Comparing Legal Markets

<p>I was wondering if any of the forum participants would care to comment on the characteristics of some of the top legal markets for rising 2L's. I am asking the question, not as a law student, but as a parent who wants to participate in a conversation without being completely ignorant. How do DC, NY, Chi, Bos, etc. compare to one another? I know I may hear a lot about the difficult climate in legal employment, and there are certainly enough threads on that topic already. So, please, let's focus on which of these places seems to have the strongest prospects going forward and how the experienc of Jr associates may differ from place to place.

<p>I heard San Francisco also has a rather big legal market.</p>

<p>Dallas and Houston also have big legal markets(4th and 5th largest in the U.S.)</p>

<p>I was hoping that some of the lawyers on this board would join the thread. Any advice from the professionals? </p>

<p>Acknowledging that there will be wide variations among the different firms, I also assume that there are some basic differences in doing a big law internship in Dallas as opposed to NYC or between Chicago and ATL. Maybe I'm wrong. Does it not make any difference what you city you start out in? </p>

<p>Is the work load harder in some markets, the competition keener, or the prospects for future work brighter? Any insights?</p>

<p>Ok to preface i'm not a current professional but i've done about as much research as can be done through the internet on topics like this. First off, there tends to be debate on what are the top ten legal markets and in what order they go in, with different reputable sources having different lists. But its pretty much a given that NY is the biggest, then DC, then chicago and LA battle it out for third and fourth. Houston, Dallas, and San Francisco battle it out for the next three spots, with boston, philly, and atlanta take the final 3 spots. </p>

<p>Also, most people claim that (if your son/daughter is looking into biglaw) the working conditions (hours) tend to get worse at the higher ranked firms and at the bigger legal market. I.E. working for a V10 firm in NY is going to require more time commitment then in LA. But it is also usually true that you get paid better the worse working conditions are (at least directly out of law school). This could be offset by the cost of living issue in NY compared to Chicago though. And generally the better firm in the bigger market gives more mobility. But again this is just a general statement.</p>

<p>To generalize, and that is what you have requested, NYC is perhaps the toughest of the markets with regard to expectations of young associates. It can afford to be because some would argue NYC offers the best opportunity for the best legal work in the country. I'm partial to DC because I think the work offered is excellent and it is not known to be quite the pressure cooker that NYC is. Of course, much of the work in DC is regulatory in nature because of the presence of the federal government. Dallas is Dallas and the culture can be very different there - depending on the firm. I interviewed in Dallas out of law school and I felt as though I had landed on another planet. That was many years ago, however. Atlanta, similarly to Dallas, is quite different culturally from the others, but it is a very attractive market for relocation. I have had more attorneys come to me this year wanting to relocate to Atlanta than any other market. I deal with very few attorneys interested in leaving Boston. People are very loyal to that city and it seems to offer something for everyone. The legal work is very diverse. I confess to knowing less about Chicago than the others and will rely on others input. I believe these are all strong legal markets and would not try to suggest that one is better than another in terms of long term prospects.</p>

<p>Thanks Cartera and Patriot . . . that helps me to know a bit more and gives me something to contribute to the conversation.</p>

<p>This is coming late to the party, but I agree with the above in general. My first caveat is that you can work yourself to death anywhere. I describe the legal culture of New York as especially "butch" (people taking pride in the ungodly hours they work, only sissies see their families, partners not bothering to gloss over the fact that your life belongs to them, etc.). Chicago is much less of a pressure cooker than NY and even DC. There's a lot more coming in early and leaving early, working from home in the evenings, etc. It's also way more affordable than NY and DC (and Boston); you can buy a great place to live within walking distance of work.</p>

<p>Well... Chicago tends to be less of a pressure-cooker than NYC if you're not working at Kirkland & Ellis.</p>