Every year some legal news source comes out with a study on "Best Cities For Young Attorneys" or "Best Market for New Lawyers" without considering you actually have to pay to live in those places.
Using the National Jurist's 2012 study on the "Best Cities for Young Attorneys" and Demographia's 2014 survey on housing affordability worldwide, Greedy Associates has come up with our power ranking for the top five affordable cities for young attorneys.
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
Ranked as the seventh most affordable housing market and 33rd best city for young attorneys by National Jurist, Cincinnati comes in as our number five pick for young lawyers.
The median annual salary may only be $65,000, but the average house runs around $142,100, so homeownership is very doable. Sports fans may enjoy that the city hosts both the Reds and the Bengals. And the "Skyline" Chili can keep you warm while you're acclimating to your new setting.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
Yes, another Ohio city made our list as the 28th best city for new attorneys and the eighth most affording housing. Justice Scalia putzed around in Cleveland for a while and it worked out for him, right?
Even if you aren't dead-set on becoming a federal judge, the city boasts a six-figure median salary for attorneys and median housing prices at $127,000 a pop. With some proper saving, a young lawyer could be sitting pretty in a paid-off Cleveland home.
3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Starting off our top three is Pittsburgh, which comes in as Demographia's number one most affordable housing city -- in the world. So while your law school colleagues are spending every last dime in a dirty hovel in New York City or San Francisco, you could be purchasing a house for around $116,000.
The median income for attorneys may only be $78,000, but so long as you're making over $67k, you'd have the same buying power as you might working for average pay in New York City.
2. St. Louis, Missouri
Both National Jurist and Demographia give this city love, ranking at #10 for affordability and #14 for best city for young lawyers. Your average St. Louis lawyer will pull down six figures and almost a fifth of the city is people ages 25 to 34.
Bonus: If you get bored with law, there may still be a dean position open at St. Louis University.
1. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is not only home to Usher and Ted Turner, it's also our number one pick for young lawyers. National Jurist ranked it as the second best city for young lawyers second to D.C. And unlike D.C., housing prices in Hotlanta are the fifth best out of major markets around the globe.
Here's some fun math. Average salary: $135,000. Average house: $152,000. You could buy four houses in Atlanta for the average cost of a home in San Francisco.
It wouldn't be that hard to practice here either; the Georgia bar doesn't even make the top 25 of most difficult state bar exams.
So before you decide to blaze your legal trail in Gotham or the Bay (as fabulous as both metropolises are), maybe browse some job postings in these five metro areas.
Disagree with our choices? Have suggestions? Join the discussion on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.
- What's the Most Affordable City in the World? (Slate)
- Where is the Best Place for a Young Law Grad to Live? (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- The 10 Worst Cities for Young Attorneys (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Small Towns That Pay Attorneys Big City Salaries (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)