Did you know that there are more than 30,000 attorneys in the City of Chicago? That’s more than some states have had in their entire history. I have a friend in Arizona who became a lawyer 10 years ago and was around number 11,000 ever for AZ and that is a state that 100 years old with two huge cities. But who wants to practice law in 100 degree heat? Chicago is the best place to be an attorney and here’s why:
- There are six law schools in the City (Northwestern, DePaul, U of C, Kent, John Marshall and Loyola). That makes networking as a lawyer a breeze and also gives you great opportunities to get a clerking job when in school. That can lead to a permanent job. It certainly did for me.
- With more than 7 million people in the area, there is no shortage of clients.
- For personal injury attorneys, the weather in the winter is awful. That leads to a lot of accidents which leads to clients. And while defendants win 50% of accident trials and 80% of medical malpractice lawsuits, it’s a fairly plaintiff friendly town if you have a good case.
- From the injury defense side, there are tons of insurance companies in town which makes it so you don’t have to travel much to visit with clients. Traveling as an attorney is one of the biggest pains in the backside.
- If you are a family law attorney, the nightlife in Chicago is amazing. That leads to many affairs which leads to divorce.
- For those lawyers that don’t want to practice law, there are tons of companies that view having a lawyer on board is a great thing even if there is no basis in reality to this perception.
- Criminal defense lawyers never run out of clients. Aside from your every day common criminal, arrests from drunk people at events like Lollapalooza, Cubs games, Bears games, Sheffield Garden Walk, etc. lead to a ton of cases. Hell, the 24 White Sox fans still in existence probably do enough crime to keep 10 lawyers in business alone. Who can forget this guy?
- You get to work in the Loop. Sure it’s lost some of it’s charm for me over the years (I can’t stand walking through smokers), but it’s still so vibrant and fun with so many restaurants. Plus the Daley Center and Federal Court are minutes away from every office. Compare this to other cities where you have to drive 30 minutes to court. Imagine having to do that twice a day. Yuk. I’ll take being able to walk out my office and enjoy Oktoberfest or a farmer’s market over that any day of the week.
- In some states you don’t use a real estate lawyer for a closing. Not Illinois where almost everyone pays $400-500 for a lawyer at a closing and many Chicago lawyers make a career out of just pushing paper for closings a couple hundred times a year.
- With so many people living here, finding a great support staff is easy. A great secretary is more valuable than most lawyers.
- Almost every immigration case in Illinois takes place downtown. The only probate court in Cook County is downtown. All Illinois Department of Professional Regulation hearings take place in Chicago. If you need a license reinstatement hearing in the northern part of Illinois, it will be on State St. If you live in a place like Rockford, not only do you have to live in Rockford, but there are some cases that you just can’t handle practically.
- While I’m as much of a constitutional scholar as Sarah Palin, if that is the type of law that interests you, there is no shortage of cases to take on. Pick an amendment, any constitutional amendment and you can find someone in Chicago that’s screwing with it.
- There is so much corruption in the City that Federal Prosecutors are falling over themselves making arrests. That keeps our US Attorney incredibly busy and brings cases to Federal defense lawyers. And you thought Chicago politicians haven’t created any jobs?
- Cops harass people and arrest them for b.s. reasons all of the time. More work for criminal lawyers.
- With so many people in town, a lawyer can have a real passion for one particular area and not only pursue that field, but actually have a real career. I know lawyers that just handle cases involving animals. Others that work with only the disabled. Some that do environmental work. One lawyer in town only represents special need children. Another only represents farmers. Whatever your dream is you can make it happen. And if you don’t have a dream you can go represent an insurance company.
I’m sure you are all thrilled that there are so many lawyers in town. For lawyers in Chicago it’s really a great place to live and work. I don’t expect numbers to do anything other than stay stable or increase.
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