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Is it possible to break into a market that I am not from?
Yes, as a recruiter, I have worked with plenty of attorneys who have moved successfully to new markets. Of course, when looking to make a lateral move to a new market, being able to demonstrate ties to the new city can help your case immensely. Essentially, you need to be able to convince a prospective employer that not only is it viable for you to move to the new city/state, but it is also quite possible that you could make the new city your home for the long-term.
To that end, if you have family or friends in the city in which you are trying to move, you will want to highlight this fact and provide some details regarding how long your contacts have lived in the city, what you have learned from them about the place, how often you have visited them, and other details that would demonstrate a strong relationship with the contact and one that has provided you with an accurate picture of what life would be like for you in the market. Of course, if any of your contacts are attorneys or work in the city's central industries, you should note this as well.
Perhaps your connection to the city you are trying to move to is that you attended college and/or law school there. Rather than just assume that this tie has been emphasized enough by the statement of where you went to school on your resume, I would suggest you give some color to your time in the city as a student. Note anything you may have enjoyed during this time -four seasons, or cultural opportunities, or cost of living-and how you now want to enjoy these again as a practicing attorney.
If you simply like a city, and you have visited it often, you will want to be honest about what draws you to the place and exhibit what you have taken the initiative to learn about the market. Being able to speak to certain neighborhoods or local landmarks demonstrates a true familiarity with a particular place, as does familiarity with the layout of the city.
In the event that you are interested in moving somewhere in which you really have not spent a great deal of time, I suggest you do your diligence on the market. Look into the city's economy and primary industries. Think about the work the firms there do, and how well you could fit in and contribute to the client base's work. Being able to articulate knowledge you have gained about what drives legal work in a particular economy, as well as any developments or trends you have noticed, enables you to position yourself as a candidate who is serious about the market and who is willing to work when you arrive there.
Finally, one of the strongest pieces of evidence that you are, in fact, committed to the new jurisdiction is taking the required Bar exam of your own volition. This communicates to prospective employers that you, in fact, moving to the new state and that it is now more a question of with which firm you will be moving.
Summary: As a recruiter I have worked with plenty of attorneys who have moved successfully to new markets. Learn more about how you can do this in this article.
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