Guide to Relocation by LawCrossing


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									   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                                               1.800. 973. 1177

Guide to Relocation
[BCG Attorney Search]

There is nothing more exciting than leaving       markets are going to most likely be receptive    cruiter. There are simply many economic and
one area of the country and going to a new        to your efforts to relocate there. If you’ve     other forces that make all of this happen.
area to start a new career and life. One of the   spent some time reviewing the jobs we have
advantages of having chosen a career in the       available, you’ve quickly realized that there    When relocating to a given market, it is
fluid legal industry is that you do have the      are countless opportunities in many of the       extremely important that you have a good
option of living in other parts of the United     markets that we are serving. As much as we       sense of how the relocation process works
States or even the World. We have moved           hate to say it, your success in getting any      and the issues that affect it. Your success in
attorneys from one city to another and from       of these positions will be dependent upon        relocating to a given market will be influ-
one continent to another. Indeed, as an           numerous factors which, in many cases, will      enced by a variety of factors; however, we be-
attorney search firm that places attorneys        have more to do with forces beyond your          lieve two of the more important factors are:
throughout the United States and the World,       immediate control than with what you can
we believe that we have made a positive dif-      control.                                         What type of attorney you are
ference in the quality of many lives through                                                       Where you are relocating to
our relocation efforts.                           Several times on a daily basis we are ap-
                                                  proached by attorneys in other markets who       A. The Type of Attorney You Are At a Given
Nevertheless, we cannot always do this. For       are seeking to relocate to a given market        Point in Time Will Influence Your Success in
example, it seems that on almost a daily          that we serve. When analyzing the major-         Relocating to a Given Market
basis we receive resumes from Russia,             ity of the placements we make throughout         Your success in relocating to a given market
Bangladesh, Nigeria and India. While these        the United States, we have found that more       will generally be better if you practice in a
attorneys may certainly be placeable in their     than 50% of the placements we do make are        given area of the law that is in high demand
own markets, the odds of us placing them in       for attorneys who are relocating to another      at the time. Before we go into some detail
the United States are severely diminished if      area of the United States. For example, in       about this, you should know the following.
they do not have skills that are easily trans-    California, despite the fact that our main of-   First, litigators are almost always in demand
ferable.                                          fices are in Los Angeles, in the 2000 calendar   in both good economies and bad economies.
                                                  year more than 60% of the placements we          However, it is more difficult for litigators to
When considering relocating, remember the         made were for attorneys relocating to Silicon    relocate than other types of attorneys for the
first question you will always be asked is        Valley from other areas of the United States.    most part. Second, corporate attorneys are
why? Deciding to relocate to a city with which    The substantial majority of the attorneys we     extremely marketable when the economic
you have minimal ties may not be attractive       relocated to Silicon Valley were corporate       climate is good and can easily be relocated
to a firm who is seeking loyalty and stabil-      attorneys. In the 2001 calendar year, the sub-   to other areas of the country. Corporate
ity. You must think through the reasons that      stantial majority of the placements we have      attorneys also have the luxury of being mar-
you have for relocating, and whether those        made in California have been in Los Angeles      ketable just not in other areas of the United
reasons will appeal to potential employers.       for litigators.                                  States but in other areas of the World. When
                                                                                                   the economic climate is failing, corporate at-
Before you pack your bags, however, it is im-     Why, you may ask, has this pattern emerged?      torneys have a very difficult time finding work
portant to distinguish the types of attorneys     As a national legal search firm, we can tell     and may even be laid off. Third, the more
that are likely to have the most success in       you that these placement results will parallel   specialized the practice area an attorney is
relocating from those who will not have suc-      the results you will have should you com-        in, and to the extent those skills are transfer-
cess. It is also important that you know which    mence a search through us or another re-         able to another firm, the more marketable

