Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

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Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:15 pm

Hey guys, I am currently a 2nd year corporate associate working for a Midwest regional firm. I moved to the region for an ex and things didn't work out. I have decided it's time to relocate to Chicago as I have nothing to stay for in the area and have already informed my firm that I am leaving at the end of the year, so that I have some time to secure another position.

With that being said, as things stand currently, I will simply be packing my things up and moving to Chicago without a job. Am I being absurd in doing this? Has anyone done a similar move without having a job in place? What would be the job market for laterals in my position? Any advice on similar experiences and which recruiters to work with in the Chicago market would be greatly helpful. Thanks everyone!

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby SFSpartan » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:17 pm

You would have been better off staying at your current firm and trying to target Chicago for a lateral move. You probably can't undo things with your current firm, but you might see if they'll give you some extra website time so that it looks like you are still employed.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:34 pm

While I am in corporate, I am not in Chicago and can't speak to your exact scenario. I do want to chime in an say that I am sorry to read that things didn't work out with the ex. People will tell you that you should have stayed where you were and looked for something before quitting and moving, but emotionally that's not the easiest thing to do. I totally understand why you moved. You've taken a gamble, but distancing yourself from the ex will give you some headspace to move on, which, ultimately, will help you find a job and crush life.

Chin up.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:40 pm

A while back, I interviewed in a secondary market (think Cleveland/Phoenix/Denver). I asked a lot of the lawyers I met how they wound up in the city. Many said simply that they wanted to live in the city, and so moved. The jobs came later. Several had built successful, lasting careers in practice areas that came to them largely by happenstance. They all praised the quality of life they had found.

What you're doing is tougher than OCI. But Chicago is not Des Moines is not Pittsburgh is not even San Francisco. There will be openings, but you'll have to hustle. Finding the job may take time. And building a life for yourself longer still. But we're not too far from the days when graduates hopped a bus and landed in a faraway town.

Set your expectations realistically. Give yourself some slack and a runway when you get there. Talk to anyone and everyone you know who lives in town. Good luck!

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:46 pm

I second the recommendation that you see if your current firm will let you stay on until you find a job. Especially depending on your credentials, it could take a while to lateral. Being corporate helps. GL

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:46 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:While I am in corporate, I am not in Chicago and can't speak to your exact scenario. I do want to chime in an say that I am sorry to read that things didn't work out with the ex. People will tell you that you should have stayed where you were and looked for something before quitting and moving, but emotionally that's not the easiest thing to do. I totally understand why you moved. You've taken a gamble, but distancing yourself from the ex will give you some headspace to move on, which, ultimately, will help you find a job and crush life.

Chin up.


Op here. Thank you. As you've stated, ideally I would have stayed on until I found another job, but emotionally I just need to get out as being here is a constant reminder of my past, which is already taking its toll. I appreciate your words of encouragement and realize that taking a gamble in hopes of moving on both professionally and personally is worthwhile. Thanks again for the positive vibes.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A while back, I interviewed in a secondary market (think Cleveland/Phoenix/Denver). I asked a lot of the lawyers I met how they wound up in the city. Many said simply that they wanted to live in the city, and so moved. The jobs came later. Several had built successful, lasting careers in practice areas that came to them largely by happenstance. They all praised the quality of life they had found.

What you're doing is tougher than OCI. But Chicago is not Des Moines is not Pittsburgh is not even San Francisco. There will be openings, but you'll have to hustle. Finding the job may take time. And building a life for yourself longer still. But we're not too far from the days when graduates hopped a bus and landed in a faraway town.

Set your expectations realistically. Give yourself some slack and a runway when you get there. Talk to anyone and everyone you know who lives in town. Good luck!


OP once again. That's actually great to hear. I know there are others that make similar moves, it's just that I am so risk averse that this is the biggest risk I've ever taken and it is both daunting and exciting at the same time. I anticipate that there will be some openings and being in the city will allow me to network/hustle far better than being away. Thanks for the encouragement!

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby jhett » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:56 pm

I think you should also come up with some non-relationship reasons for making the move to Chicago. For example, come up with some reasons why you specifically want to practice corporate law in Chicago. Also, you can say you wanted a break to visit family/friends or travel (and actually do those things - give yourself a break). If people ask why you moved and quit your old firm, you'll want a better answer than "I broke up with my ex and decided to bounce."

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Graybrow » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:34 pm

jhett wrote:I think you should also come up with some non-relationship reasons for making the move to Chicago. For example, come up with some reasons why you specifically want to practice corporate law in Chicago. Also, you can say you wanted a break to visit family/friends or travel (and actually do those things - give yourself a break). If people ask why you moved and quit your old firm, you'll want a better answer than "I broke up with my ex and decided to bounce."


