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The Midwest: The Place to Go For Laid-off New York Lawyers?

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  • The Midwest: The Place to Go For Laid-off New York Lawyers?

    by The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog



    Early on in our legal careers, we were taught that D.C. and New York were smart places for recent law-school grads to go. In D.C., it seemed nearly everyone who'd ever set foot on Connecticut Avenue was a lawyer, even those who'd ultimately ventured into politics. And in New York, well, there seemed to be more 500-lawyer law firms than in the rest of the country combined.

    So it requires a bit of mental reconditioning to fully process a paragraph we read this morning in the AmLaw Daily blog:
    Without a portable book of business, out-of-work lawyers will have a tough time finding jobs in the New York City market, the panelists generally agreed. Zelda Owens, managing director at legal staffing firm HireCounsel, suggested lawyers in the Big Apple consider a move to another market that has been less affected, such as the Midwest.

    Let's paraphrase that, just to make sure our reading comprehension skills haven't diminished overnight. Laid-off New York lawyers should consider looking for work in the Midwest.

    The AmLaw Daily blurb covered a recent New York City Bar Association panel discussion on job hunting. According to the story, the mood was grim, with the panelists giving brutal assessments. "Big firms aren't going to be an option for most people," said Diane Costigan, the former director of professional development at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.

    Fair enough. But the Midwest?

    We called up Amy McCormack of McCormack Schreiber, a Chicago-based legal-placement outfit, to ask about the advice.

    She drew in a quick breath. "Wow, I don't know," she said. "I'm not sure how things are in St. Louis or Cleveland, but I wouldn't necessarily advise people to come to Chicago." Not only is the market down in Chicago, said McCormack, but even in good times, Chicago firms look for associates with clear Chicago connections. "It's different from New York," she said. "Chicago firms like to see that you have a connection, have roots, and are ultimately going to stay and try to bring in business, build a career."

    Boise, anyone?
    Welcome to our discussion forum!
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