NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

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NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm

Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by nealric » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
I was an NYC biglaw associate who moved to Texas, but I did have family ties. I wouldn't sweat the integration too much. You'd be surprised how many people in Texas have lived in NYC. In the big cities, it's not going to be a massive culture shock (other than the complete reliance on cars for transport).

As far as office culture, the biggest difference is that attitudes are a bit less intense (even within the context of biglaw), and office hours skew a bit earlier (rolling in at 9:30 isn't uncommon in NYC biglaw, but would be considered pretty late in Houston). Mind you- the reduced intensity doesn't necessarily mean fewer hours worked- it's just more of an attitude towards the hours.

Making friends would be fairly similar to doing so in any big city. It's much easier if you know at least a few people in town.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Wearthewildthingsr » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:42 pm

Curious whether there are differences among the major cities, Dallas, Houston, Austin.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:34 pm

Wearthewildthingsr wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:42 pm
Curious whether there are differences among the major cities, Dallas, Houston, Austin.
Can't speak to Dallas or Houston, but Austin is cool (but getting very expensive and crowded) - pretty easy for an NYC person to move and be acclimated with or without an existing network if more of an "LES" type (other than weather) - easier for a West Coast transplant (lots of tech and thereby lots of SF transplants).

Edit: Anon - because I moved from NYC to Austin (and then left Austin)

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:43 pm

I'm anonymous because I'm disclosing where I work and my profile is very outable.

I'm not a biglaw associate, but I worked in a big law firm in Houston and have interacted extensively with associates, summer associates, and some partners.

The politics is different from NYC. In NYC, if you're on the progressive left, you're basically allowed to scream your positions from the rooftops, and conversations advocating for every other shade of politics generally takes place in hush tones. Maybe people do it voluntarily. Maybe it's due to some social pressure, but in my opinion, that's how the cookie seemingly crumbles most times. In Houston, at least where I worked, which I think might actually be more progressive than most competitors, the center left/right conversation in the privacy of offices were moderately louder than the progressive politics. No one's like an open Trump supporter or anything like that though I'm sure Trump supporters exist wherever people are.

Obviously, at official events or if recruiting/HR is around, people still do the whole progressive dance. Some people really believe it, but those who don't definitely put on a little bit of a show.

I'm not saying which culture, whose politic, or whose way of expressing their politics is right or wrong, but that's a difference in culture that I've observed as someone who is neither a native New Yorker nor a native Texan. The difference is not significant, but as an outsider, it's noticeable especially if as social media increasingly conditions us to be on the look out for these issues. If it's something that matters to you, then maybe you'll want to take note.

There's also just a general layer of polish that's taken off a little in Houston. For instance, I'd be very wary of referring to assistants as secretaries in NYC, especially to their face, but that doesn't seem like the case here. During a callback, my interviewer said something to me something to the effect of "we had some client of your background and it would've been so convenient to have had you around when they were here." Nothing about me except name and appearance suggested that I really even spoke the language or really even had any cultural affinity with people of my background. I didn't even notice it at the time, but when I told someone in NYC about that experience incidental to discussing callback experiences, they pointed out that it was a little off color.

Lastly, people are generally more honest about biglaw, I've never met a single associate who's ever spoken badly of biglaw as a profession or sector in NYC, but in Houston, it was very much biglaw/this firm is not good because of A, B, C but I still work here because X, Y, Z. That was the tone by some associates even at student-facing receptions, which I've never ever seen happen in NYC.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Pomeranian » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:14 pm

Depends on the city, I can't imagine someone who loves NYC liking Dallas.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by ghostoftraynor » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:49 pm

Most notable difference is lack of bodegas.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by sparty99 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by nealric » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:19 am

sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.
You are a bit behind on the politics. It’s polling as a swing state for November and was 52/48 on the last Senate race. Overall, the state does lean Republican for now, but the cities (where you’d be working) are actually pretty Democratic leaning. There are also a lot more non-religious folks than you might assume. Long story short, whatever your religious or political leanings, you can probably find a like minded group.

I do agree that if you are just moving over money, it may not be for you. Some people are more New York people, and aren’t going to be happy somewhere that’s not a dense walkable city.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:43 pm

There's also just a general layer of polish that's taken off a little in Houston. For instance, I'd be very wary of referring to assistants as secretaries in NYC, especially to their face, but that doesn't seem like the case here. During a callback, my interviewer said something to me something to the effect of "we had some client of your background and it would've been so convenient to have had you around when they were here." Nothing about me except name and appearance suggested that I really even spoke the language or really even had any cultural affinity with people of my background. I didn't even notice it at the time, but when I told someone in NYC about that experience incidental to discussing callback experiences, they pointed out that it was a little off color.

