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Want Your Attorney Salary to Go Further? Leave NYC for Dallas

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 31, 2011 6:44 AM

Attention attorneys: Want to know where you should move to stretch your dollar? NALP has the best cities for attorney salaries. Just take a look at the "buying power index" for the class of 2010.

The buying power index illustrates the difference in purchasing power between two cities.

Apparently, Texas is at the top of the charts. Dallas leads the way, as an associate who makes $67,870 per year would have the same relative buying power as their New York City counterpart making $150,000 a year.

The second city on the list is Houston. Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston round out the top five.

High cost of living is something most New Yorkers are already painfully aware of.

Want to find an affordable, quaint apartment? Movies and TV shows seem to sell the fact that it's possible. I mean, Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw managed to afford an adorable and clean one-bedroom with a walk-in closet on her columnist and writer's salary.

Unfortunately, entertainment is fiction.

Finding your first New York apartment isn't only onerous, but it's costly. In 2008, The New York Times reported that a one-bedroom apartment in the Village ran an average of $3,100. A studio averaged around $2,200. A one-bedroom with a doorman in Manhattan was close to $3,500. Shelling out $36,000 per year on rent is something that even BigLaw associates might have trouble swallowing.

Of course, this buying power index shouldn't necessarily deter you from your dreams of living in the Big Apple. It just might mean you will have to compromise when it comes to some things, like renting a fabulous apartment.

Not that any of this really matters all that much. Most BigLaw associates probably won't have enough free time to enjoy the luxuries of home in the first place. It won't really matter if you are in Atlanta or Houston - you'll be billing hours for the man most of your days and nights.

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