Funny enough I feel like a breakup is a better excuse than I wanted some time off. The first seems sympathetic while the other seems lazy to me. One man's opinion though.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:58 pm

OP here. Thanks for the comments. I don't think there's any turning back from telling my firm I'm on the way out at the end of the year as I've already been taken off deals and am using my down time now to search for jobs in Chicago. I think I will just take the candid approach and state the real reason for the move when asked by a potential employer. I've just had no real traction in even securing an interview. I guess I need to get in touch with a recruiter but have read too many horror stories to trust the big shops at this point but I am getting desperate so I might cave in soon.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:01 pm

^ I assume OP is originally from Chicago, given that he's moving to Chicago post-breakup. I think this might be one of those situations where, if asked why he left his firm, it might be better to be a bit vague with something like, "personal circumstances required me quickly relocate to Chicago, even though I really enjoyed practicing corporate at XYZ firm, and am looking forward to returning to corporate practice right here in my hometown." Of course, OP should also be able to articulate reasons for why he wants to practice corporate in Chicago and why he wants to work for the particular firm that he's interviewing at.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the comments. I don't think there's any turning back from telling my firm I'm on the way out at the end of the year as I've already been taken off deals and am using my down time now to search for jobs in Chicago. I think I will just take the candid approach and state the real reason for the move when asked by a potential employer. I've just had no real traction in even securing an interview. I guess I need to get in touch with a recruiter but have read too many horror stories to trust the big shops at this point but I am getting desperate so I might cave in soon.


Chicago's a tougher legal market. While Chicago's a huge city, the legal market in Chicago is a lot smaller and a lot of people want to be there. It helps that you're trying to go into corporate, but getting a big firm gig in Chicago is definetely different than getting a big firm job in a place like NYC.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby jhett » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:10 pm

Graybrow wrote:Funny enough I feel like a breakup is a better excuse than I wanted some time off. The first seems sympathetic while the other seems lazy to me. One man's opinion though.


I suppose it's subjective. I suggested it because one time I had a span of several months between firm jobs (I did some world traveling and moved cities), and it inspired jealousy in the interviewers because they all wished they could take an extended break.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:31 pm

Did you have the job lined up before you left, though? If I could line up a job to start months in advance, I'd almost certainly take an extended vacation to travel, but I'd be pretty nervous about explaining to an interview that I was unemployed and traveling.

(Though don't encourage me... if it turns out that they don't care, I'm getting dangerously close to rage-drafting my notice... :))

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby jhett » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did you have the job lined up before you left, though? If I could line up a job to start months in advance, I'd almost certainly take an extended vacation to travel, but I'd be pretty nervous about explaining to an interview that I was unemployed and traveling.

(Though don't encourage me... if it turns out that they don't care, I'm getting dangerously close to rage-drafting my notice... :))


I did not have a job lined up. I'm not suggesting that it will never have an impact... just that it worked for me. Quit at your own risk =)

I only brought it up because OP had already given notice so it could be a way to explain the fact they currently aren't employed.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:52 pm

Haha, well power to you, and happy it worked out. OP, best of luck!

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:24 pm

Might have to wait til folks hit the exits after cashing bonus checks. Are you barred in Illinois?

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:01 am

jhett wrote:
Graybrow wrote:Funny enough I feel like a breakup is a better excuse than I wanted some time off. The first seems sympathetic while the other seems lazy to me. One man's opinion though.


I suppose it's subjective. I suggested it because one time I had a span of several months between firm jobs (I did some world traveling and moved cities), and it inspired jealousy in the interviewers because they all wished they could take an extended break.


Fantastic. I think as long as you're framing it right either could work. Although I do think the truth has its own advantages.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:10 am

Jhett, I feel like many of us would appreciate a rundown of your experience interviewing with firms while unemployed/not currently employed by a firm. That is so awesome that it worked out... you must have some serious interviewing skills! Also, what year were you?

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby MillllerTime » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:56 am

OP - what exactly do you mean by "midwest regional firm"? I think the strategy coming from Jones Day would be pretty different than trying to lateral from a 40-lawyer shop in Milwaukee. A lot of it has to do with the type of corporate work you've done or can convince a firm that you want to do - I've interviewed laterals in a similar position and have found that "I enjoy my corporate work in the random city in Indiana, but want to move to Chicago to get experience on more sophisticated deals" is as convincing as anything.

Others have mentioned this, but it's also just a really slow time for interviewing/hiring right now (and Chicago is probably slower in general than NY). Things take off in January, so wouldn't be surprised if your resume sits on a few desks until then.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby jhett » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Jhett, I feel like many of us would appreciate a rundown of your experience interviewing with firms while unemployed/not currently employed by a firm. That is so awesome that it worked out... you must have some serious interviewing skills! Also, what year were you?


In all honesty, I'm an exception to the rule, so don't do what I did without thinking things through. But here are some factors that tipped things in my favor:
- I am in IP, which is in high demand
- I had left a well-regarded firm, and the firm name carried weight with interviewers
- I was third year, heading into fourth, but I was flexible on my incoming seniority
- I moved cities due to my spouse's job, which also helped account for the fact I was currently unemployed

I ended up with several offers and several rejections - not sure how my unemployed status affected the rejections.

I think the key is to have a compelling story/reason. Mine was that I knew we were going to move cities due to spouse, and decided to take a break to travel the world. That explanation seemed to be enough for the interviewers, and often made for good moments to personally connect with them (e.g., discussing favorite travel locales). Some of them actually didn't even notice I wasn't currently employed until I pointed it out.

Again, I stress that I was in an advantageous employment position so I felt OK taking the risk. And even then, I admit I was nervous through the whole process.

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Re: Corporate Associate Moving to Chicago without a Job

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:40 pm

Sounds awesome. I was mostly just interested in how it worked out because it might help laid off/pushed out people salvage their situations if they don't find anything by the time they're off the website.



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