This is true, but also I thought at the same time Houston was much more diverse than New York in certain hard to describe ways... In the sense that in New York all the rich people seemed to come from the same general background (ivy/finance/law/etc.), whereas in houston, you have incredibly rich and smart people that went to like oklahoma state or something (not talking about lawyers necessarily, just in the community). Also, my neighbors (all very friendly) were like a gay honduran, an old irish guy, a vietnamese couple, etc. and they all were friendly with each other. Just a different type of diversity than in NY. Obviously both are diverse, but Houston --while certainly being less "polished"-- was just less stuck up I thought.

Politically while Texas is much more republican, Houston is a big city and so tends to break blue. You won't be outcast in Houston for being either progressive or conservative. But honestly a state's position in national politics doesnt really affect life that much, and at the state level even though it is republican, Texas does some good stuff (it ranks pretty high on education, is in the midst of crim justice reform) (and some bad stuff obviously, but so does NY -- look at the NYPD).

I think I would sum it up like this: In Houston, it's not hard to find a hardcore conservative who is good friends with a black guy or a Mexican immigrant. In New York (Manhattan), its not hard to find a hardcore progressive who has no minorities in their social circle.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am

Im not sure just how much partying one can do in biglaw to stay in NYC just for the parties. Personally feel like saving a ton more, a higher quality of life and living in a real house may be worth it for me.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:48 am

Wearthewildthingsr wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:42 pm
Curious whether there are differences among the major cities, Dallas, Houston, Austin.
From a legal standpoint and speaking in generalities, Dallas tends to have a banking focus, Houston is all about energy, and Austin is more tech. Dallas is the more stereotypically Texan of the bunch; Houston is diverse, has a great food scene, but is sprawling, traffic is a nightmare, there are no zoning laws and it shows, and the entire downtown is connected by tunnels because during summertime it's so hot and humid it feels like you're in a swamp; Austin used to be hippy but is now more trendy/hipster, also has a great food scene, and definitely my favorite of the three (I've lived in Austin and Houston and traveled to Dallas often for work.) In decreasing order of chillness (both inside and outside of work), I'd rank them Austin > Houston > Dallas. My experience in the Houston legal market is that it can feel like and old boys club, at least in the energy sector. I would imagine it would be tough to build a book of business as an outsider. COL in all three is going to be way better than NYC but not absurdly cheap if you want to live in a downtown/cool/convenient part of a city. But at least in Austin you'll probably be able to rent an entire house 15 mins from downtown for like $2-2.5k. And budget for needing a car - it's absolutely essential in all three cities.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by lawlo » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:55 pm

sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.
If moving to Texas allows me to avoid people like you, I'm there yesterday.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by nixy » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:04 pm

sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.
I mean, this tells us why you don't want to move to Texas, but is pretty useless otherwise.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by sparty99 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:57 pm

nealric wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:19 am
sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.
You are a bit behind on the politics. It’s polling as a swing state for November and was 52/48 on the last Senate race. Overall, the state does lean Republican for now, but the cities (where you’d be working) are actually pretty Democratic leaning. There are also a lot more non-religious folks than you might assume. Long story short, whatever your religious or political leanings, you can probably find a like minded group.

I do agree that if you are just moving over money, it may not be for you. Some people are more New York people, and aren’t going to be happy somewhere that’s not a dense walkable city.
I am quite update on Texas politics. The state has not had a Democratic governor since Anne Richards and has gone blue for president since the 70s. Texas also polled close in 2016, but Trump won it easily and the Beto race was not close despite the strong hatred for Ted Cruz. While the cities tend to be blue, the surrounding suburbs are quite conservative. The conservative aspect influences the school boards as does the religion.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:15 pm

nealric wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:19 am
sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:31 pm
Biglaw associates who moved to Texas with no family ties, what was your experience like? I'm talking about settling into your new job, office culture, making new friends at and outside work, etc. Thanks!
l am not sure why anyone would blindly move to Texas. It is very Republican. Their governor is horrible. One of their senators is regarded as the worst in the country. Austin is small and boring. The night life in Dallas or Houston do not compare to New York. The only benefit is cost of living. You will also need a car. Houston is more diverse. Both DFW and Houston are very religious. Baptist. Methodist. Lutheran. It's a no for me.
I do agree that if you are just moving over money, it may not be for you. Some people are more New York people, and aren’t going to be happy somewhere that’s not a dense walkable city.
Chicago has entered the chat

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:22 pm

Glad that we've established that Texas is redder and more religious than NYC. Had no idea. Very helpful to OP.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by sparty99 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:34 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:22 pm
Glad that we've established that Texas is redder and more religious than NYC. Had no idea. Very helpful to OP.

