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Since When Did Atlanta and Austin Lead the Legal Job Market?

It seems like only yesterday that the best legal opportunities were in the Big City, places like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

So how did Atlanta and Austin end up leading the way for legal jobs? According to a new survey, Atlanta brought in 16.3 percent more lawyers last year.

That growth is about 13 percent above the national average! So what are they feeding the lawyers in Georgia?

Non-Traditional Markets

Real estate services firm CBRE said it's about economics. Higher wages plus lower cost-of-living equals more opportunities.

Atlanta was number one in non-traditional markets, followed by Kansas City and Austin. The biggest surprise was Austin, which added jobs at 11.1 percent.

"Austin is a really interesting story, from a lot of perspectives," said Julie Whelan for CBRE. "If you look at why law firms are growing where they are, it's clear that they're following business services in general."

The survey says it's time for law firms to consolidate administrative functions at "centers of excellence."

Traditional Markets

BigLaw firms traditionally have set up shop in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. That's not changing anytime soon.

But for young lawyers the pendulum may be swinging west. In Austin, for example, the cost of living is 7.5 percent lower than Manhattan.

Back in the southeast, on the other hand, the math is even better. The cost of living in Atlanta is 56 percent lower.

"If you have any connection to either city or a burning desire to make a home there, why are you still looking in Manhattan?" asks Joe Patrice at Above the Law.

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