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.
Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. His most recent contribution to the legal community is Outplacement Attorney Resources (OAR.com), which directly teaches attorneys and law students the best ways to find legal jobs. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.
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 www.BCGSearch.com.