Are There Advantages to Going to a Big City Law School?
If you always wanted to move to a particular big city, choosing a law school located there could be a great way to start laying down your roots. In addition to potentially meeting some local students, professors, and lawyers, it'll be simple to network among your motley class of transplants from different cities and states, who probably also have dreams of laying down their own roots in the city.
It really depends on what you want for your career. Often, once you're licensed in a state, changing locations might be more difficult than you might expect.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Going to school in a big city can increase your chances of landing a job in that city simply for the alumni factor. Proximity can often translate into a high likelihood that a partner or someone with some clout went to the same local law school. While qualifications matter, often it is that je ne sais quoi that's most important, and that can often be an alumni affiliation. Firms often look to hire local law students for internships and clerkships as well.
The reverse (well, it's sort of the reverse) can also be true. If you go to school in a big city that churns out lots more lawyers than other schools in the region, there's a higher chance that you'll run into alumni (with the ability to hire) from that city in other places throughout the state and country.
You'll Be Near More and Bigger Courthouses
The best way to see the law in action, besides working with a practitioner, is by observing actual proceedings. In a big city, you'll have more courthouses to choose from, maybe even a federal or appellate court, and a more diverse docket, and more opportunities to network with practicing attorneys.
If you're observing a small calendar, don't be shy or bashful when you get called out by the judge and asked who you are. That's an opportunity. So dress professionally and don't use your phone when the judge is in the courtroom (first impressions matter, so bring a pen and paper and learn to doodle if you have to).
You'll Be in a Big City
If you're a city person, you're a city person. If you're not, and you've never given it a chance, you owe it to yourself to try. You don't have to go all out and move to New York City or San Francisco, as there are more affordable options. City living can provide the very best modern convenience life has to offer. Additionally, most big cities offer quite a lot of everything for everybody. Whatever you want, there's a good chance you can find it in every major city.
You Might Not Have to Live in the City
Depending on which city you choose, you might not need to actually live there. Many have reliable public transit systems, and as a student, train time means extra time to study, read, or play games on your phone. If you're after rural living, this might not cut it for you. But if you dream of living in your own little slice of suburbia, this could let you get the advantages of going to school and working in a big city, without the headache of having to live there.
- Lawyers, Move to the Country. Cities Have Nothing for You. (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Pros and Cons of Small Town Lawyering (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- The 10 Worst Cities for Young Attorneys (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)