Maybe you've failed the bar exam ... multiple times. Or you passed the bar, but after getting laid off from a $30,000/year job, you've realized that the state of legal affairs in your state leaves little hope for the future. Maybe you're a third-year law student, with few job prospects, and you're trying to figure out where to set up your refrigerator box for a few months of post-grad homelessness.
You've got a lot of factors to consider when choosing your future state. Do you want to aim for the Bible Belt, or live amongst hipsters in Seattle? Do you have any family in that state from which you can mooch off of for a few
weeks, months years? And, of course, there are the important considerations:
Can I Pass the Bar?
Earlier this year, a law professor ranked the states' bar exams by difficulty. California, as legend would predict, was the most difficult. Which state came in second? That'd be Arkansas. New York, another exam of legendary difficulty, landed at 12th.
Though a few states seem to be missing from the rankings, the five easiest were South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, and Montana.
Are There Bars?
Where is the most livable place in America (for those 35 and under), according to Voactiv's extremely scientific livability index? Portland, followed by Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and Minneapolis. The exhaustive study based its rankings on the things most important to recent grads, including:
youngest population, lowest unemployment rate, lowest average rent, cheapest gas, cheapest electricity, cheapest food and drink, public transportation, green commuter (bike lines) index, cheapest internet, highest salary, Laundromats per capita, coffee shops per capita, vintage clothing per capita, cheap takeout, cheapest manicures and pedicures, highest percentage of young single people, most music venues per capita, cheapest cigarettes, cheapest beer, and cheapest ounce of high-quality marijuana.
Cuz, ya know, lifestyle and all, right? And if one of those factors (salary, perhaps?) is more important, you can view the rankings by criteria, instead of factoring in weed and thrift stores. (Sidebar: How the hell S.F. makes it, with it's next-to-Manhattan rents, is beyond us. No doubt it is the prevalence of vintage clothing and good takeout.)
Where's Everyone Else Going?
Vegas, baby. And Austin. And Florida.
The University of Wisconsin, using data from the National Institutes of Health, tracked population migration in the United States to see where the growth areas are. From a brief glimpse, the purple grown areas include Austin and Vegas (#2 and #6 on the Livability Index, respectively).
Will I Fit In?
If laundromats, vintage clothing, and substance abuse aren't the building block of your idea of a good time, Time Magazine has a personality test that matches you to your ideal state, based on openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Who's Not Hiring?
Oh yeah, employment. Lawyerly employment. Law School Tuition Bubble ranked the states earlier this year by most and least law grads per job opening.
Avoid: Mississippi, Michigan, Delaware, Nebraska, and Vermont.
Consider: Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, New Jersey, Arizona.
Vegas. It ranked #6 in livability, Nevada was #3 in grads-per-job, and the population is growing. Granted, Nevada has the fifth most difficult bar exam, but at least there will be a beer and a job waiting for you afterwards.
Where is your Utopia? Tweet it to us @FindLawLP.
- Bar Exam Results ... What to Do When You Get Them (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
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- Quarter-Life Crisis: Tips for the 'New Lost Generation' (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)