CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER 1. 800. 973. 1177
A Long-Range Job Search
[by J. Murray Elwood]
We offer tips to help you discover out-of-town resources and find new career opportunities when moving to a
new geographical location.
AFTER HER DIVORCE, Julia Grant fulfilled a relocation. This service is called reciprocity, which means
life-long ambition and enrolled in law school. that you may be able to use the research and
Summer vacations at the University of Virgin- A long-range job search is obviously more job-listing services of a local law school in the
ia, Julia clerked for Longstreet & Lee, a small, difficult than one closer to home, but many, if area where you are relocating.
general-practice firm in Atlanta. When she not most, of the same job-search techniques
completed her legal studies, Julia was offered apply, and work equally as well thousands of Here is how to obtain reciprocity: The National
a position with the firm and over the past eight miles away. Association of Law Placement’s (NALP) Web
years her work has been in a general civil has excellent links to the reciprocity policies
practice with an emphasis on estate planning. Some Suggestions of member law schools: www.nalp.org/
Now in her early 50s, Ms. Grant is seriously 1. Do Your Homework. If you are not familiar
considering a move to San Francisco. For one with the area where you are relocating, then Unfortunately, some law schools have not
reason, she would like to be geographically your first step is to do some research. The yet linked to this NALP list. As a result, you
closer to a son and daughter who live with Internet can provide you with good back- will find that a good secondary source for law
their families in the area. For another, Julia ground information of what life is like in most school information is Cornell University’s
believes that since she had begun her legal American urban areas. All over the internet, Legal Information Institute. They publish
career as a student law clerk with the firm, she can find a lot of general information about an Internet “Directory of Legal Academia”
and has stayed so long with Longstreet & the community: real estate, educational insti- (www.law.cornell.edu/dla/). With the help of
Lee, that her abilities are taken for granted, tutions, neighborhood profiles, restaurants, either the NALP or the Cornell directory, you
undervalued. Some days she feels that senior and so on. can easily identify the name and address of
members of the firm still treat her as a law the law school most accessible to your new
clerk, rather than as a professional colleague. 2. Connect with People. For all job seekers, location. Next, with this information in hand,
but especially for a relocating lawyer, the contact the director of career services at your
Julia wants very much to move to the Bay answer is the same - the key to a successful own law school and request a letter of reci-
area, but not without the prospects of a new job search in any location, but especially one procity to the law school in your geographical
job. The thought of a long-distance job search beyond the horizon, is contacts, contacts and area of interest.
seems intimidating, since she lacks any legal more contacts. To discover legal job opportu-
contacts in California, far less a sense of the nities in a far-off site, you need to find a way Your law school’s letter will ask that you be
San Francisco legal market. Julia also worries to plug into the experience and expertise - and extended the courtesies of the distant law
that her age might be a hindrance. especially the networks - of lawyers already school’s career placement office. In that way,
working in the area. There are several easily after you move into your new area, you should
Julia Grant’s job long-distance job search available sources for identifying contacts in be able to gain access, not only to the area
illustrates the task often faced by lawyers in an unfamiliar territory: directories, newspapers, and other resources
similarly situated life-situations. For example, provided by the career office, but you will also
new lawyers sometimes look for work in a • Your Law School Career Office be able to browse the local legal job listings
distant area right after law school, military posted there.
lawyers move to another part of the country Even though you may have avoided it during
after several years with the JAG, or lawyers your law school days, the career development Two caveats: Reciprocity is almost never
take up residence in a new geographical area office has a particular service that can be of granted between law schools within the same
because of marriage or a spouse’s corporate enormous benefit to a long-range job seeker. city or close geographic area. So before you
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CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER 1. 800. 973. 1177
seek reciprocity, check the Webs of all local legal climate of the area you are considering. called the others, they said they were expect-
law schools and select the school that would Your next step, if at all possible, should ing her call and would be happy to see her.
seem to be the one whose resources would be to take a week’s “vacation” to visit your Four invited her to lunch.