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   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                                                   1.800. 973. 1177

they will be.                                       This may be one reason why, in the litigation         are far greater for litigators because litiga-
                                                    community, having certain achievements,               tors must be licensed before the bar of their
The following are our observations about the        such as law review admission, a federal clerk-        jurisdiction in order to even sign pleadings.
success different types of attorneys are likely     ship and graduation from a top law school is          Furthermore, once a litigator gets involved in
to have in relocating to a different market.        often more important than it is for other types       cases, they can become somewhat indispens-
                                                    of attorneys. When an attorney is relocating to       able compared to attorneys practicing other
1. Litigators                                       a given market, these types of qualifications         areas of law. Finally, there are various rules
Litigators can easily relocate to a given           often receive even more emphasis, and it is           for pleadings, filing requirements and all sorts
market if certain specified criteria are met.       not easy for attorneys to relocate to a given         of things that are unique to each jurisdiction
A litigator relocating faces an interesting         market unless they are truly stellar.                 and court that litigators may practice in. The
dilemma. While litigators are almost always in                                                            learning curve is often far steeper for out of
demand in a given market (even during reces-        Attorneys who have achieved significant tra-          state lateral litigators than for local attor-
sions), they do have a slightly more difficult      ditional indicators of success in the litigation      neys, and such laterals who practice litigation
time relocating on an ongoing basis than other      field, such as law review admission, federal          generally need far more training than their
attorneys. For the most part, then, a litigator     court clerkships (federal circuit is most in          counterparts practicing other types of law.
must have outstanding credentials to consider       demand), graduation from a top 10 to 15 law
relocating to a given market. There are some        school and employment with a top national             You must also be aware of the various re-
exceptions to this rule, however, and these         firm, are almost always good relocation can-          quirements for certification state to state. In
will be discussed below.                            didates. However, the difficulty with attorneys       Washington, D.C., having a certain score on
First, the good news. When the economy              relocating who do not have these high level           your state’s bar exam will allow you to waive
slows down, many types of attorneys, such as        credentials become magnified to a greater ex-         into the D.C. bar without taking an examina-
corporate attorneys, have a very difficult-if       tent than they are for other types of attorneys.      tion. On the other hand, New York state has
not impossible-time relocating regardless of        If you are not with a top firm or did not go to       reciprocity with a very few states, and only af-
the strength of their resumes. Conversely,          a top school, your chances of relocating to a         ter 5 years of continuous practice. You should
lawsuits can drag on for years and even pick        major market are going to be very minimal             also be aware of the type of practice. If you
up to some extent when the economy cools.           if you are seeking to practice with one of the        have already had substantial federal experi-
Thus, litigators are almost always marketable       better firms in that market.                          ence, you know that federal courts are guided
to some extent regardless of the state of the                                                             by the same general rules of procedure and
economy.                                            One of the reasons it is more difficult for           evidence. Your skills in one state court may
                                                    litigators who are not truly stellar to relocate      not be readily transferable in a different state,
The bad news is that it is far more difficult for   is because there are so many of them. There           depending on their various rules of procedure
litigators to relocate. One interesting thing to    are far more litigators than tax attorneys,           and practice.
us about litigation is that-at its highest level-   ERISA attorneys and corporate attorneys,
the skills necessary to perform as a good           for instance. The desks of hiring partners in         There are some markets where these con-
litigator do not always come through in job         major firms are littered with the resumes of          cerns are not as significant, and litigation
interviews, and therefore firms may be looking      litigators, and for hiring partners it is often far   attorneys may have more success in these
for traditional indicators of success in litiga-    easier for them to hire local talent than attor-      markets. For example, in Washington, DC,
tors that they would not be seeking in other        neys relocating unless the litigator is stellar.      which has reciprocity for bar admission for
types of attorneys. A good litigator needs to be                                                          attorneys coming from other states, these
an outstanding writer, needs good negotia-          In a market like New York or California, for          concerns do not seem to be emphasized to as
tion skills and (the law firm stereotypes aside)    instance, there are also several less-than-           great an extent as in other markets. Addition-
needs to have the ability to be an advocate in a    obvious risks to hiring an out of state attorney      ally, the bar exam in Illinois is not extremely
courtroom type of setting. Many of these skills     unless the attorney has some really stellar           difficult, so the threat of not passing the bar is
are “natural” and some attorneys just do not        qualifications. First, the firm must bear the         lessened here as well.
have them. It is difficult for interviewers to      relocation costs for the attorney, pay the
pick them up. Accordingly, there is more of an      attorney while they are studying for the bar          For detailed information about the admission
emphasis on traditional indicators of success       exam and so forth. Second, while there are            requirements in each state, see the American
for litigators than there is for other types of     certainly the same risks in hiring corporate          Bar Association’s Comprehensive Guide to Bar
attorneys.                                          and intellectual property attorneys, the risks        Admission Requirements.

