Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've recently started looking for jobs outside of Chicago.  Having looked around a bit, I'm now weighing the pros and cons of going somewhere else.  Namely, downstate Illinois.

- I'd be a lawyer.
- I'd get experience. 
- I grew up downstate, so it wouldn't be that bad.
- I have family ties down there, so, arguably, it would be easier to find a job.
- I'm sure, in time, I'd be able to develop a pretty good practice down there.

- Starting salary is about $35k/year.
- Let's face it, if I start working downstate, I'm probably going to be there for the rest of my life.
- Downstate sucks.  If you're starting a family, fine, it's an awesome place.  I have no complaints about growing up there.  However, as a guy in my late 20's, downstate would fucking blow.
- I'd need to buy a car and someplace to live.  Neither of which I can realistically afford.
- Having a job that I hate, in some podunk town in downstate Illinois is definitely not how I saw my life going.  In fact, I never even realized it was going to be an option.

It's pretty even, I guess.  Except that, if I end up working downstate, I'm definitely going to need to add some numbers to the depression scale.


  1. Why not expand your search to the entire midwest region?

  2. Because I'm only licensed in Illinois.

  3. Does Illinois have decent reciprocity options in other states?

  4. If you really want to practice law (which is not apparent from this blog, but that's a separate issue), then doesn't it make sense to suck it up, take a low paying lawyer job downstate, and at least get some experience that you might be able to parlay later on in Chicago when the market gets better? It seems that the the biggest obstacle to you not getting any associate offers is lack of experience, and you're not going to get any useful experience in your current gig.

  5. Chicago is nearly impossible for a starting lawyer. Why not expand your search? Your MBE scores will transfer to some jurisdictions, meaning you only have to sit for some essays.

  6. Random points:

    1) Practicing outside of Illinois: While I haven't ruled it out, I have to think that finding/having a job in IL is going to be way easier on a lot of levels. I'm licensed in IL, all of my family is in IL, any connections I may have are in get the idea. If something falls in my lap, great; but, I'm not going to actively search in other states.

    2) Experience: Yeah, getting experience is the main reason why I'm looking downstate. You are correct, my current job is doing nothing for me. I need to make a move, and soon.

    3) Whether I want to practice law: Fuck no. Sit around doing mindless paperwork all day? No thank you. Though I'm slowly resigning myself to the fact that I'm going to have to do it for a little while b/c I have no real skills, I hope to god I'm not practicing law in ten years.

  7. Re my 3:43 post, once you eventually get that job, it probably won't blow as much as the mindnumbing stuff you see attorneys 1 through 6 do on a daily basis. Whether it sucks or not will, to a large degree, depend on the quality of the lawyers and office staff around you. BTW, the blog is entertaining and well written, but I get that probably doesn't alter the depression meter.

  8. I want to beat up all of these commenters for you.
    "Why not just expand your search to the entire midwest region?"
    I think I just sprained my eyeballs from rolling them so hard.

    In addition to the fact that you're only licensed in illinois, it's not like the middle of Ohio or Iowa is any better than downstate Illinois.

    By the way I'm totally with you on the downstate = hell thing.
    I went to UofI (which I suppose is technically central Illinois, but whatever, same difference). And I LOVED Champaign for those four years... but to move there now? Would be social suicide. I'm also not from Illinois though...

  9. Depending on where you consider downstate, you might be able to land pretty close to St. Louis, which would help tremendously. You could even possibly live in the city and do a reverse commute to the East side for work. And PP was right, once you get to actually do some work in a small firm downstate, you'll find that it's not as mindnumbingly boring as what the attorneys in your office do.

  10. Anon 5:53pm: Thanks for the positive comment on the blog! Actually, it does help the depression meter.

    Legally Fabulous: Yeah, the "entire midwest" thing was a little unrealistic.

    Anon 9:12am: Right or wrong, I consider "downstate" pretty much any small city south of Kankakee. Specifically, I'm looking into Bloomington and Peoria. I know they're not downstate the same way as Carbondale or Vandalia, but I think you get where I'm coming from.
    I'm seriously hoping my next job isn't this boring. It's driving me crazy.

  11. practicing downstate isn't that bad. Work is work right? AG's office is looking in the 4th and 7th circuits