15 reasons why Chicago is the best place in the U.S. to be a lawyer

15 reasons why Chicago is the best place in the U.S. to be a lawyer

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:

  1. 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.
  2. With more than 7 million people in the area, there is no shortage of clients.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. If you are a family law attorney, the nightlife in Chicago is amazing.  That leads to many affairs which leads to divorce.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?                                                                                        
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. With so many people living here, finding a great support staff is easy.  A great secretary is more valuable than most lawyers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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?
  14. Cops harass people and arrest them for b.s. reasons all of the time.  More work for criminal lawyers.
  15. 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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  • The selective use of polygraphs by corrupt FBI officials must stop! No one is above the law, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, who conspired to cover up the Pan Am Flight 103 incident. Google "the selective use of polygraphs"

  • Uhm, ok. Reason #16, lots of crazy people that need attorneys.

  • Agreed - great article; great city! However, I'd be curious to see numbers on how many unemployed licensed attorneys are in Chicago right now, because that's a pretty compelling reason to be a lawyer somewhere else. Let's count - I'll start: ONE. :(

    Also, I googled "the selective use of polygraphs." First result: "What's wrong with the Rorschach?" Wah wah.

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    On the upside, judging by the number of comments (two from family members no doubt) there is little chance the hack who put this slop together will ever be sued for libel. Of course, I am not an attorney so I can only hope I am wrong.

  • In reply to Dash Riprock:

    You lost me on that one, but thanks for stopping by.

  • Names of my heroes - Danny Casolaro, Paul Wilcher, Phil Schneider and JFK.

  • We need more Johnny Cochrane style rhetoric though.

  • Lawyers are officers of the court, and when "lawyering" becomes an entrepreneurial profession, then there tends to be a distortion of the practice, where "markets" are created for litigation and reward.

    There are 30,000 lawyers in Chicago each trying to build a "niche" business, whether it be ambulance chasing or adding layers of regulation on personal and business activities that force the citizen to have to retain an attorney.

    The most disgusting thing to receive is a notice of being a plaintiff in a class action suit, which rewards me, the aggrieved, a gift card for $2 and the lawyers tormenting another business, millions.

    Speaking of, I'm sure since your stroll through the loop is interrupted by smokers, as are many thousands of others, I think there MUST be a way you can initiate a class action suit on behalf of all Chicagoans. Had not the many lawsuits against smoking been so successful, these insidious evil-doers would be hole up in a sealed enclave INSIDE the office buildings in the now deceased smoking lounges.

    For your 15 reasons why it is great to be a lawyer in Chicago there are twenty times the number of citizens who can tell why it is not.

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    I find it highly offensive for you to state that a real estate attorney gets $400.00 to $500.00 per closing to "push paper." As a real estate attorney, there is a lot more involved in a residential and/or commercial transaction. Perhaps if you tried practicing real estate law, you would be more informed.

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    High crime,joblessness,homelessness,drugs and a high congestion of haves and have nots create a marketable enterprise to exploit the mis fortunate.

  • Everyone needs to learn that 9/11 was the American regime nuking its own largest city, and it created the China Syndrome which then poisoned thousands of responders and millions of NY residents. Google "China Syndrome Aftermath"

  • Considering all of the scumbags that live in Chicago, I can see why a lawyer could feel right at home. Not to mention the possibility of a future in politics in the most corrupt city in the country.

  • Michael: Not saying that RE lawyers don't add value, especially for a first time buyer, but let's be honest with readers. Once you've done 10 residential closings, you know pretty much everything you need to know and there is no great intellectual analysis that goes on in most closings.

    Abbidula, Dar and Richard: You are all 100% right. Now I'm going to head back to my evil lair and try to prey on the citizens of Chicago.

  • No doubt the Michael Helfand (without middle initial) who wrote this click-bait regularly declines hours and hours of substantive legal work and lucrative opportunities in our powerhouse city to instead devote his expertise to blogging flippant fluff and belaboring the dubious utility of yet another generic legal marketing site.

    Michael A. Helfand on the other hand--the Yale-educated law professor--must be constantly embarrassed.

  • In reply to peugeotpx10:

    I agree, there are many Michael Helfand's way better than me out there. The rest of your big words are unfortunately over my Chicago-Kent educated head.

  • I agree with number 7 "Criminal defense lawyers never run out of clients". Because of high crimes there in Chicago that's why they are not running out of clients..

  • Ugh... That White Sox comment? Why did you need to go there? It wasn't funny, though I think you were trying to be. That "guy" and his father started drinking that day at the CUBS game.
    Again, why did you go there? This blog was good until I read that. Then I stopped...

  • In reply to radstarr:

    I love Sox fans.

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