Question: I graduated from Columbia and have been working as a corporate lawyer in a big downtown firm for the last six months. For personal reasons (my significant other, whom I met only a couple of months before graduating from law school), I want to move to the Bay Area as soon as possible. I have several questions:

  1. Will the fact that I am leaving a law firm after such a short time make it very difficult for me to find a new job?
  2. Should I provide details as to the reasons for my plans in the cover letter that I am sending to law firms on the West Coast?
  3. Do I have to disclose information about the law firm I am working at right now when I am interviewing in the West Coast?
  4. How long before I plan to leave should I give a notice to my current law firm?

Answer: Your questions are fairly easy and straightforward to answer but, before I do, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

You met your significant other about 8 months ago. You have told us that this individual is on the West Coast and that you work at a major law firm in New York. Since about 3000 miles separate the two of you and, more than likely you don't have a tremendous amount of free time, I can't imagine that the two of you see one another that frequently. Do you really know one another well enough to uproot yourself and move to California?

Look, I really don't want to get into your personal life, but you should make sure that you know what you are getting into before you decide to make such a big move. Eight months of a long distance romance may seem like an eternity, but have you truly spent enough time with this person to know for sure that you are ready to move to the Bay Area just for him or her? Have you spent much time in San Francisco? If something should happen with your relationship, would you still want to live there? Are you aware that San Francisco is even more expensive to live in than New York City? Have you floated the idea of moving to the left coast by your friends and family? What are their thoughts?