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   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                                                 1. 800. 973.1177

2. Corporate Attorneys                              able if there is a firm that needs those types      3. Patent Prosecutors
Corporate attorneys are the easiest types of        of skills. The attorney could be marketable         At most times, patent prosecutors are more
attorneys to relocate. In fact, corporate attor-    in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, London            in demand than all other types of attorneys.
neys can generally pick and choose the types        and all sorts of places while her counterparts      Particularly in demand are patent prosecutors
of areas of the United States and the World         without those types of skills would not be. In      with electrical engineering, computer science,
they want to relocate to if they are strong         fact, if that attorney were one of only a handful   physics or mechanical engineering back-
enough academically and are coming from             of attorneys in the World with her particular       grounds. The reasons these attorneys are so
a top law firm. A corporate attorney in New         types of skills, she might even have close to       in demand comes from the fact that there are
York, for instance, could relocate to Detroit,      guaranteed employment in doing that particu-        so few of them and that the skills they have
Miami, or even Memphis if they were strong          lar type of work.                                   are very easily transferable. Virtually every
enough.                                                                                                 patent attorney with this type of background
However, the negative aspect to this reality        This is not to say that this is entirely positive   we have ever represented has gotten multiple
is that corporate attorneys are not always          (we have seen instances where the Internal          job offers.
marketable, and their marketability will be         Revenue Service or some other body abol-
dependent upon the state of the economy to a        ished the type of specialized work a given          4. Other Practice Areas
greater extent than litigation attorneys. Addi-     attorney was doing and the attorney was left        If there is anything you get out of the above
tionally, a corporate attorney coming out of a      to scrounge for work); nevertheless, the point      discussion, it should be that attorneys are
major legal market and law firm in a city such      is that corporate attorneys with specialized        generally most marketable when they are
as New York or Palo Alto will be far, far more      skills can be very marketable.                      trying to relocate if the following conditions
marketable than a corporate attorney coming                                                             are met: (1) they have skills which are highly
out of a lesser known legal market regardless       Corporate attorneys tend to be most market-         in demand, (2) there are few types of attorneys
of the school they attended. The perception         able in large Metropolitan areas and also in        like them, and (3) their skills are easily trans-
is that the corporate attorney coming out of a      growing areas. In the 2000 calendar year, we        ferable. If you are an attorney who fulfills each
major legal market and firm will have far bet-      placed several corporate attorneys in Seattle,      of these, and depending upon how strongly
ter and sophisticated legal experience than an      for example. We placed over 25 corporate            you fulfill each of these criteria, you will be
attorney coming out of a lesser known market.       attorneys in Silicon Valley and numerous            a good candidate for relocating to another
                                                    corporate attorneys in other major markets.         market.
One reason that corporate attorneys are very        There are always openings for corporate
marketable is because the skills they learn - if    attorneys in markets which many attorneys           B. The Best Markets for Relocation
they have the right type of training - are trans-   might not expect to have these openings-mar-
ferable. Additionally, depending on the type of     kets like Beijing and even Australia. Certainly,    1. Major Markets
experience, corporate attorneys who become          being a corporate attorney has some very real       In general, the best markets for relocation
specialized often have skills that are greatly      rewards because, as a corporate attorney,           tend to be major cities where the population is
in demand. One of our recruiters at BCG At-         you develop a skill set which is marketable in      transient. Relocating to a small town in Virgin-
torney Search tells the story to candidates         more than one place in the World at a time.         ia, for example, would be quite difficult unless
often about an attorney he met when he was                                                              you were originally from that area. While we
a summer associate at his law firm in New           The downside to the marketing of corporate          hate to sound like gurus on the matter, in our
York. That attorney droned on and on about          attorneys is that when the economy slows,           opinion the best major markets for relocation
how all she did was work on one particular          so does much of the corporate attorneys’            candidates have proven to be California, fol-
type of document used in one particular type        work. In fact, when layoffs occur in law firms      lowed by the East Coast legal market followed
of transaction. The attorney looked at her          corporate attorneys are often the first to go.      by Chicago. All of this is certainly tempered, to
work in a real negative way because that was        At one point in the early 1990s, for instance,      some extent, by the observations above about
the only thing she knew how to do and the only      there was one open corporate position in the        the types of attorneys that are likely to be
thing she had done the entire 5 years she had       entire City of Los Angeles. In early 2000, there    marketable.
practiced law.                                      were probably in excess of 100. This manic          The State of California alone comprises one
                                                    up and down demand for corporate attorneys          sixth of the World Economy. This status as
In some respects, this may seem like a bad          means that a corporate attorney’s likelihood        a market should give you a good indication
thing. Nevertheless, an attorney with special-      of relocating is extremely dependent upon the       that there is a strong demand for attorneys
ized skills such as these can be truly market-      state of the economy.

