Top four US cities for attorneys looking to relocate

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If you’re a lawyer and thinking about relocating, the US offers some of the best career opportunities in the world.

Our top four cities for lawyers are not just the best for your legal career, but the ones that offer amazing culture, diversity and opportunity.

We take at a look at some of the benefits for lawyers making a move to one of these great cities - could a move be on the cards for you?


Chicago boasts an incredibly diverse economy. The Second City serves as headquarters for a multitude of Fortune 1000 companies, particularly in agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance and pharmaceuticals. 

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the largest futures exchange in the world making the city a financial hub in the mid-west. All this economic vibrancy drives the nation’s third-largest legal market. Additionally, Chicago is home to many satellite offices for AmLaw200 firms, as well as regional and boutique law firms. 

Best for:

  • Agribusiness
  • Energy
  • Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • Tech
  • Life Sciences
  • Real Estate

Washington D.C. 

It goes without saying that Washington D.C. is home to some of the most complex and timely areas of law in the country. Home to the federal government, many of its departments, agencies, and contractors are based here. Moreover, D.C. has nine times more lawyers per capita than New York City. 

Litigation is unsurprisingly one of the most popular areas of law in D.C., often with a government-facing aspect. Additionally, D.C. lawyers are paid exceptionally well by comparison to their peers nationally, and the comparatively low cost of housing makes Washington D.C. an attractive place to many young lawyers.

Best for:

  • Lititgation
  • Investigations
  • Privacy
  • Antitrust
  • Intellectual property
  • M&A and capital markets

New York City

Undoubtedly, New York City is home to some of the most competitive and high-profile areas of law in the country, if not the world. As the financial hub of the U.S., investment banking, real estate and tax law remain some of the top law fields for legal professionals.

Additionally, New York is widely regarded as a transient city, so lateral moves for lawyers are much easier than that of smaller cities. New York yields some of the best training young lawyers can get as well as boasting the highest salaries, the best offices, and the best social events in which to woo and entertain clients. Only this month, New York has overtaken London as the world’s top financial center. Aside from professional reasons that draw lawyers of all kinds to New York, legal professionals get to live in one of the most exciting cities in the Western world.

Best for:

  • Finance
  • Investment banking
  • Real estate
  • Intellectual property
  • Tax
  • Litigation
  • Labor and employment
  • Biotech

San Francisco

Very few cities in the world are as renowned for its tech ventures than San Francisco and the surrounding Silicone Valley. Silicon Valley employs roughly a quarter of a million people in tech occupations, so this naturally gives way to the need for some of the country’s most prominent lawyers.

As arguably the trendiest city in the nation’s most populous state, real estate law remains on the rise in California. Named as the greenest city in North America, business is always booming in the environmental law space. There's also plenty of corporate and finance work courtesy of the always-buzzing Financial District. In short, San Francisco offers the perfect backdrop for those lawyers looking for a laid-back lifestyle coupled with the most exciting and timely areas of law.

Best for:

  • Tech
  • Intellectual property
  • Real estate
  • Litigation
  • Corporate
  • Tax
  • Healthcare
  • Environment

Thinking about a job change? Here are six signs it could be time.

Or, for further information on how Robert Walters can assist with your job search, contact Aleea Cherry - legal recruitment
+1 212 704 9900

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