What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

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notaznguy
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What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby notaznguy » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:18 pm

For instance, I actually always thought any big city would mean there would be plenty of legal jobs. This is not necessarily the case. I've been told that California, despite being the most populous state, has one of the worst legal markets. I've read, at least on TLS, that San Francisco is the most difficult market to break into and that even Los Angeles has a limited amount of jobs.

So then, are the majority of legal jobs in the East Coast area? Washington DC, Boston, New York?

Can someone explain why California, and especially why SF and LA are shit compared to the rest of the country? People make it sound like Bluefield, Virginia is a better legal market than San Francisco.

mrloblaw
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:23 pm

notaznguy wrote:For instance, I actually always thought any big city would mean there would be plenty of legal jobs. This is not necessarily the case. I've been told that California, despite being the most populous state, has one of the worst legal markets. I've read, at least on TLS, that San Francisco is the most difficult market to break into and that even Los Angeles has a limited amount of jobs.

So then, are the majority of legal jobs in the East Coast area? Washington DC, Boston, New York?

Can someone explain why California, and especially why SF and LA are shit compared to the rest of the country? People make it sound like Bluefield, Virginia is a better legal market than San Francisco.


People clearly have a flair for hyperbole. LA and SF are great gigs for those that have the ties to end up there.

bdubs
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby bdubs » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:33 pm

This should help you get a sense of why New York has the most available big law opportunities

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2491269007

Note that California as a state has less than half of the number of lawyers at NLJ 250 firms as New York City.

Part of the pessimism that you've heard about also has to do with the mix of legal work. New York's financial work hasn't slowed nearly as much as the venture work in Silicon Valley, so the number of new associate hires in SV is down more percentage wise than NY.

Anonymous User
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:45 pm

SF/SV in particular and LA (to a lesser extent) is a much <b>smaller</b> market than most of the East Coast cities (DC/NY). If you want to get a feel for this, take a look at nalpdirectory.com and compare the number of summer positions at firms in California and the number of summer positions at firms in New York. In SF/SV, for example, outside of the handful of native firms (MoFo, Cooley, Fenwick, Wilson) which have sizeable classes, every other firm has anywhere from 2-10 summer associates.

Add that to the fact that you have Stanford, Berkeley, and Hastings and it makes it tougher.

mrloblaw
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:42 pm

bdubs wrote:This should help you get a sense of why New York has the most available big law opportunities

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2491269007

Note that California as a state has less than half of the number of lawyers at NLJ 250 firms as New York City.

Part of the pessimism that you've heard about also has to do with the mix of legal work. New York's financial work hasn't slowed nearly as much as the venture work in Silicon Valley, so the number of new associate hires in SV is down more percentage wise than NY.


Wow. I knew SF and LA were small markets, but I didn't know they were that small. Put them both together, throw in Chicago and Houston, and you're almost up to NYC.

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:45 pm

Minneapolis and St Louis are not doing well.
Last edited by TheFriendlyBarber on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:45 pm

Depends on what you mean by worst. D.C. is a hard city to break into, and firms there have higher GPA cut-offs than NYC. But a lot of people would much rather practice and live in D.C. than in NYC. If you mean, "easiest to get a job" the answer is probably NYC for national schools and whatever secondary market is closest to you for regional schools.

sebastian0622
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby sebastian0622 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:48 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
bdubs wrote:This should help you get a sense of why New York has the most available big law opportunities

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2491269007

Note that California as a state has less than half of the number of lawyers at NLJ 250 firms as New York City.

Part of the pessimism that you've heard about also has to do with the mix of legal work. New York's financial work hasn't slowed nearly as much as the venture work in Silicon Valley, so the number of new associate hires in SV is down more percentage wise than NY.


Wow. I knew SF and LA were small markets, but I didn't know they were that small. Put them both together, throw in Chicago and Houston, and you're almost up to NYC.


Well, those are misleading numbers. They are only NLJ 250 firms, not total attorneys. Obviously the biggest firms will be in the biggest cities, more or less by definition. If you're in a small city, there will be no NLJ 250 attorneys at all, but that isn't a particularly useful piece of information without knowing how many other attorneys are hired there, how much they get paid, etc.

For lack of a better way to describe it, it's basically circular logic to say that NYC has a disproportionate (to population) number of attorneys who work at really big firms.

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Lawquacious
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:28 pm

Based on my experience and observations, there is not necessarily an objectively good region or location to get a legal job. Although some markets may be stronger than others, it seems to me that firms are almost obsessed with you having 'ties' to the market you are applying to (in particular, having lived there for a number of years at some point recently, or being from there). So I would say that the best region or city for you will be very individualized, based on where your 'ties' are. I think it is unfortunate that so much emphasis is placed on 'ties', but that seems to be how hiring works (for firms at least). If you are a very strong performer at a top school I think the ties think could matter less, but generally I think this is very significant.

mrloblaw
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:20 pm

Lawquacious wrote:Based on my experience and observations, there is not necessarily an objectively good region or location to get a legal job. Although some markets may be stronger than others, it seems to me that firms are almost obsessed with you having 'ties' to the market you are applying to (in particular, having lived there for a number of years at some point recently, or being from there). So I would say that the best region or city for you will be very individualized, based on where your 'ties' are. I think it is unfortunate that so much emphasis is placed on 'ties', but that seems to be how hiring works (for firms at least). If you are a very strong performer at a top school I think the ties think could matter less, but generally I think this is very significant.