be most beneficial to the goals of your job geographical area of interest. If this visit
search. coincides with some CLE program, so much Although none of the these lawyers practiced
the better. Next, about three weeks before law in Julia’s particular legal area, they were
Also be aware that a few law school career the time of your visit, introduce yourself with more than willing to share their perceptions of
offices, for reasons best known to the schools a letter to an alumnus living in your targeted San Francisco. Most mentioned the high cost
themselves, do not grant reciprocity to alumni area, briefly describe your plans, say that you of living and all described the California Bar
from other law schools. In addition, most law will be in town at a particular period of time, exam as a challenge. But all were encourag-
schools that do grant the courtesies of their and ask for a few minutes to gain some much ing and three even suggested names of other
career office to out-of-town job seekers will needed advice about the local legal climate. lawyers she should meet.
restrict the use of the reciprocity privilege Very few lawyers will turn down such an ap-
during the hectic days of law firm on-cam- peal from a fellow law alumnus. • The Bar Association in Your Targeted Area
pus interviews, usually from August through
November. Julia Grant discovered that there were about Do not overlook the directories and job-finder
12 University of Virginia Law School alumni resources that are available for relocating
Reciprocity practice varies from law school working in the San Francisco Bay area. To be lawyers in state, county or city bar associa-
to law school, so it makes sense, after you doubly sure, she checked this list against the tions throughout the country. Hieros Gamos
introduce yourself, to ask the career office Martindale & Hubbell listings. She was able (www.hg.org), the law portal, under “Bar
about times and terms of usage. Finally, be to verify nine of the lawyers’ names - six men Associations” has comprehensive state and
advised that for most law career offices reci- and three women. With this information in local listings.
procity does not include career counseling. It hand, and the dates for her West Coast visit
also goes without saying that unemployed law settled, she wrote each of these lawyers a let- When Julia clicked on the San Francisco
school graduates are not permitted to partici- ter that explained her intention to relocate to Bar Association Web site, www.sfbar.org,
pate in on-campus law firm recruiting. the West Coast and requested a brief meeting she could do searches on the names of firm
to introduce herself and obtain some friendly and corporate attorneys, and could identify
• Your Law School Alumni Office advice on the Bay area’s legal climate and lawyers who practiced in her particular area
opportunities. of expertise. Affiliate membership in the San
Most major law schools publish some form Francisco Bar is available to out-of-state
of a law alumni directory - hard copy, CD, or A sample of Julia’s letter is on the follow- lawyers. This membership offers use of the
on-line - that lists information about their ing page. This letter is similar to Calista Association’s office resources, and additional-
law alumni: their names, addresses, firms or Kent’s request for an informational interview ly provides access to job listings. Bar services
agencies, and the kind of law they practice. exampled in Chapter 5. Note how a lawyer are generally the same throughout the coun-
This law alumni directory, if used discreetely, relocating out-of-town can easily adapt the try, but if in doubt, a call to a particular office
can also be a particularly useful resource for same format. Like its counterpart, this alumni will provide information on specific services to
the long-range job seeker. request letter also contains a “Disclaimer” relocating lawyers.
in the third paragraph. These or approximate
If your law alumni directory is reasonably words are essential to one’s request for a • Local Newspapers and Publications
up to date, then use the directory to identify meeting. The disclaimer wording removes any
the names of your law school’s alumni who pressure the reader might feel to provide the Another Web site, www.palidan.com/legal6.
are currently practicing law in your targeted sender with instant job leads. htm, has a comprehensive listing of legal
geographical area. If you’re not sure that the periodicals, local and national. Most of these
alumni information is current, then verify its Julia received a positive reply from seven can be browsed for employment opportunities.
listings through Martindale-Hubbell. It re- of her nine letters. One lawyer said that he If not, consider a short-term subscription to
ally doesn’t matter whether or not these law expected to be in a major trial the week of May a local mass-market newspaper and to the
alumni are practicing law in your particular 12th, but asked her to call the next time she regional or local legal paper.
area of specialization because your prelimi- was in the area. Of the remaining six contacts,
nary research will be focused on the general three wrote or e-mailed back. When Julia 3. Consult the Cost-of-Living Index
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CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER 1. 800. 973. 1177
A critical task for out-of-town career movers $75,000. tance involved in holiday and vacation travel,
is to determine salary requirements for their and so on.
