Earlier this week, we brought you news about the 10 worst cities for young attorneys ranked by standard of living, size of the legal community, and an active social scene for young people. Many of those cities were located in the South or in the Midwest, where law school administrators have insisted there are good jobs waiting. While some complained that the rankings were suspect for one reason or another, others — perhaps they were bitter? — went so far as to suggest they didn’t “want people that ‘rank’ the ‘worst cities’ coming to these great places anyway.” Sheesh.
Well, those worst-city defenders may be in luck, because today we’ve got the rankings for the 20 Best Cities for Young Attorneys, and this time, average billable hours per city are included. Once again, NALP’s Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010 was used to establish each city’s standard of living, and the resultant best cities were not only big, but they were also extremely Biglaw-centric, with reported median salaries to match.
So where are the best cities for young attorneys?
These rankings come to us courtesy of the National Jurist (reg. req.). For the details on how the magazine created the methodology behind these rankings, please click here. We’ll remind our readers that these cities are being measured against New York City’s buying power, which NALP set at 1.00. You’re therefore far more likely to get a better bang for your buck if your city has a buying power value that’s greater than 1.00.
Without further ado, here are the 20 best cities for young attorneys:
New York City associates must be shedding golden tears, because while buying power for all cities is compared to their salaries, NYC is ranked dead last. In most cases, young attorneys in the other cities on this list are enjoying a better life for less money. It seems New York City living isn’t financially viable anymore.
Maybe some of those worst-city defenders were right to “white knight” their places of work — after all, many of them only have to work for eight hours a day, and are then free to enjoy their city’s social scene. It may be nice to rake in six-figure median salaries, but when you’ve got to bill upwards of 2200 hours a year, you probably won’t be able to experience your city’s finest attractions too often, no matter how posh the culture is.
Like the rankings for the ten worst cities for young attorneys, this is a list that’s worth keeping in mind as you try to figure out where you may want to start your career. It really depends on the type of life you’d like to lead. Do you want small-town charm or big-city flair? Will it be a high salary with high required billables or a more modest salary with the ability to sleep in your own bed? It’s really up to you. Choose wisely, young attorneys, for soon, you may be complaining about your lack of work/life balance if you want the best of the best.