Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Phoenix? Vegas? Denver?

Hello. I will graduate from a Los Angeles area law school th treefiddy02/07/18
Avoid Vegas like the plague. Residential turnover is high, qdllc02/07/18
I think it is naive to believe that three locations that hav trollfeeder02/07/18
Denver is a saturated market. Perhaps not to the extent as t nighthawk02/07/18
Las Vegas is an awesome place to spend 3-5 days but an atroc 3rdamendmentscholar02/07/18
Denver is too expensive and Phoenix is too dull. I'd sho onehell02/07/18
Without any knowledge of those three job markets, my bigger jd4hire02/07/18
I've heard a lot of great things about living in Colorado (a dilemma201802/07/18
You should be thinking in terms of states (not cities) becau passportfan302/08/18
Good point. sillydood02/08/18
Denver, no question. sillydood02/08/18
treefiddy (Feb 7, 2018 - 3:44 am)

Hello. I will graduate from a Los Angeles area law school this May and am considering relocating to one of these three cities, in order of preference as listed. Does anyone have any experience in these places, or any insight into the job markets?

I'm under the impression that jobs for newly barred lawyers are slightly less scarce in the cities listed than in LA, due to far fewer local grads and less candidates looking to relocate from the NE, etc. The attractions are lower cost of living, better quality of life, and a smaller legal community to become a part of.

Anticipated practice will be small-mid firm handling civil litigation matters, with a slight possibility of applying to PD/DA offices. I'm interested in getting a general idea of job availability, firm life, and how folks that relocated from a larger city (like LA) have enjoyed the transition.

Thanks in advance.

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qdllc (Feb 7, 2018 - 5:57 am)

Avoid Vegas like the plague. Residential turnover is high, so if you aren’t being recruited to come to Vegas, you won’t be taken seriously until you’ve lived there a couple of years.

I’d prefer Denver (or it’s suburbs) over Phoenix, but that’s just my preference.

Besides, you’d be awash in law school grads from the local school.

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trollfeeder (Feb 7, 2018 - 10:49 am)

I think it is naive to believe that three locations that have some of the largest growth over the past decade, is going to be a diamond in the rough for a new grad.

Where did you intern last summer? How has your job search been so far. If you are only starting to look now, you are a year behind just about everybody. I made a similar mistake, and realized it late in the game. Trying to move somewhere you don't have any ties is not going to make it easy. You can certainly apply to pd jobs in rural parts of those states, to get your foot in the door.

Have to expectation that every firm has had students from nearby schools clerking there since last summer, and you can only hope that one of them move on to a better firm, giving you an opportunity to swoop in.

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nighthawk (Feb 7, 2018 - 10:56 am)

Denver is a saturated market. Perhaps not to the extent as the Northeast or LA, it is still saturated. Denver is also not that inexpensive. While not LA prices, Denver has recently become quite expensive. Denver has a fair amount of corporations so theoretically that might be a place to go. However, you're looking to do civil litigation of consumer/individual matters. If you had an "in" with the local crowd then go there despite the saturation. Most likely, any small firm employer that is looking to hire doing PI/ID/family/small employment/immigration/L & T etc. will probably consider a local candidate before he/she will even consider you.

If you move there and network and do things to improve your resume then you have a good shot of being successful. If you go there with the idea that you have a JD and someone will just hire you, probably not going to happen. My guess is that there is more doc review in LA than there is in Denver, Phoenix or LV.

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3rdamendmentscholar (Feb 7, 2018 - 12:17 pm)

Las Vegas is an awesome place to spend 3-5 days but an atrocious place to live. Phoenix is a hot, sprawling, culturally devoid trash hole. Denver is a pretty cool place. Realistically, you’ll struggle at first to find a job in any of them so pick the one you can see yourself living in the most.

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onehell (Feb 7, 2018 - 2:05 pm)

Denver is too expensive and Phoenix is too dull.

I'd shoot for Vegas. It's dirt cheap to live there and a lot of fun, especially if you're single and in your 20s. A relative of mine who lives there bought a house with an in-ground pool for 130k.

The problem though, is that Vegas is very insular. The relative I just mentioned eventually got a sweet union job with one of the casinos, but it took like 2 years to break in and finally get to the front of the line against all the nepotism beneficiaries. The law firms similarly seem to be dominated by local good-ol-boys so it's tough to break in without a very well-established connection to the place. Also their bar has no reciprocity with any other state, so if you get licensed there it isn't as portable as a license from CO or AZ.

So I'd put PHX at #2. Yeah it's dull sea of strip malls and mcmansions , but it is a much bigger metro area and there are simply more jobs available, with a COL that is also pretty cheap in a lot of areas.

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jd4hire (Feb 7, 2018 - 4:15 pm)

Without any knowledge of those three job markets, my bigger question is whether any of them are attractive to you? They are radically different cities. Vegas wouldn't be my cup of tea.

I'd go Denver, but that's because I love hiking, mountains, skiing, and beer. Phoenix is ridiculously hot in the summer and from when I've been there, I've felt like it's repetitive urban sprawl.

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dilemma2018 (Feb 7, 2018 - 6:13 pm)

I've heard a lot of great things about living in Colorado (assuming you can find a good gig there of course). However, not everyone wants to live where there is ice and snow. I'm from the South and know a lot of people for whom that would be hell. Despite the hot summers in Phoenix, some like that environment better or simply buy a house with a pool.

As far as quality of life, that is so relative--some people want to be able to buy a nice house so for them, that will be the driving force. Others like jd4hire above stated a love of mountains and skiing. I know for me when I think quality of life I immediately think how nice a home I can have, cost of living related to salary--figure if those factors are a go, one can always vacation.

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passportfan3 (Feb 8, 2018 - 2:33 am)

You should be thinking in terms of states (not cities) because your law license is state-wide.

A license in a large state like California gives you a lot of options. You can try for BigLaw, or move to mid-size city, or take that rural government job, or work in-house for an argibusiness.

You have very few choices if you are barred only in a small state.

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sillydood (Feb 8, 2018 - 1:10 pm)

Good point.

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sillydood (Feb 8, 2018 - 1:10 pm)

Denver, no question.

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