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   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                                                    1. 800. 973.1177

here and also that the hiring trends we see in       While a second or third year attorney can cer-     attorneys to move up and down the Eastern
California can be impacted to a great degree         tainly afford a home in this area, the homes do    Seaboard. An attorney may practice in Wash-
by the health of the economy at a given point        not come cheap. Apartment or other types of        ington, DC for a few years, for instance, before
in time.                                             housing is, however, cheaper than in NewYork       returning home to Boston where he or she will
                                                     City.                                              join another major firm. We have seen a lot of
In California, the best markets for relocation                                                          this type of movement, and to a great extent
tend to be Palo Alto, followed by San Fran-          San Francisco is also a good market for lat-       this makes up a great deal of the lateral
cisco and Los Angeles, Orange County and San         eral attorneys; however, in our belief the San     movement in the East Coast and contributes
Diego. The growth in the number of attorneys         Francisco market is slightly more competitive      to the East Coast legal market being a fluid
in these markets in recent years has been            and there are fewer ongoing opportunities in       one for relocating. In many respects, this also
fueled largely by attorneys who relocated here       this market than in the Palo Alto area most        mirrors California where attorneys may move
from out of state. In particular lateral attor-      of the time. San Francisco tends to attract a      from Los Angeles to San Francisco and vice
neys in these markets have always been and           great many attorneys from all over the United      versa. While these are technically relocations,
will likely continue to be in demand.                States who are drawn by the lifestyle and ro-      in other respects they are not because they do
                                                     mance of the City. In the rush to the Bay Area     not involve the same issues that a traditional
We serve over 1,000 firms in the State of            in the late 1990s and early 2000, the majority     relocation or cross- country relocation does.
California and interact with many of these           of the attorneys we saw gain employment in
firms on a day-to-day basis. As recruiters, it       the Bay Area did so in Palo Alto and not in San    New York and Washington, DC have particular-
is interesting for us to see how the different       Francisco proper.                                  ly strong markets for attorneys with corporate
areas of California demand attorneys.                                                                   expertise relocating there. While this market
                                                     The market in San Francisco and Palo Alto          for corporate attorneys has cooled a great
Probably the strongest legal market in the           is generally best for attorneys with strong        deal in the Year 2001, some observations
United States for attorneys relocating is the        backgrounds in corporate law and intellectual      about the state of the market should be noted.
Palo Alto area, in our opinion. The Palo Alto        property type matters. In early 2001, there
area may not have the largest number of jobs;        has been a major slowdown in the hiring of         First, in the Year 2000 the market for corpo-
however, for skilled attorneys, their odds of        corporate attorneys in the Palo Alto and San       rate attorneys in New York, in particular, was
getting a position in this market are higher         Francisco area, and even some of the largest       incredibly strong. We were seeing attorneys
than in most other markets. One reason for           names in the legal profession have begun           who a year prior would not have had a chance
this is that Palo Alto is a growing market.          laying off attorneys. Many of these attorneys      with certain firms getting multiple inter-
While we have all heard stories about layoffs        are attempting to go elsewhere in the United       views with top firms. Attorneys who were at
and so forth in this market, it is notable that it   States or California.                              mid-sized firms in places like Cleveland were
continues to attract satellite offices of major                                                         getting interviews and jobs with some of the
firms throughout the United States on an             We should add, however, that despite this          top firms in New York. This experience was
ongoing basis. When these satellite offices are      slowdown there does remain a demand for            mirroring to some extent what was going on in
established, they quickly demand attorneys           many types of attorneys in this area. Litigators   California.
and, in order to fill their hiring needs, are        and labor and employment attorneys with top
often quick to hire star talent.                     credentials moving from one part of California     The fact about the New York legal market is
                                                     to this area with will generally get multiple      that it has always been a market of transient
One reason this market is so good for lateral        interviews. Patent prosecutors and real estate     attorneys for the most part, and this bodes
attorneys is that most of the attorneys practic-     attorneys relocating to this area of the United    well for those seeking to relocate. Many first
ing in this area are also transients and many,       States (from other states) with top credentials    and second year attorneys in New York look at
many of these attorneys lateral here from            will also get multiple interviews.                 their experience in a New York firm as tempo-
other firms in other parts of the United States.                                                        rary in all respects.
Contrary to many of the impressions attorneys        The East Coast legal markets, including New
from other parts of the United States have of        York City, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia,      The Chicago legal market has consistently
the Palo Alto area, it is not entirely a lifestyle   Boston and Philadelphia are also very strong       proven that it is a good market for attorneys
type of place. Many of the attorneys practicing      markets for lateral attorneys who are relo-        to relocate into. However, we should note
here commute long distances to work because          cating. One reason for the relative strength       that the hiring criteria of Chicago firms does
permanent housing is extremely expensive.            of these markets is that it is common for          not appear as vulnerable to the tides of the

