Question re: relocation to California

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Anonymous User
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Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 08, 2013 6:15 pm

Hi all,

I'm needing to bounce some ideas on you all about on a potential career move. I hope this is in the right forum. Here's the skinny: I graduated from a regional private law school located in the south in 2012. The school is ABA accredited, but unranked. It is recognized as a real good school in my area. In a class of ~190, I made top 10%, LR, scholarship (no debt), four amjur awards, etc. After graduating, I moved back to my hometown (a town of approximately 10,000 people) to practice law because there is enough business to support a good living as a sole practitioner.

The shitty part is that where I live now is not my first (or second, third,...) choice to live. This area is populated with primarily older people (boomer generation) and families; it is very rural, sparsely populated, and generally poor except for the professionals and big land owners/farmers. The food generally sucks. There's no people here to date in my age group (i.e. age 20-29). There's no social activity here, and to top it off I live in a super-religious dry county (I don't do religion, and there is no sale of alcohol here). On the plus side, this area is geographically a very pretty area.

The upshot is that I generally enjoy my attorney job here. For a new guy, I've had a lot of success since starting last year. I practice in a broad selection of legal fields: I'm a city attorney for a nearby small town in a different district, conflicts public defender in my district (few cases a month on an hourly rate), I also practice consumer bankruptcy, divorce, and general civil matters. I make my own hours, and I get to be in court almost every week; it is fun. I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of local mentor attorneys.


So here is what I'm feeling: Do I ditch my good, safe job to move to another state and live in a metropolitan area (and have more fun outside of work)? Or do I stick it out here and be bored as hell but somewhat gainfully employed? I'm young, and I still have the desire to live in a metropolitan zone, and I am getting the itch to move to California or somewhere out on the west coast... but I have no connections out there. Am I crazy or stupid for wanting a change? Please advise.

tl;dr version: Good job in small town; no social activity to be had when not working... What do?

Please give me your thoughts. I don't have anyone else to discuss this with.

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Drake014
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Drake014 » Wed May 08, 2013 6:27 pm

If you attended a regional law school, it is extremely difficult to find a good paying legal position outside of the region of your law school. If you want to relocate to a metropolitan area, look for a job there but don't move until you actually find a position you want because you may not be able to find one.

I'm currently a mid law attorney from a T14 school, but I know many attorneys who graduated from the top of their class in a lower ranked school and its extremely hard to leave the region of the school.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby anon168 » Thu May 09, 2013 12:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all,

I'm needing to bounce some ideas on you all about on a potential career move. I hope this is in the right forum. Here's the skinny: I graduated from a regional private law school located in the south in 2012. The school is ABA accredited, but unranked. It is recognized as a real good school in my area. In a class of ~190, I made top 10%, LR, scholarship (no debt), four amjur awards, etc. After graduating, I moved back to my hometown (a town of approximately 10,000 people) to practice law because there is enough business to support a good living as a sole practitioner.

The shitty part is that where I live now is not my first (or second, third,...) choice to live. This area is populated with primarily older people (boomer generation) and families; it is very rural, sparsely populated, and generally poor except for the professionals and big land owners/farmers. The food generally sucks. There's no people here to date in my age group (i.e. age 20-29). There's no social activity here, and to top it off I live in a super-religious dry county (I don't do religion, and there is no sale of alcohol here). On the plus side, this area is geographically a very pretty area.

The upshot is that I generally enjoy my attorney job here. For a new guy, I've had a lot of success since starting last year. I practice in a broad selection of legal fields: I'm a city attorney for a nearby small town in a different district, conflicts public defender in my district (few cases a month on an hourly rate), I also practice consumer bankruptcy, divorce, and general civil matters. I make my own hours, and I get to be in court almost every week; it is fun. I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of local mentor attorneys.


So here is what I'm feeling: Do I ditch my good, safe job to move to another state and live in a metropolitan area (and have more fun outside of work)? Or do I stick it out here and be bored as hell but somewhat gainfully employed? I'm young, and I still have the desire to live in a metropolitan zone, and I am getting the itch to move to California or somewhere out on the west coast... but I have no connections out there. Am I crazy or stupid for wanting a change? Please advise.

tl;dr version: Good job in small town; no social activity to be had when not working... What do?

Please give me your thoughts. I don't have anyone else to discuss this with.


Yes, you're crazy and stupid.

Don't move west unless you have a job lined up. Otherwise you're going to have too much time for social activities.

Anonymous User
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 8:19 am

I don't know where in California you will head, but if you wanted to go to a major city, the market could be very competitive. I struggled finding a job in SF coming from a T30 law school, even with top credentials. Also, I imagine building a client base where you don't have connections will be difficult. Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don't know where in California you will head, but if you wanted to go to a major city, the market could be very competitive. I struggled finding a job in SF coming from a T30 law school, even with top credentials. Also, I imagine building a client base where you don't have connections will be difficult. Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.

