How Easy Is It to Relocate If You Went to a Second-Tier Law School? |

How Easy Is It to Relocate If You Went to a Second-Tier Law School?


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I have a law degree from a Tier 2 school in California and I
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

I have a law degree from a Tier 2 school in California and I'd like to move to New York, what are the chances that I'll get a good job?Unless you graduate from one of the top 25 law schools (sometimes top 15), a law degree is generally most marketable in the state in which you graduated. The reasoning behind this thinking (followed by most law firms) is that unless a candidate has exceptional qualifications, there is no incentive to pay additional fees to search for an out-of-state attorney, especially if there are several local attorneys looking for jobs. The exceptions to this rule are lawyers with highly specialized skills that are in high demand or work experience in a top law firm.

High demand jobs will always be easy to fill and therefore, the transition from state to state would not be a problem. However, chances are that if you are asking this question, you may not have the higher level science or accounting experience some firms look for when trying to fill the in demand positions. Almost everywhere in the county, firms and corporations would be willing to overlook a mediocre law school in exchange for technical expertise.

Prior experience in a top law firm can also vastly improve an attorney's chances of relocating successfully with a less well-known law school degree. Of course, if you are already working in a top law firm in a major metropolitan area, you most likely succeeded at a top law school, probably making law review or placing in top 10% of your class. If this is not the case, however, and you were able to find a job at a top firm despite that, the prestige of your job will provide you with the credibility that perhaps your law school couldn't provide on a national level.

At a certain point in the career of an attorney, the work experience overshadows the degree in hiring decisions. Unfortunately, when that happens for each firm can be different, so it is impossible to tell when the right time to move is. If your career is still in its early stages, though, you might consider sticking in your home market where your law school will provide you with the kind of connections that you need to get placed at the top firms, if that is your aspiration. If you start out at the local office of a national law firm, that firm may even allow you to transfer to another office without having to look for a new position altogether.

One last thing to note is that good grades can help your cause immensely. While the name of your law school might not carry the same cachet as some others, an incredible performance at a Tier 2 law school (top 5%, top 10%, Managing Editor of Law Review, solid summer associate work) can make you look like a good candidate, no matter what school you graduated from.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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