The Advantages of Relocation for Your Legal Career
Relocating to another area of the state, country, or even the world, can be an exciting and worthwhile proposition for an attorney looking to start anew and — potentially — supercharge their career trajectory. Many attorneys consider the possibility of relocating to a different market at some point in their career, but they may not follow-through. After all, relocation can be a frightening prospect. What if the move hampers one’s career? Attorneys tend to be a somewhat risk-averse bunch, so the advantages must be clear and significant.
Let’s explore a few advantages associated with relocating. Consider the following.
Targeting a Vibrant Legal Market
Though the economy is stronger than ever, the legal market is built on specialties — the market for certain specialties is more vibrant in some locations than others (for example, the San Francisco Bay Area is known for its corporate and intellectual property law opportunities, particularly in the tech sector). If you have a specialty or focus area for which you would like to explore better opportunities, then it’s worth targeting a vibrant local market so that your upwards career trajectory is “sharper.”
Starting Over with a Fresh Network
Sometimes, attorneys relocate simply for a fresh start. After working in a local market for a period of time, an attorney might be quite well-acquainted with the legal network and may be feeling stifled by the weight of that familiarity — depending on how much effort the attorney has put into building their personal “brand,” there may be a pre-existing perception of their capabilities that the attorney cannot shake off. Moving to a new market provides an easy way to escape these pre-existing perceptions and develop a more effective personal brand with a different network of people and workplaces.
Firm Culture Differences
Though firm workplace culture varies quite a bit, they tend to track the culture of the larger market with which they engage. Manhattan-based firms — even boutiques — are famously demanding from a work-life balance perspective, and require that attorneys put in significant hours to grow their career. By contrast, firms located in a more regional market (such as greater Los Angeles) are stereotyped as more laid-back in nature.
It can be difficult to accurately determine what the true culture of a firm or in-house legal department is as a third-party. For this reason, we have formed an extensive network of contacts (former clients and others) who have first-hand experience working in various legal workplaces throughout California, and who can provide the insight necessary to evaluate firm culture without having to see through the inauthentic sheen of the workplace’s cultural branding.
In-Demand Attorneys Command Many Offers
Relocating is an excellent way for an attorney with an in-demand skillset (i.e., specialty in a high-end area such as patent law) to explore and compare offers between markets. An entertainment lawyer, for example, may command more (and more competitive) offers from Los Angeles firms than from firms in New York City. If the attorney is willing to relocate to Los Angeles, then they could exercise substantial leverage on the open market and secure a position that satisfies their expectations in a number of ways — work-life balance, high level work, opportunity for growth, and more.
As an attorney, it’s important to consistently “test” the market — not just your local market, but other markets, as well — so that you can identify your true value and make appropriate career decisions. Too often, skilled attorneys with in-demand experience choose to stay in their local market. By doing so, they miss out on opportunities giving them access to substantial career growth. Perhaps the most dangerous career move as an attorney is to stay in the same place for too long without exploring better opportunities, some of which may be in a different location.
Contact Garb Jaffe & Associates for Legal Recruitment Assistance
If you are interested in making a career transition that involves relocating to another part of the country, or even the world, then the experienced Los Angeles legal recruiters here at Garb Jaffe & Associates can help.
We have decades of experience working with attorneys, guiding them through every stage of the recruitment process, from identifying target positions to cleaning up their resumes and practicing for interviews. We benefit from numerous contacts throughout the California legal industry, in boutique firms, Biglaw, and various in-house legal departments — this gives us special insight into the internal goings-on of different workplaces.
Ready to speak to a member of our team about your relocation strategy? Call us at 310-207-0727 or send us a message online to connect. It should be noted that our services are provided free of charge for attorneys — in fact, we are paid by employers to identify and secure attorneys for open positions.
We look forward to working with you.