Mind elaborating a little more on your stats and what you ended up with? I'm also looking in SF from a T30.

Anonymous User
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 9:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.


OP here,

I've looked in the metropolitan areas where I live, but in my state there is very little job creation, if any, and very few attorney jobs available even in the status quo. Moving out of this state to California or the west coast has been a long time desire of mine; perhaps it is a pipe dream. I feel like this may be my last shot to go somewhere else for a time before I get stuck here. What I'm really trying to figure out is if I should apply for the bar exam in California just to have the future option of going there.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu May 09, 2013 10:30 pm

California's legal market is very competitive, and it's horrifically expensive to live in any of the coastal metropolitan areas in California. You said you are from the South. Why not consider Texas? Austin has a huge single population with a good mix of libs and conservatives, hedonists and Bible thumpers. Texas definitely has job growth too, and they'd probably look more favorably on your degree from a Southern law school.

anon168
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby anon168 » Thu May 09, 2013 11:01 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:California's legal market is very competitive, and it's horrifically expensive to live in any of the coastal metropolitan areas in California. You said you are from the South. Why not consider Texas? Austin has a huge single population with a good mix of libs and conservatives, hedonists and Bible thumpers. Texas definitely has job growth too, and they'd probably look more favorably on your degree from a Southern law school.


Or Atlanta.

Anonymous User
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 11:16 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:California's legal market is very competitive, and it's horrifically expensive to live in any of the coastal metropolitan areas in California. You said you are from the South. Why not consider Texas? Austin has a huge single population with a good mix of libs and conservatives, hedonists and Bible thumpers. Texas definitely has job growth too, and they'd probably look more favorably on your degree from a Southern law school.


I've considered Texas. I missed the application deadline for the bar exam for July, otherwise I would have signed up. Maybe you're right...

Anonymous User
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Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 7:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know where in California you will head, but if you wanted to go to a major city, the market could be very competitive. I struggled finding a job in SF coming from a T30 law school, even with top credentials. Also, I imagine building a client base where you don't have connections will be difficult. Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.

Mind elaborating a little more on your stats and what you ended up with? I'm also looking in SF from a T30.


I ended up at the SV office of a V-25 firm, coming from an East Coast T-30. Law Review, top 10%. Originally from San Francisco. Had four years of working experience before law school. Will be doing corporate work. Only had three callbacks in the Bay Area - two from OCI and one from networking. I must have applied to 40 firms.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 11:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know where in California you will head, but if you wanted to go to a major city, the market could be very competitive. I struggled finding a job in SF coming from a T30 law school, even with top credentials. Also, I imagine building a client base where you don't have connections will be difficult. Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.

Mind elaborating a little more on your stats and what you ended up with? I'm also looking in SF from a T30.


I ended up at the SV office of a V-25 firm, coming from an East Coast T-30. Law Review, top 10%. Originally from San Francisco. Had four years of working experience before law school. Will be doing corporate work. Only had three callbacks in the Bay Area - two from OCI and one from networking. I must have applied to 40 firms.

We're like twins, so that's promising (even if you had to put in a ton of legwork). Thanks, and congrats!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273582
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Question re: relocation to California

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 11, 2013 7:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know where in California you will head, but if you wanted to go to a major city, the market could be very competitive. I struggled finding a job in SF coming from a T30 law school, even with top credentials. Also, I imagine building a client base where you don't have connections will be difficult. Is there a way you can build off your success in your hometown and go to a bigger city that is closer but not in California? I don't mean to sound discouraging, but I would try to land a job first before moving west.

Mind elaborating a little more on your stats and what you ended up with? I'm also looking in SF from a T30.


I ended up at the SV office of a V-25 firm, coming from an East Coast T-30. Law Review, top 10%. Originally from San Francisco. Had four years of working experience before law school. Will be doing corporate work. Only had three callbacks in the Bay Area - two from OCI and one from networking. I must have applied to 40 firms.

We're like twins, so that's promising (even if you had to put in a ton of legwork). Thanks, and congrats!


Good luck with OCI this summer! My advice is to hustle on networking beginning early this summer. Sending in applications to firms will turn up no hits. I would definitely have coffee with any associate or partner who is an alum from your school and hopefully they will push your application internally. Even getting an associate to do that is no guarantee; partners have more influence. And of course, nailing those interviews and understanding the culture of every firm will help. I had the awkward situation of showing up to Cooley for a callback, and realizing that my conservative attire made me really out of place in their casual environment.




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