Starting your career in a small market

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Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:08 pm

Rising 2L approaching OCI here. Top third at a T6.


Is there an appreciable professional disadvantage to starting your career in a comparatively tiny market, even if the firm itself is a national presence? I'm from a smaller Midwest market (one of /STL/Cleveland/Milwaukee/Minneapolis) and I want to go back to the Midwest, probably for my whole career. I will bid mostly Chicago but I'm wondering whether to bidmy hometown market's major firm (one of Bryan Cave/Baker Hostetler/Jones Day/Foley/Faegre) at OCI too.

Would working in the HQ of one of these offices offer me less options than a Chicago firm like Sidley/Kirkland/Mayer etc in terms of long term professional prospects (exit options etc.) Don't care about ranking or prestige for prestige's sake, I just care about my actual career development.

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:16 am

I started in the regional HQ office of a v100/AmLaw 100 firm before relocating to a major city (NY/DC/Chicago). It was difficult lateraling and people would always say “the work in [major city] will be more sophisticated than you’re probably used to” even though most of my work was pretty sophisticated and for fortune 100 companies. Perception is reality, they say.

The same may not apply to Jones Day because it’s still a major player in major market cities. However, for the others, even though they are well-respected, I think they’d receive the same treatment as my firm.

As another example, my firm has a small, but not tiny, office in the new city (50-100 attorneys) and I didn’t meet a single person who even heard of it pre-interview.

It was a brutal process that my friends lateraling from major offices didn’t encounter.

Just my two cents. Good luck at OCI!

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L approaching OCI here. Top third at a T6.


Is there an appreciable professional disadvantage to starting your career in a comparatively tiny market, even if the firm itself is a national presence? I'm from a smaller Midwest market (one of /STL/Cleveland/Milwaukee/Minneapolis) and I want to go back to the Midwest, probably for my whole career. I will bid mostly Chicago but I'm wondering whether to bidmy hometown market's major firm (one of Bryan Cave/Baker Hostetler/Jones Day/Foley/Faegre) at OCI too.

Would working in the HQ of one of these offices offer me less options than a Chicago firm like Sidley/Kirkland/Mayer etc in terms of long term professional prospects (exit options etc.) Don't care about ranking or prestige for prestige's sake, I just care about my actual career development.


I did it. I think I got more substantive experience in my small market and my T14 degree carriers more weight in the market. Those were nice pros. Cons were that I felt like I was missing out on comp after the huge Cravath raises for mid levels and seniors, and that I sometimes had to sort of allude to the fact that I could have gotten major market bugles if I wanted it.

I eventually moved to a different office in a larger city. I did have a lot of traction in my new city with other firms, however. I think that was more so due to my experiences and credentials than anything.

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:14 am

Same experience as the above poster. You take a big comp hit early on but get a lot more experience. I had an easy transition to major market big law in a competitive practice group (largely based on a combination of solid experience and T14 degree)

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UnfrozenCaveman

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby UnfrozenCaveman » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:32 am

Not to state the obvious, but your exit options are limited by your choice of residence as well.

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L approaching OCI here. Top third at a T6.


Is there an appreciable professional disadvantage to starting your career in a comparatively tiny market, even if the firm itself is a national presence? I'm from a smaller Midwest market (one of /STL/Cleveland/Milwaukee/Minneapolis) and I want to go back to the Midwest, probably for my whole career. I will bid mostly Chicago but I'm wondering whether to bidmy hometown market's major firm (one of Bryan Cave/Baker Hostetler/Jones Day/Foley/Faegre) at OCI too.

Would working in the HQ of one of these offices offer me less options than a Chicago firm like Sidley/Kirkland/Mayer etc in terms of long term professional prospects (exit options etc.) Don't care about ranking or prestige for prestige's sake, I just care about my actual career development.


I can speak to Jones Day Cleveland; if you're thinking of starting there it very likely won't limit you at all in terms of work/relocation. It's the HQ of the firm and the biggest player in the market, but since it's a small market it doesn't get as many t14 grads, so from what I've seen you'd get more substantive work (however unfair it might be to non-T14s). And you typically get work from partners in other offices as well, so it's not any less sophisticated than if you were in their Chicago/NY office. HTH

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Re: Starting your career in a small market

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:08 pm

I agree with what a few other posters.

I was fed the lie at my T14 and from big city law firms that there’s a one way flow but discovered it was just that, a lie.

I’m at a firm much like the ones you are describing in a midsize city and our associates (including the most underperforming associates) are constantly poached by AmLaw 50 law firms in major markets. I think it’s probably easier to move that way for some reasons I won’t get into here.

If the smaller market is where you want to ultimately end up, you are also better off being at a firm there than someone else. Many in-house jobs go to someone the company knows (or can get intel in) and not a random resume from a recruiter. You’re better off being part of the local network.

That said comp in the short term really is very different if that matters most to you.



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