Lawyers are obsessed with rankings. When the new U.S. News law school rankings come out each year, our readers swarm around them like sharks who smell blood in the water.

And with good reason. Where you went to school matters in this profession. In our series of open threads about the rankings, Elie commented in the posts on the third tier and fourth tier schools that only a lucky few of their graduates would be able to score jobs that pay the big bucks.

So how good exactly do you have to be to appeal to employers?

Shell Oil is currently advertising for an in-house position. Shell is willing to accept applications for graduates from all four tiers — unlike U.S. News, Shell recognizes and defines the “Tier II” schools (#51-#100) — but the lower down your school is on the U.S. News rankings, the closer to the top of your class you have to be.

So exactly what rank do you have to be to qualify for a BigOil law job?

Shell is looking for a senior legal counsel with 10 years of practice under his or her belt. According to Shell, a Tier IV grad in the top 5 percent is as good as a Tier I grad in the top 40 percent. We’ve reformatted slightly for ease of comparison:

To be considered for this position, a candidate graduating from:

  • a tier I law school (rated as being in the top 50 law schools nationally), must have graduated in the top 40%;
  • tier II law schools (51-100) must have graduated in the top 25%;
  • tier III school must have graduated in the top 10%;
  • and a tier IV school must have graduated in the top 5%.

Full ad below. Says the job hunter who came across this:

I wouldn’t expect a company to be so arrogant in a job listing.

Well, Shell – U.S. is based in Texas, after all.

Besides, who determines the Tiers? Are we looking at 2000 when the candidate graduated or now? And, if you really want to be elitist, the truly top tier schools don’t provide ranks.

True. But while the top schools don’t have ranks, graduating with honors essentially provides the same information.

So… T1-40% = T2-25% = T3-10% = T4-5%. Now, law students in the respective tiers know what to gun for.

Shell Senior Legal Counsel Advertisement [GoInHouse.com]

Earlier: Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (The Third Tier)
Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (Fourth Tier)

FULL ADVERTISEMENT

Senior Legal Counsel (Posted May 19)
Shell Oil Company, Houston, TX

This attorney would be a member of the Trading Gas and Power Group and would provide legal support and advice to Shell Trading in the U.S. concerning (1) natural gas trading contracts, energy services agreements and structured transactions and related transportation, storage and regulatory matters and (2) environmental products (trading NOx,Sox,RECs and landfill/dairy digester gas transactions ). Major customer segments for trading and origination include utilities, marketers, commercial and industrial end use customers and power generating facilities. In addition to providing representation on trading contractual matters,this attorney would be responsible for monitoring changes in market terms and updating contract provisions and negotiating and reviewing confidentiality agreements,guaranties,consulting agreements and other similar agreements related to the trading business.

Familiarity with industry standard gas trading contracts and FERC Order 712 important. Familiarity with California CEC requirements,state renewable portfolio standards,WREGIS and Green E helpful. FERC experience with respect to natural gas pipeline matters,rules and policies important. Understanding of transportation and gas storage basics required. Understanding of basic credit and security matters helpful.

Requirements:

• Must have legal authorization to work in the US on a full-time basis for anyone other than current employer
• To be considered for this position, a candidate graduating from: a tier I law school (rated as being in the top 50 law schools nationally), must have graduated in the top 40%; tier II law schools (51-100) must have graduated in the top 25%; tier III school must have graduated in the top 10%; and a tier IV school must have graduated in the top 5%
• Must be licensed to practice law in the state of Texas (or able to obtain license in six to nine months)
• Minimum ten years experience as a practicing attorney
• Minimum two years experience in handling matters involving FERC regulations concerning transportation, storage and related matters.
• Experience with structured transactions preferred


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