Given the glut of attorneys being pumped out into the market on a yearly basis, recent graduates are being told to consider applying for employment in places that they normally wouldn’t — rural places like the cities in the Midwest or the Deep South. And for some, it’s been working out, but for others, the experience has been less than enjoyable.
Enter the latest set of rankings. Last year at about this time, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released its Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010. This year, National Jurist has presented a list of the Worst Cities for Young Attorneys, based, in part, on NALP’s figures. Unsurprisingly, many of those cities fall near the bottom of NALP’s buying power list, and one was even in second-to-last place. If you have other options, you may want to seriously consider them.
So where are the worst cities for young attorneys?
National Jurist ranked 71 cities in total. We’ll provide you with a snapshot of the ten worst for young attorneys. Here’s how the magazine created the methodology behind the latest rankings:
We gathered data from a variety of sources to compile our list of best [and worst] cities. The rankings were based on three categories: standard of living, size of the legal community, and active social scene for young people.
The standard of living was determined using NALP’s buying power index. The category counted for 30 percent of the ranking for each city. Size of legal community was based on two categories: percentage of the population with legal occupations using the 2010 U.S. Census (15 percent) and number of law firms in each metropolitan area (20 percent). The social scene was also based on two categories: the percentage of young people ages 24-34 (also determined by using the U.S. Census) was 15 percent of the overall ranking, and Sperling’s Places, which ranked each city from one to 10 based on the amount of arts and culture, counted for 20 percent of the total score.
But really, we’ve got to wonder: who cares about the amount of arts and culture in a given city when your money is incapable of getting you very far? When looking at the rankings, consider the fact that these cities are being measured against New York City’s buying power, which NALP set at 1.00. Anything less than that likely means your purchasing power is so abysmally low that your city’s hot spot is probably the local Wal-Mart.
Without further ado, here are the ten worst cities for young attorneys, as ranked by the National Jurist:
(Sorry to quibble, but we noticed a few issues. Oklahoma City apparently doesn’t have any lawyers, and it would seem that we need to solve for x to figure out the attorney population of Louisville, Kentucky. The classification of “young people” doesn’t even match up in their chart (ages 25-34) versus their methodological statement (ages 24-34). This is almost as good as the so-called “Best Value” rankings National Jurist put out in August, complete with incorrect figures for average graduate indebtedness.)
Getting back to the worst cities rankings, as it turns out, no one wants to live in Arkansas anyway. Worth noting is that Charleston, South Carolina, is the fifth-worst city on National Jurist’s list, whereas on NALP’s list, it was in second-to-last place based on the city’s buying power index. But hey, as long as you’re surrounded by other young people who you may have absolutely nothing in common with, you’re good.
At any rate, this is a list that might be worth keeping in mind as you try to figure out where you don’t want to start or continue your career. Hopefully you’re not already trapped in one of the worst cities for young lawyers.
The Worst Cities for Young Attorneys [National Jurist]