Chicago Legal Market

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boombadil

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Chicago Legal Market

Postby boombadil » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:40 pm

I will be attending a T14 in the fall. I'm interested in working in the Chicago legal market. However, my school (not HYS and not NU/Chi) doesn't have strong connections to Chicago. My other ties are to the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), but not Chicago specifically. While I will definitely be chasing NYC firms at OCI to be safe, Chicago would be a better match for my wife's career, and practicing in Chicago would be better for some of my long-term goals.

Here are my ties to the area:

UG in the Midwest
Lived most of my life in the region
Worked for several years in the region
My wife's career (portable within the Midwest but would suffer a setback outside the region)

From what I've read here and elsewhere, I'm not too worried about convincing Chicago firms about my connection to the area. While I'm not directly tied to the city I have pretty strong roots in the region, and I definitely feel I'll be better off than some student whose only tie to the city is going to school in Chicago (correct me if I'm wrong). What does concern me is the fact that Chicago isn't going to be well-represented at my school's OCI. A few of the firms have Chicago offices, but from what research I've been able to do on my school's website, the Chicago job fair almost seems like an afterthought.

Am I handicapping myself by focusing on Chicago at a school that doesn't feed the Chicago market? How insular is this market, and what obstacles and challenges should I expect if I make practicing in Chicago my plan? Any general advice would be appreciated.

pferaso

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Re: Chicago Legal Market

Postby pferaso » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:08 pm

[How insular is this market, and what obstacles and challenges should I expect if I make practicing in Chicago my plan? Any general advice would be appreciated.]

Depends on the law firm and practice area. Working with reputable national or international firm in Chicago is as good as working with a similar firm anywhere else. Assuming you get such an opportunity, you can get exposure to extremely sophisticated clients in transactions or litigation. If you are an attractive candidate for a firm here in Chicago and can show your interest in practicing in the city, you will be in a good shape. I don't regret working in Chicago even though I had the opportunity to work in NY and I do cross border transactional work, which is the least insular type of work you can find. What is your plan? leaving Chicago after a couple years? Would you go to NY or California, or a smaller city? Again, having solid work experience from a good firm in Chicago would open doors in almost any market.

boombadil

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Re: Chicago Legal Market

Postby boombadil » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:21 am

pferaso wrote:[How insular is this market, and what obstacles and challenges should I expect if I make practicing in Chicago my plan? Any general advice would be appreciated.]

Depends on the law firm and practice area. Working with reputable national or international firm in Chicago is as good as working with a similar firm anywhere else. Assuming you get such an opportunity, you can get exposure to extremely sophisticated clients in transactions or litigation. If you are an attractive candidate for a firm here in Chicago and can show your interest in practicing in the city, you will be in a good shape. I don't regret working in Chicago even though I had the opportunity to work in NY and I do cross border transactional work, which is the least insular type of work you can find. What is your plan? leaving Chicago after a couple years? Would you go to NY or California, or a smaller city? Again, having solid work experience from a good firm in Chicago would open doors in almost any market.


If I can get into a good firm in Chicago, I'd be staying in Chicago for the foreseeable future. While I like NYC my wife isn't crazy about the city, and we're both pretty familiar with and like Chicago. The cost of living in the city is also a major plus. Neither of us are interested in California. Though of course, these are just preferences. I wouldn't rule out any major market as our priority is career advancement.

As for my actual career plan, I'm cautious about planning that too much in advance as I'm a 0L and have no realistic way to know what sort of law I would enjoy practicing. The sources I've found say that transactional law is hotter in Chicago. I will have debt upon graduation so biglaw is a priority. I'm attending a T14, so provided I have good grades and can make the necessary connections in Chicago without the advantage of having all of the Chicago firms recruiting at my school, I believe that should be attainable. (Again, correct me if I'm wrong).

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blackmamba8

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Re: Chicago Legal Market

Postby blackmamba8 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:41 am

I'm also possibly looking to go to Chicago after graduation. From Indiana and attending a T13 outside of the region.

pferaso

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Re: Chicago Legal Market

Postby pferaso » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:51 pm

[I'm attending a T14, so provided I have good grades and can make the necessary connections in Chicago without the advantage of having all of the Chicago firms recruiting at my school, I believe that should be attainable. (Again, correct me if I'm wrong).]

Yep. It is attainable (not saying it is easy). Try reach out to firms directly and reach out to alumni (they may pass along your resume). Some firms also organize events before OCI where you can meet partners and associates. Again if you have the numbers, reach out to the right people, and show legit interest in the market you should have good chances.



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