How often do associates move to another market?

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How often do associates move to another market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:54 am

So, I have a simple hypothetical :)

How often do associates make a move from one market to another? I'm originally from New York but I'm more and more interested in living in Philly: it has a much lower cost of living and many big firms pay either on par with New York or slightly less (which doesn't feel like less because it's cheaper to live in Philadelphia). However, I probably wouldn't want to make it a permanent thing and might only stay a few years. How often does an experienced 3rd year or 4th year associate make the move to another market? If someone is gainfully employed in one market, are they doomed to stay there forever? Do firms often see people moving from PA to NY? Assuming all things are equal and the associate went to a school with a good reputation in both PA and NY, is it possible?

I'm making the jump to law from another industry where moves like this aren't common, hence my question. Thanks all!

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Mad Hatter

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Re: How often do associates move to another market?

Postby Mad Hatter » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:34 am

Extremely common. Just take a look at the big law/LinkedIn bios of associates at big firms in secondary markets and you can see just how common. That having been said, it's more common to see people move "downstream" (e.g. NY to Philly) than vice versa, but I think that's largely an organic process since most people want to move to higher QoL cities/firms as they get older. If you have a reasonable explanation for the move and aren't trying to move too far up the food chain (e.g., Ballard Spahr Philly to Cravath NY) you should be fine.

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Re: How often do associates move to another market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:39 am

Would a firm see "moving home" as a valid reason? As I said, I'm from NY and all my family is here. I love Philly, but it probably wouldn't be permanent.

What about a firm that has offices in both Philly AND NYC? I would imagine it's easier.

nick417

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Re: How often do associates move to another market?

Postby nick417 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:55 am

This does not necessarily answer your question, but I feel like your forgetting an important factor: the bar exam. It is not unusual for associates to move between offices at big law firms. My firm has moved numerous associates (mostly because the associate has asked to move because of a spouse getting a job in a different market). The bad part is having to take another bar exam (that is the road block). I cannot see myself EVER wanting to put up with that nonsense again.

However, more States adopting the UBE will make this easier. Also, some States offer reciprocity that eases the burden. But PA/NY would require you to take two separate bar exams in separate bar exam cycles. I would dread that.

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Mad Hatter

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Re: How often do associates move to another market?

Postby Mad Hatter » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:Would a firm see "moving home" as a valid reason? As I said, I'm from NY and all my family is here. I love Philly, but it probably wouldn't be permanent.

What about a firm that has offices in both Philly AND NYC? I would imagine it's easier.

Yeah that definitely constitutes ties to NY, but in that case you'll need a story as to why you want to move to Philly initially. Lawyers in secondary markets are generally suspicious of people with no ties for precisely this reason (leaving as soon as you become a real profit-center).

And yes, switching offices can be easier than switching firms, but comes with its own headaches that I'm sure others with more knowledge than me have discussed in other threads.

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Re: How often do associates move to another market?

Postby nick417 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:09 am

Mad Hatter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Would a firm see "moving home" as a valid reason? As I said, I'm from NY and all my family is here. I love Philly, but it probably wouldn't be permanent.

What about a firm that has offices in both Philly AND NYC? I would imagine it's easier.

Yeah that definitely constitutes ties to NY, but in that case you'll need a story as to why you want to move to Philly initially. Lawyers in secondary markets are generally suspicious of people with no ties for precisely this reason (leaving as soon as you become a real profit-center).

And yes, switching offices can be easier than switching firms, but comes with its own headaches that I'm sure others with more knowledge than me have discussed in other threads.



I second this, especially in Philadelphia. Philly, in general, is very skeptical of outsiders (not just in the legal profession). The law firms are leery of bringing in someone who is just going to run to NY. The firms try to weed out these people during OCI.



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