I have a question that may seem stupid, but I really don't understand.
Everyone on this site talks about NYC, LA, DC, Chicago, Boston, etc. as the big legal markets where "people make the most money" and where people need to work to pay off their debts from law school. I undertand that BigLaw starting salaries in these cities are around $160,000/year.
But if you worked in Miami, Houston, Atlanta, or another mid-range market making $140,000/year, wouldn't that actually be more disposable income takin into account that living costs are extremely high in NYC, DC, Cali, etc.?
So for money, wouldn't you actually want the highest paying firm in a secondary market? Maybe this reasoning is totally wrong. Please help me figure out why every law student seems to want to work in NYC or DC upon graduation and how this affects law school choice.
Because these cities are much more exciting to live in? It all boils down to preference, but I moved down to Florida from Chicago and the cities down here just don't compare, whether it's Tampa, Orlando or Miami. There's just not as many neighborhoods filled with young, highly-educated people that have unique and/or interesting bars, clubs, architecture, parks, etc. Downtown Orlando is okay, Ybor is awesome, Soho is good, Downtown St. Pete is decent, South Beach is awesome, I haven't been to Brickell yet, but I hear it good things, etc. But Chicago in and of itself has twice as many of these kinds of action-packed, young, educated nieghborhoods than the entire state of Florida. Wicker Park/Bucktown, Ukrainian Village, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Old Town, Boys Town (if you're a gay male), Andersonville (if you're a gay female), the Weed Street area, the Gold Coast, plus a lot of other areas that are just as awesome for slightly older folks. The local music scene in Chicago is far better, and the public transportation is truly awesome. You really don't even need to own a car. I've only been to NYC once, but it seems just like Chicago, only twice as much of the above. Florida's cities just aren't as cool (and neither is Atlanta, for that matter). They're planned in a haphazard, sprawling manner, the public transportation absolutely sucks, the schools are not as good, the upper-middle class are secluded in boring gated communities, there's little to no mixed zoning, there's a ton of old people and retirees, there's an unusual amount of toll roads, there's still a lot of rednecks, etc.
There's two things down here that are better: lower taxes and the beaches, and if you live down here the whole year, the weather is overrated. Yes, it is relatively better November through February and awesome March through May, but try living through 135 consecutive 95 degree, 75% humidity days from June to Mid-October. It's not all that much better than a Midwestern winter, especially after you take a look at your A/C bill.
Anyway, that's just my opinion. As a single, well-educated, still kind of young male, I'm simply looking for a different atmosphere in which to live. If I was married and planned to start a family, markets outside SF, NYC and Chicago would probably interest me less (although not much less). I could see how some people who aren't interested in being socialites could differ dramatically, but I think my type are the kind most likely to want to go to law school.