Small Towns That Pay Attorneys Big City Salaries

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Most of you graduated law school with dreams of big cities, big salaries and Big Law.

Sorry. If it hasn't happened yet, it isn't happening anytime soon.

But if you're still intent on raking in a six-figure salary, the ABA Journal is touting 10 smaller legal markets that pay just as much, if not more, than their regional metropolis counterparts.

Though a six-figure income can go a long way in these fly-over cities, the list represents an odd mixture of Southern hicksville, Midwestern small town, and Western nothingness. A few also seem to have crime rates that rival Detroit.

If you're a fan of golf and drag boats (yeah, no clue either) you might want to consider Augusta, Georgia and neighboring Richmond County, South Carolina. Home to The Masters, the region has weathered the recession much better than nearby Atlanta. But as one Facebook group proclaims, you might be bored.

Another possibility is Rockford, Illinois, which boasts a starring role in that Madonna/Rosie O'Donnell movie A League of Their Own. According to the article, local attorneys make more than their Chicago colleagues. Confused? It's a trick. The local schools are horrific and the crime rate is high. Salaries are only competitive because no one wants to live there.

Perhaps the best suggestion is Modesto, California, farm country extraordinaire. And home to the Modesto Nuts, a minor league baseball team. Local insurance conglomerates are hiring, according to the ABA Journal, and salaries have to compete with those in Sacramento and San Francisco. So, if you don't care about your lungs, your car, or your sanity, Modesto may be the place for you.

What the ABA is really saying is that you can have the money, but you might have to give up on civilization or risk being shot.

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