He asked about the culture. I told him. So please sit down and stfu.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:40 pm

sparty99 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:34 pm
LBJ's Hair wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:22 pm
Glad that we've established that Texas is redder and more religious than NYC. Had no idea. Very helpful to OP.

He asked about the culture. I told him. So please sit down and stfu.
*S/he

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:09 pm

I’m a progressive agnostic and I’m perfectly happy in Houston. The hours seem much less intense and slightly lower than in a place like NYC, the firms seem slightly more liberal on facetime requirements, etc. The Texas-based firms especially do seem to be a bit of a good ol boys club.

I prefer Austin for a few reasons (less sprawl, no flooding, and better in house opportunities if you don’t want to work in O&G forever) and plan to move there within a year or two, but Houston is still a great place to live and work.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Ultramar vistas » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:19 pm

People always reflexively talk about traffic and sprawl in Houston and it’s honestly just never been an issue for me living inside the loop and working lawyer hours.

At my firm (pre covid), my typical in the hours are 10-7, and I don’t hit significant traffic either way. More in the evening, but it’s a max 15 minute commute either way.

Outside of work, everywhere i go in Houston feels like a 15 minute drive. Friends in EaDo? 15 mins. Friends in Montrose? 15 mins. Downtown? 15 mins. Elsewhere in the heights? 10 minutes.

There’s tennis and basketball courts everywhere, it’s walkable in certain neighborhoods, bikable if you make that a priority (I live near an extensive bike trail that gets me to the office 90% on separate bike paths).

So yes, if you make a choice to live in Katy and work in the energy corridor then you can have 17 bedrooms and a 2 acre lot for 3 dollars fifty but you will experience traffic and sprawl.

But 80% of the associates I work with live the same lifestyle I do - it’s not Manhattan because nothing is, but it’s not what people seem to be imagining.

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Re: NYC Lawyers who moved to Texas, what was your experience like?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:57 pm

Ultramar vistas wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:19 pm
People always reflexively talk about traffic and sprawl in Houston and it’s honestly just never been an issue for me living inside the loop and working lawyer hours.

At my firm (pre covid), my typical in the hours are 10-7, and I don’t hit significant traffic either way. More in the evening, but it’s a max 15 minute commute either way.

Outside of work, everywhere i go in Houston feels like a 15 minute drive. Friends in EaDo? 15 mins. Friends in Montrose? 15 mins. Downtown? 15 mins. Elsewhere in the heights? 10 minutes.

There’s tennis and basketball courts everywhere, it’s walkable in certain neighborhoods, bikable if you make that a priority (I live near an extensive bike trail that gets me to the office 90% on separate bike paths).

So yes, if you make a choice to live in Katy and work in the energy corridor then you can have 17 bedrooms and a 2 acre lot for 3 dollars fifty but you will experience traffic and sprawl.

But 80% of the associates I work with live the same lifestyle I do - it’s not Manhattan because nothing is, but it’s not what people seem to be imagining.
[EDIT-not an NYC to Houston transplant lawyer (but still a lawyer). just chiming in on the Houston lifestyle]

This exactly. I worked in downtown Houston pre-law school and have spent time there since. If you live in the loop in the above mentioned places, yes you still have to drive (which some from NYC may hate), but everything will be pretty close time-wise. Outside of working hours, there is hardly any traffic (like when you're going out in the evenings or weekends). Getting around to nightlife spots can be a pain if you're driving (parking/valet), but then an uber is probably best.

Basically, I wouldn't worry much about sprawl and traffic, it shouldn't affect you. The main worry is adjusting to a car-centric lifestyle, even if your trips are short. 15 min walk and 15 min drive feel very different (walk is better imo, if weather is alright). You will have to drive to work, grocery/liquor stores, laundry, church, hair salon, any kind of errand imaginable, literally everywhere. Drivers' attitude to pedestrians ranges between mild annoyance to active hostility. Outside of downtown business district, it's like "what the hell is that person doing walking out here." Public transportation, while improving slightly, is terrible.

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