A contract attorney currently working at a law firm in the Midwest contacted me looking to move to Seattle. The attorney had excellent qualifications but the firm they were currently working for was not that busy. In fact, the attorney only had enough work to keep themselves busy as a contract attorney. The attorney had excellent qualifications but because a law firm did not have enough work, they were interested in investigating other opportunities. The attorney spent time in Seattle with friends and thought a move there would be something they would enjoy.
You can never tell what’s going to happen when you relocate to another area. It is difficult for an attorney to simply pick up when they’re in one area— such as this attorney who is not in a major market in the Midwest—and try to completely relocate to another area. Moreover, Seattle is a long way from a midsize market in the Midwest.
Despite the fact that this attorney did not have substantial contacts with Seattle, they did have a good background and had done very well academically at a midwestern law school. Also, while working as a contract attorney they received environmental-related experience. Finally, prior to working at the attorney’s current firm they worked in environmental law for both the government and a leading environmental law firm in the Midwest. The attorney held environmental experience and seemed to be the sort who could do well in a major law firm anywhere in the country.
Despite the strength of the attorney’s qualifications, even I was surprised at how robust the reception was. Within a few days of submitting the attorney to an initial list of firms, at least four firms indicated an interest in speaking with the attorney. Within a week or so, the attorney was on an all-expense-paid trip to Seattle to interview with several of the law firms. The attorney ultimately accepted an offer with a law firm that had a very strong environmental practice area and ended up moving their within six weeks of their initial contact with me.
While environmental law will probably never be as busy as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it is still a very popular practice area. Attorneys with experience in environmental law end up doing quite well when they search for a position in certain markets. The Seattle market is one that at that particular time was hungry for environmental attorneys. Had the attorney been searching in New York City or other markets, they may not have been received as well. Regardless, this did not seem to matter as the attorney quickly transitioned to a market hungry for their experience.