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After graduating law school, is it true that only some make it to the big firm ?

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Hassan’s Answer

Based on my research the answer is Yes.

According to https://lawschooli.com/best-law-schools-for-biglaw/, large (500+ lawyer) firms pay 3x what small firms do. So the competition for those jobs is going to be tough unless you graduated from a top law school. The article says that 88% of University of Chicago graduates went to a big law firm in 2017 vs 4% from Texas Tech.
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Tonya’s Answer

Yes, only some law school graduates go to a big firm after graduation. Big law firms usually focus their recruiting on the highest-ranked law schools. They do on-campus events and interviews at those schools. The further down the rankings your law school is, the higher grades you will need to compete for big law firm jobs. So if you don't go to a top law school or don't have really high grades, it can be hard to get in the door but not impossible -- you will need to do more networking and outreach to find a job on your own. If you want to go to a big law firm, you will want to try to get a summer job working for them between your second and third year of law school. Not only does that give you a chance to try them out and see if you like them, but it is also the law firms' main way of hiring new law graduates. If you do a good job and they like you, they will give you an offer to work for them once you graduate.

However, a lot of law graduates do not go to big law firms because they don't want to. There are lots of different ways to be a lawyer, and practicing at a big law firm is only one of them. Many law graduates prefer to work in midsize or small law firms, where they can often get more hands-on experience early on in their careers. Also, big law firms don't tend to do certain types of law, like family law, criminal defense (although they sometimes do "white collar defense" for certain types of fraud and financial crimes), immigrations, etc. Other law graduates want to work in public interest, which is a huge category that can span direct legal services to people who can't afford to pay, to lawsuits and policy work for a particular issue (civil rights, environmental protections, racial equity, etc.). Still others go to work for the government as prosecutors, public defenders, legal analysts for Congress, and as lawyers in every agency in the federal and state governments.

After I graduated law school, I went to a big law firm for a short period of time. I got the job through the normal process: The law firm came to campus and participated in our on-campus interviewing program. I got a job working for them the summer between my second and third year of law school, and at the end of the summer they gave me an offer to join the firm when I graduated. I found out it wasn't for me and moved on to the government, and eventually working in-house for a corporation. I do think that having the law firm on my resume helped me with getting those jobs, but it wasn't necessary -- people also get those jobs through other routes.
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Jonathan’s Answer

Yes. Graduates from top law schools and top grads from mid-tier schools generally are the only ones who make it tonight law unless you have a connection. However, big law, to me, only works if you make equity partner. Maybe in any given year 3% if those eligible made out of my old firm made it and there were around 1000 attorneys in the firm. Otherwise, use BigLaw to pay your loans or bank some money. Because if you don’t make the fall for many attorneys is pretty steep.
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