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Finding The Right Geographical Location for Your Legal Career

published January 18, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left

( 3 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)

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When it comes time to decide where to start practicing, look for a place where you believe you will enjoy the community surroundings and feel secure living among the people who are already there. This is a must. Over the years, as you progress in your practice, you will become an important member of this group; and if you want to enjoy the life, you will have to fit in and accept the local customs. Of course, where you practice is partially based on where you get a job offer. But keep the community question in mind, and if you have serious doubts, do not go there.

Check to see if there are any states where you can be admitted to the bar without further examination if you already are a member in another state. The list changes from time to time, and with the use of the National Bar Examination new areas may be opening up.

If you are going to start by opening your own office, remember that a law practice is based on people. The more people you know who think of you as a lawyer, the more clients you will have. If you have a big family and many friends somewhere, give serious consideration to opening up there. You will have a built-in referral system that should pay off fairly quickly, and the familiar surroundings will require less personal adjustment.

While it is nice to be able to start practice with a fine library, leather furniture, and a top-notch secretary, it is quite possible to get along with less. Many of today's successful lawyers started practice without even the proverbial nickel. If they had no books, they put up law school casebooks. A few may have told their clients that they practiced "unwritten law." Others may have suggested that they never let the authorities prejudice their viewpoints. Most probably said they were just starting out and did their research over at the county law library at the courthouse. For the bookshelves they did need, they used stained boards propped up on cinder blocks. For furniture, they got secondhand pieces and refinished them at home. Many did their own typing until they could afford to hire someone.

Even if you start small, if you have the desire to practice law and the fortitude to hang in for a while, there is a good chance that you will succeed. Today, with computers and applicable software, and an answering machine to take your messages, it is fairly easy to start a do-it-yourself law office. Law book companies are happy to give you a line of credit if you want to fill the shelves. Be careful, however, that you do not overbuy because the monthly payments seem so low.

There are many sources of leads on jobs, association possibilities, and places to practice. For example, at county seats throughout the country the little newspapers specializing in real estate and court news contain legal notices, court filings and calendars, and often advertisements for legal positions. In the large cities there are legal newspapers loaded with columns of ads for lawyers wanted, not only in those cities, but all over that state and other areas as well. Many students and graduates will, of course, use the law school placement office. But they also graduated as undergraduates from a college.

Generally, the bigger the city, the better the possibility for a high salary. The centers of industry and commerce attract the larger law firms and create the volume of business which allows more money to be paid to new lawyers.

In the smaller communities, several established firms usually control most of the good law practice in the area. They represent most of the larger businesses and wealthier people. The senior partners in these firms have long-established, interlocking, rooted family connections. They are the lawyers who pull the power strings, work behind the scenes, and control the policies of the major governmental and other institutions in the community. But there is always room in these places for a good young solo practitioner to handle cases against the establishment firms. A few victories in court, or well handled negotiations, will soon make the older lawyers aware of fresh talent in town, and quite often, when they have something which they cannot handle in their own offices, they will refer a client to someone whom they can trust to reflect favorably on their recommendation.

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
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