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In order to be successful with a law degree, is it essential to live in a bigger city?

I am interested in both a nursing career and a degree in law, but I'm worried that if I follow a law degree and decide to stay in my small town, I will not be as successful as I would with a nursing career. #law #attorney #prosecutor #city

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Gordon’s Answer

No, it is not essential to live in a big city to have a successful and fulfilling career as a lawyer. I went to a big city law school in Boston and spent the first 4 years of my career working for 2 medium sized law firms (20-40 lawyers) in Boston. But then we moved to a small town at the far end of Massachusetts where we have lived for nearly 30 years. During that time, I have held a number of jobs as a lawyer, including working for a couple of small law firms (3 or 4 lawyers) in the small city that is next to our town and even going out on my own to open a solo practice for awhile. About 19 years ago I decided to leave private law practice and go "in-house", which means to work for one company as their employee to provide legal advice and services to that company from within. An in-house attorney is often referred to as a company's General Counsel. My first in-house lawyer job was to work for a company that ran a chain of retail toy stores in many malls and shopping centers around the country. I was there for over 8 years and then I had an opportunity to become the General Counsel for a local bank in our area which has now grown to be 5 times as big as when I first started with over 120 branch offices in Massachusetts and 6 other states. I even get to regularly visit Boston again for business, where we have a large office.

There may seem like there are more opportunities for jobs starting out as a lawyer in a big city, but there is often very rewarding work to do in smaller communities as well. You may need to be willing to strike out on your own more, or work with a smaller firm, without the feeling of having a large firm backing you up. Yet, this is often more fulfilling, especially if you get to work with more individual clients to help them solve every day problems in their lives, rather than representing large companies. And sometimes, as in my case, you find unexpected situations where you can work locally in a small town for a growing company with big aspirations, which can give you the best of both worlds by providing larger scale, complex corporate and commercial legal challenges, while you are able to live a very comfortable and happy small-town lifestyle.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your career!

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Doug’s Answer

No. Not all. I am a trial attorney in a large city and have found some of the most intelligent and successful attorneys have resided in smaller areas.

There is an expression though that says "where you have one attorney in a town he or she will starve. But with two, both will prosper."