• You might wonder why New York City attorneys seem to often be at the top of the legal profession.
  • They have mystique and cache.
  • They’re like the supermen and superwomen of law practice.
  • Here are the top 10 reasons New York City attorneys are regarded so highly.
Learn why New York City attorneys at major law firms are often at the top of the legal profession.

New York law firms have unparalleled mystique and command extremely high regard from other firms, attorneys, legal clients, and the market generally. This article explores why. There is really no single reason that top New York firms are considered the best. Rather, it is the combination of numerous factors that serve to make them what they are. It is this combination of factors that also has the effect of making New York law firm attorneys the best and most highly trained and competent attorneys in the country. If you want to learn the skills to be at the top of the legal profession there are many good places to do so, but there is no place that is consistently better than New York.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

There is a level of prestige that attorneys from these firms have that is not dissimilar from the prestige of having attended an Ivy League law school. This is often confusing to attorneys from the South, Chicago, Texas, and the West Coast—as such attorneys may have a more parochial understanding of the relative prestige levels of top firms in New York versus other locations. If I am working with two otherwise equivalent candidates relocating to other parts of the country, one from a top New York City law firm and the other from a top West Coast or Chicago firm, the attorney from the top New York City firm is generally the one that gets the best reception.
  1. Prestigious New York Law Firms Serve Large, Cost-Averse Clients That Can Select Any Law Firm They Want for Their Legal Work and Attorneys Associated with Such Selectivity Get a “Halo Effect”

New York City is a very expensive city to do business in, live in, and work in. The taxes are extremely high for the people working there, it is very crowded and a difficult place to live in or commute to, and it is not easy to raise a family in the city. There is also a lot of competition for the best legal talent, so law firms need to pay high salaries to attract it. Office space is very expensive, as is administrative support and all of the other things necessary to run a law firm. Consequently, the rates that the largest New York City law firms charge typically need to be very high to offset all of these costs. In many New York City law firms, the rates of a junior associate are higher than those of partners in midsized to smaller cities.
Because of the high costs, the more prestigious New York City law firms typically do work for the companies that can afford them—which are the largest, most cost-averse clients in the market. These are giant, profitable corporations that can throw off lots of money and are only willing to spend this sort of money so long as they receive the absolute best possible work from their attorneys. Most large New York law firms serve successful companies all over the country. They are not just doing work for companies in the area. The reason for this is because the most successful companies, with the most significant legal problems, are looking for the best legal help they can find. They believe that sending their work to New York City and spending this additional money will give them equivalent benefits in terms of favorable outcomes on deals and lawsuits.