer position in California is extremely helpful; it gives you more time for face-to-face networking and signals a commitment to the area.
California hiring and practice trends: what’s hot and what’s not (as of Spring 2018):
• Hot: IP, corporate, litigation, privacy/cybersecurity
• Warm: real estate, employment, banking/finance
• Cold: environmental/energy, bankruptcy, tax, international
Opportunities to secure a California job:
• Early Interview Week: NYU Law’s largest employer-recruiting event for employment in the private sector. This is a three-day interview program. It is possible to have a full schedule of California interviewers (I did).
• Bay Area Diversity Career Fair: I can personally attest to what a great opportunity this is. It was a much more laid-back atmosphere than EIW (perhaps simply because it is hosted in California!), and you are not being compared only to NYU students; schools from all over the country participated. It was a week and a half before EIW, so the busy time started a little earlier for me than for my classmates. But it was essentially a mini-EIW; I felt more prepared for EIW, because BADCF was something of a test run. I ended up accepting an offer from a firm I screened with at BADCF! This year’s event takes place on July 26 and 27; you can find more information here.
• Lavender Law Career Fair: Hosted by the National LGBT Bar Association—generally in August—this event occurs in a different city every year.
• In May 2018, Wendy posted a helpful career video targeted specifically to the California job search, accessible to current students and alumni. The video includes general California preparation tips, which areas are hot or not, strong practice areas (by firm), statistics, a list of NYU alumni on the West Coast, and more!
• I highly recommend that current NYU Law students interested in the West Coast join West Coast Connection’s Facebook group.
• I invite alumni, West Coast firm recruiters/attorneys, and current students to join West Coast Connection’s LinkedIn group.
• If you are interested in a more general NYU Law career guide, I recommend this post.