new geographical area. You can easily make For the mathematically challenged, ACCRA
a cost-of-living comparison between your old has a cost-of-living calculator at its own web • Moving Expenses
and new locations. The Cost-of-Living Index site: www.coli.org. This service uses ACCRA’s
is produced by the American Chamber of most recent quarterly Index statistics; the If you have initiated your-of-town move, then it
Commerce Researchers Association (AC- charge is $ 5.00 per search. Purdue Universi- may not be possible to expect moving expense
CRA). These Index numbers, with 100.0 as the ty’s placement office has a free cost-of-living reimbursement from your new employer.
national average, are based on the composite calculator, using slightly earlier Index data But you may be able to include some of these
prices of groceries, housing, utilities, trans- (from 1999), although with a larger number costs as a one-time benefit when negotiating
portation, health care, clothing and entertain- of city Index numbers than those listed at the your compensation package. See Chapter 10.
ment for each of its listed cities. The Index Holland, MI site. http://purdue.placement-
for major metropolitan areas is published manual.com. For comparison with another Journey’s End
quarterly. cost-of-living calculator, you might try: www.
homefair.com. After her meetings with University of Virginia
A sample ACCRA Cost-of-Living Index can law alumni and cost-of-living comparisons,
be found at the Holland, MI, Web site: www. A note about cost-of-living figures: Remem- Julia decided to shift the focus of her job-
holland-chamber.org/hcccstlv.htm. This site ber, when using a Web cost-of-living calcula- search from San Francisco to the Sacramento
uses ACCRA data for the first quarter, 2001. tor, that Index numbers cited for a particular area. Her daughter and family lived in Sacra-
With simple math, Julia Grant can come up city may vary significantly from one Web site mento, a drive of only about an hour and a half
with an estimate of the level of compensation to another. These variables in Index ratings away from San Francisco, but the cost of living
she would require in the San Francisco area, appear to be due to the date of the Index in Sacramento seemed more in line with that
with a cost-of-living index of 179.8, to at least figures on which the individual calculators are of Atlanta.
match the buying power of her present salary, derived.
in the Atlanta area, where the Index is 101.8. Over the next month, Julia’s follow-up efforts
4. Special Considerations resulted in an offer from a Sacramento law
To calculate the San Francisco Bay equivalent firm (contingent on her passing the California
of a $52,000 Atlanta area salary, Julia would • Bar Admission bar) and two offers from investment com-
use this simple formula: panies to work with their clients in estate
An out-of-state legal employer will normally planning services. She accepted one of the
San Francisco: Atlanta (179.8 x $52,000) / require admission to the bar of that state. Bar investment firms’ offers. This position did not
101.8 = $ 91,842 exams vary from state to state in their dif- require bar membership, but her law degree
ficulty and requirements. Information on state would be an excellent credential. Julia’s re-
Cost-of-living comparisons between some bar admissions may be obtained online from muneration, factoring in benefits, anticipated
cities are surprising. Suppose that Julia the ABA’s Guide to Bar Admissions at: www. commissions, and cost-of-living, would be
receives an impressive offer of $75,000 from abanet/legaled/bar.html substantially higher than her salary with the
a San Francisco firm. To evaluate that offer in Atlanta law firm. Her long-range job search
Atlanta dollars, she would reverse the order • Interviewing ended successfully.
of the cities in the formula and come up with
the buying power of the San Francisco offer: In your out-of-town marketing meetings,
make your reasons for relocation clear. Em-
Atlanta: San Francisco (101.8 x $ 75,000) / ployers, in areas with large transient popula-
179.8 = $ 42, 464 tions, can be suspicious of the stability of job
applicants, unless assured of the legitimacy
In terms of buying power, she would obvi- of their motives. In her marketing meetings
ously be taking a cut in salary, even though a and job interviews, Julia should explain in very
quick glance at the raw figures would suggest positive language her reasons for deciding to
a generous salary increase of $52,000 to move from Atlanta - her family ties, the dis-