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   CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER                                                                         1.800. 973. 1177

economy with respect to attorneys relocat-          C. Conclusions
ing to this market. For example, during the         As a truly national search firm, we have the
hiring frenzy of last year and the prior year for   distinction of being able to have a pulse on
corporate attorneys, this frenzy did not appear     the markets throughout the United States
nearly as strong in Chicago. While Chicago is       and, to some extent, even the World. As a
a good legal market, it traditionally has been      national search firm, we believe we are better
much more conservative in its approach to           equipped to handle the relocation needs of at-
relocations. The quality level of the attorneys     torneys than any search firm we know of.
must generally, and consistently, be high. For
the most part, we have seen more demand for
litigators relocating here-and more receptive-
ness to them-than in other markets. Addition-
ally, many of the individuals who relocate
to Chicago are originally from there or have
some sort of connection with the City.

2. Smaller Markets
Smaller markets are often very receptive to
lateral attorneys. We were astounded by the
number of lateral attorneys we placed in the
Seattle market last year, for instance, and
have been getting a steady clip of opportuni-
ties in markets such as Arizona. Additionally,
we have seen some interesting activity in
markets like Florida and Michigan that, for the
most part, are not considered major markets.
The key to lateraling into smaller markets is
that these markets are not traditional destina-
tions for top attorneys when they graduate
from law school, and these markets-like all
markets-have attrition and need to get at-
torneys to fill the roles of attorneys who have
left. Another aspect of the smaller markets is
that many are growing. Seattle is a perfect ex-
ample. This market has seen the likes of some
of California’s top firms open offices there
recently because there is so much work.
While a market like Phoenix may not seem all
that developed, we have been amazed by how
receptive this market may be to certain types
of attorneys. For example, for a tax attorney
with an LLM in taxation from a top law school,
they may share their academic achievements
with less than 10 attorneys in the entire legal
market. Accordingly, this market may be open
to people with well-defined specialties to a
greater extent than many other markets.


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