Allison grew up in The Woodlands, a short drive north of downtown Houston. Despite going to school in Arizona, she knew that coming back to Houston was the best decision for her. And not only because she missed the tacos! There are so many benefits to being a professional in a big city.
But there are challenges as well, with long commutes being just one of them. She recommends all young attorneys think about what’s important to them as they evaluate the best place to make their professional home. Whether you’re from a large metropolis already or considering making the move from a small, rural town, here are my thoughts on why she loves being a professional in a bigger metropolis.
More Networking Opportunities – Building your network in a city is far easier due to the simple fact of the numbers game. More people = more opportunities. Most cities will have professional organizations, many of which cater to women in the field (like the National Association of Women Lawyers), enabling you to grow your network, engage in important discussions of current trends, and find mentoring partnerships.
More Job Opportunities – She is a successful DWI attorney in the Houston area, which regularly posts some of the highest rates of impaired driving in the country. In a large city, diversity and increased population provide more opportunities for young lawyers to find their specialization.
Better Pay – While more women are entering the field and narrowing the wage gap, we’re less inclined to be self-employed and as we mature, our earnings stagnate. Big city living, however, can mean a big city salary. In her hometown of Houston, attorneys make about 9% more than average and that figure is growing.
More Competition – As female attorneys, we know all too well the pressure and competition we face in a male-dominated industry. And in bigger cities, those conditions are amplified. However, strong competition can also be a good thing. When the big firms enact policies that pay entering lawyers more, other firms follow suit. The same can be said of firms who make it a priority to hire more women and other minorities. She has found that in bigger cities, competition drives positive change.
More Choices – There are big differences between working in a small firm vs. a large one. Smaller firms typically give you more client interaction, a faster partner track, and more flexibility when it comes to working hours. The larger firms boast higher salaries, bigger clients, and lots of room to build a career. In a big city, you are presented with a variety of options, with firms of every size available, allowing you to establish a career path without restrictions.
The right choice for your career is specific to your needs, your lifestyle, your family, and so much more than your profession. No matter what you choose, know that there are networks dedicated to your professional success. Whether you decide to live in the big city or move to the suburbs or move to a town of just 5,000 people, be sure to assess all the pros and cons before making your decision.