And while I hear it repeated on this website ad nauseum that NYC firms are not concerned with ties the way other markets are, that's not entirely true. As a Southerner who transferred to CCN this fall, I faced skepticism from every firm I interviewed with that I wouldn't bail and go home as soon as I had the loans paid off. Transfers from less prestigious northern schools had a much easier time, from anecdotal evidence.

Short version: Ties matter everywhere, so have a backup plan involving your local market.

Anonymous User
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:32 am

On the other hand, I received zero offers from my home state (TX), yet received a V50 offer in LA (never been until interview).

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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:42 am

Seriously, it's weird how ties work. Everywhere I interviewed asked for some ties, yet I only got offers from markets where I had really weak ties (school) and completely struck out where I had the strongest ties (my hometown)

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:32 am

I mean, if you're focused only on bottom-line take-home pay/CoL vs. hours worked, Texas >>> Chicago >> DC >> CA > NYC.

But that's assuming you don't have any practice area preferences and, more importantly, it's assuming you can get a job anywhere aside from NYC. NYC biglaw > not-biglaw elsewhere. If you want to do corporate work, NYC > all because of the exit options provided by the NYC biglaw corporate practices (unless you want to do BK or private equity, in which case you can look seriously at Kirkland Chicago, or you want to do tech-focused transaction work, in which case there are a small handful of CA firms that are worth looking at (though the NYC firms still handle the true blockbuster deals in that space)).

TCR for bidding is normally "the 'secondary' (including Chicago/etc.) market where you have ties + NYC, unless you are at the very top of your class and want to roll the dice on some DC bids".

lawschoolgrapedme
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby lawschoolgrapedme » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:24 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:Based on my experience and observations, there is not necessarily an objectively good region or location to get a legal job. Although some markets may be stronger than others, it seems to me that firms are almost obsessed with you having 'ties' to the market you are applying to (in particular, having lived there for a number of years at some point recently, or being from there). So I would say that the best region or city for you will be very individualized, based on where your 'ties' are. I think it is unfortunate that so much emphasis is placed on 'ties', but that seems to be how hiring works (for firms at least). If you are a very strong performer at a top school I think the ties think could matter less, but generally I think this is very significant.


And while I hear it repeated on this website ad nauseum that NYC firms are not concerned with ties the way other markets are, that's not entirely true. As a Southerner who transferred to CCN this fall, I faced skepticism from every firm I interviewed with that I wouldn't bail and go home as soon as I had the loans paid off. Transfers from less prestigious northern schools had a much easier time, from anecdotal evidence.

Short version: Ties matter everywhere, so have a backup plan involving your local market.


I'm not going to bust out and say ties don't matter, but I think this is overblown. Strangely enough, I too am a CCN transfer and a Southerner as well, and I transferred from a midwest school. I had lived in the South my whole life and had only left to go to law school in the Midwest. I never once faced any hesitance that I was going to leave (which I don't plan on doing), and will be working in NY.

Anonymous User
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:35 pm

Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.

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newyorker88
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby newyorker88 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.


What gave you the impression they didn't want you b/c you're from the south? Did they grill you on why NY? Did you have decent responses?

c3pO4
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby c3pO4 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:12 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.


What gave you the impression they didn't want you b/c you're from the south? Did they grill you on why NY? Did you have decent responses?


Cause wore a seer sucker suit

duckmoney
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby duckmoney » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.


Less than 8% of Texas grads went to the mid atlantic in 2009. NYC firms just don't recruit much at Texas.

If you go to Vandy, that does seem strange.

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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:28 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.


What gave you the impression they didn't want you b/c you're from the south? Did they grill you on why NY? Did you have decent responses?

An unwillingness to screen me in the first place. My resume screams lifelong Southerner.

mrloblaw
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby mrloblaw » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:00 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Southerner with good grades from UT/Vandy. No ties to NYC. NYC firms wanted nothing to do with me.


What gave you the impression they didn't want you b/c you're from the south? Did they grill you on why NY? Did you have decent responses?


In my case, it was that of 40+ interviews, I can't recall a single one that didn't literally start with "Why NYC?" I'm pretty sure i had a good answer, and I'd still be in pretty poor shape now if I wanted biglaw to begin with.

Anonymous User
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Re: What are the best regions/cities for legal employment?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:04 pm

mrloblaw wrote:In my case, it was that of 40+ interviews, I can't recall a single one that didn't literally start with "Why NYC?" I'm pretty sure i had a good answer, and I'd still be in pretty poor shape now if I wanted biglaw to begin with.

I got asked "Why NYC?" for most interviews and I live here.




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