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The Legal Job Market in New York City

published September 29, 2008

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left

( 429 votes, average: 4 out of 5)

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Big Law Firms versus Small Law Firms

New York City is home to numerous big law firms and even more small law firms which offer services to different individuals and entities depending on their needs and on the availability and affordability of the service in question. The big law firms offer services to the big companies and individuals who can afford it, while the small law firms typically provide services to those small businesses and individuals who cannot afford to seek services from the big law firms.
The Legal Job Market in New York City

Another difference between the big law firms and the small law firms is in their client bases. Big law firms tend to have a strong client base and can handle a large number of clients, whereas small firms can typically only handle a small number of clients.

Availability of Work

It is evident from the growing business economy that there is plenty of legal work available in the city. In general, there is a lot of work available in the state as a result of the growing need for legal assistance due to economic growth and burgeoning businesses. The available legal jobs are innumerable and range from positions for skilled support staff, such as legal secretaries and paralegals, to jobs for attorneys themselves, some of them with the most powerful firms in the nation. It is clear that with the ongoing increase in economic growth and productivity, there are a lot of job opportunities in the state.

General Salary Ranges

Generally, the salary ranges for legal practitioners in New York City are very competitive due to the growth in the job market and the increasing cost of living in the city. A lawyer in New York working in a big law firm earns a salary starting from $130,000 per year. The salary range, however, depends on the type of practice and the size of the firm in question.

Cost of Living in New York

New York City is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world. The reasons for this may be obvious considering that the economic power of the city results in high income which in turn result in an increased cost of living. The increased cost of transport, education, electricity and gas, rent, food, and other items is something that every citizen of the city must deal with. That said, many people who work in the city choose to live in New Jersey, which has a lower cost of living.

Quality of Life in New York

The quality of life in New York is considered to be quite good as evidenced by social, economic, and political factors. The thriving economy is the major factor contributing to the high quality of life in the city. With the increasing cost of living, employers must ensure that employees are compensated fairly and at rates allowing them to maintain or improve their quality of living.

Pros and Cons of Being a Lawyer in New York City

Being a lawyer in New York City has its pros and cons. Some of the pros of practicing law in New York include the opportunity to learn from the best. The city attracts the best lawyers and attorneys because of its enormous legal job market, and therefore working in the city gives a lawyer the advantage of working and networking with a variety of legal experts.

Other advantages of being a lawyer in New York City include the opportunity to make good money, attract major clients, and enhance one's reputation in the legal community.

On the other hand, practicing law in New York has its challenges. As a result of strong business growth, lawyers are forced to prove their worthiness to their clients. This may be due to several reasons, including stiff competition for good jobs.

A lawyer in New York will find it hard to get the desired job if he or she does not have the necessary experience. This is especially true for junior attorneys who have only practiced law for a short period of time. Apart from academic credentials, employers consider experience when recruiting a lawyer.

The fast growth of the legal market makes it hard for an individual to open and run a private practice because of the massive costs that one has to incur in setting a new practice up, not to mention the challenges of developing a solid client base.


It is clear that New York City, being one of the largest legal markets in the United States, offers lawyers unlimited opportunities to put their law degrees to lucrative use.

More than thousands of legal staff jobs available in New York City, Click Here for current openings.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit