Most lawyers work in private and corporate law offices. Some work for federal, local and state governments. Most work full time and many work more than 40 hours a week. After comparing hundreds of cities, we found that larger cities have higher wages and job demand, along with a higher cost of living.
Major cities also have higher concentrations of law firms, companies and organizations, providing more opportunities to practice different areas of law and form legal partnerships. Here's a breakdown of the top 10 cities for lawyers. As the nation's political epicenter, Washington has the highest location ratio of the top 10 cities, making it the best location in terms of job demand and lawyer population. Washington also has nine times more lawyers per capita than New York City, making it an ideal place to network and learn from other accomplished lawyers.
Now let's take a look at the 10 cities at the bottom of this list. These smaller cities scattered across the country had lower average salaries, as well as lower demand for work, making them less ideal for lawyers seeking career opportunities. They also deal with basic human rights, civil rights lawyers do extremely important work. Sometimes they work for nonprofits, but they often work in other practice areas while taking these cases for free.
Nearly half of all New York lawyers work in Manhattan, only a quarter live there. Working in a corporate law firm often comes with big responsibilities and a huge salary, but with smaller law firms, lawyers can expect more varied work, flexible work schedules, and more hands-on experience. Different cities present different types of opportunities for both new and practicing lawyers, whether you are thinking of becoming a partner, specializing in certain branches of law, or starting your own law firm. The Legal Aid Society, the “leading legal provider for New York City's poor,” as described in a recent New York Times article detailing how it was recently saved from bankruptcy, employs 1,396 people (not all of them lawyers, of course).