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Is Relocating Worth It for Your Legal Career?

For both new and experience lawyers, the question of whether it's worth it to relocate for a job can be challenging.

While the decision may be simpler for new or younger attorneys that haven't laid down roots in a community, or those that don't have partners or children, the decision to relocate takes courage and entails quite a bit of risk. This is particularly true if partners, children, or more are involved. And that's not to mention the licensing hurdles you'll encounter practicing across state lines.

How to Decide?

First and foremost, deciding to relocate should not be made alone, nor on a whim. You really need to ask yourself whether the new location and the job are right for you, and your career. This is definitely a time to ask the people you trust what they really think. If you have a professional mentor, ask them about whether it's a good move for you. Don't be afraid of speaking candidly about what you want personally and professionally.

While some people may be aptly suited to starting over in a new location, others might struggle, especially if they'll need to pass a bar exam again, or attend networking events.

Good Moves Aren't Always Good

If you decide that a relocation would be good for your career, and would likely be successful, then you need to consider the personal ramifications.

Maintaining a balanced social and family life is good for you as a person and attorney. If the relocation would be too much on your family, or partner, you likely need to understand and be ready to deal with the fact that your moving for work would entail a greater sacrifice from them than you. Conversely, relocating can often present new opportunities for your partner or kids that may not have been available before. The only way to find out is to talk to the people involved, and maybe even their support group, like in laws, teachers, or others who know them well.

Test Drive a New City

One great piece of advice offered up by the sharp minds over at the Harvard Business Review is to try to test drive the relocation first.

While this might be a bit easier to do in a corporate setting, if you're in private practice and have been keeping up with basic office tech, you can always rent one of those long-term stay hotel rooms, grab a virtual office, and see how you like working (remotely) from that location, or how your family, or spouse, likes the area, before committing.

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