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City Life vs. Settling in the Suburbs

April 5, 2008

Growing up and going to law school in the suburbs, I always wanted to try out city living for at least a year.  I figured on giving it a go in the city for a year before traipsing back to the suburbs.  

So as a first year, I lived in Center City and had a great time in enjoying the great things in the city while starting off at my firm.  Then, when the year was up, I moved back to the comfortable Main Line existence.  And I hated it.  As soon as I moved back, I realized how there are so many things you take for granted when living in the city: walking to work, not having to get up as early in the morning, leaving the office at night without being a slave to the train schedule, going to happy hour or dinner in town without needing to drive, etc.  Sure, you can go to good restaurants and places in the suburbs too, but it’s just not the same as the city.  After less than a year in the suburbs, I moved back to Center City.

And that’s where I’ve stayed for the past seven years.  There will probably be a time when I move back to the suburbs, but for now, the city is where I’ll be.  For young lawyers just starting out, I think it’s a good idea to at least give living in the city a try.  Who knows, you may even learn to like it.  After all, you can always settle back in the suburbs, but you can only be a young lawyer living in the city for a limited time.  

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. FuturePhillyLawyer permalink
    April 8, 2008 1:47 am

    I’m attending law school in the fall and am hoping to join the ranks of Young Philadelphia Lawyers after I finish. As the unofficial, but perhaps most recognizable voice of that community, I look to this blog as a gauge of the issues facing attorneys in Philadelphia and the legal profession more broadly, be they earth-shattering or superficial. And, for the most part, I leave disappointed.

    It’s not so much the issues covered on the site, as the lack of depth on those issues. Why not dig deeper? If you polled 100 YLD folks, do they choose to leave the city (or stay) because of the financial squeeze of the wage-tax or stagnant salaries at non-BigLaw shops, or do things like space and family planning play a role? Does attending Temple or Villanova or Penn play a role in where people settle immediately following law school? How much would a lawyer have to make to live in Center City comfortably? Does the debt burden matter to folks, or is the decision to live downtown based predominantly on current income?

    This site doesn’t have to be like Above The Law, with nauseating, elitist commentary (I pray this comment isn’t that) or non-stop blogging and polls, but it would be great to see more probing analysis on the interesting issues raised. Obviously, everyone’s got lives and billable hour requirements, but that shouldn’t preclude a little more substance and discussion.

  2. John E. permalink
    April 8, 2008 2:44 am

    The answer to your query is in your last paragraph. We’re attorneys, not professional journalists. We have full-time jobs with, as you noted, billable hour requirements. All the bloggers here are members of numerous legal and other organizations with more time commitments. Throw in family and other social obligations that we have. And, on top of that, we’re unpaid regular contributors on this blog. We simply do not have the time, although we wish we did.

    If your “complaint” is the depth but not the issue, then it’s perhaps a different forum that you should seek. A blog, as defined by the most veritable source (Wikipedia) is a website with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. It’s not intended to be a full research on a particular issue. Check out the blogs on philly.com (by people getting paid to blog, mind you) and they’re not much longer if at all or deeper than our entries. By comparison, The Legal Intelligencer, particularly on the YL supplement (available online), often does features on those types of issues.

    And by the way, while Above the Law has its moments, that blog (written with full time people like David Lat by the way) has more than its share of fluff and just quick links. As our blog is the Bar Association YLD’s blog, we can’t exactly get too political in commentary or start controversial polls about which firm is the best firm. What we are concerned about are the issues that we, as young lawyers, face and deal with on a daily basis. We do appreciate your input and perhaps others, including you, can contribute to the discussion of the issues raised. We are currently taking applications for interns to perform research and surveying for future blogs. . .

  3. Abbie permalink
    April 8, 2008 3:47 am

    What truly interests me about your comment is that when we actually try to delve into deeper issues, we get absolutely no response. We have posts that tried to address the gap in associate pay in Philadelphia, Let’s Talk Numbers; opportunities for young lawyers in the future, Taking the Reins; and of course, Student Loan Probe, and none of those posts received comments.

    I also agree with John that we do this “on the side” and I add that we are young lawyers with careers ahead of us which leads me to try not to include too much personal information on a public website. It’s also difficult to cater to our many populations – young lawyers who are anywhere from 24 to 37 years old, current law students and future law students, who are all very different (also – before your comment I don’t think we realized that those considering law school are reading the blog).

    An example is in the answers to a few of your specific questions: Yes, there is a correlation between where you go to law school and whether you end up in Philadelphia. This will become evident to you after you graduate and meet lawyers around town and when you are interviewing. We haven’t written about that because most of our membership has already graduated and already experienced this phenomenon first hand.

    Also, there is not a set amount of money that you have to make to survive in Center City. Like everywhere else, it all depends on how you are willing to live…or more accurately, what you are willing to live without. And that minimum standard of living is different for everyone. Personally, I don’t have cable, internet or a gym membership and I manage to some how squeeze by on $2,000 a month (I have a clerkship right now). It’s not pretty, but it’s doable.

    If there are other subjects that you would like us to write about or want the rest of our readers to respond to, please let us know. We welcome suggestions.

  4. July 15, 2010 9:30 am

    The answer to your query is in your last paragraph. We’re attorneys, not professional journalists. We have full-time jobs with, as you noted, billable hour requirements. All the bloggers here are members of numerous legal and other organizations with more time commitments. Throw in family and other social obligations that we have. And, on top of that, we’re unpaid regular contributors on this blog. We simply do not have the time, although we wish we did.

    If your “complaint” is the depth but not the issue, then it’s perhaps a different forum that you should seek. A blog, as defined by the most veritable source (Wikipedia) is a website with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. It’s not intended to be a full research on a particular issue. Check out the blogs on philly.com (by people getting paid to blog, mind you) and they’re not much longer if at all or deeper than our entries. By comparison, The Legal Intelligencer, particularly on the YL supplement (available online), often does features on those types of issues.

    And by the way, while Above the Law has its moments, that blog (written with full time people like David Lat by the way) has more than its share of fluff and just quick links. As our blog is the Bar Association YLD’s blog, we can’t exactly get too political in commentary or start controversial polls about which firm is the best firm. What we are concerned about are the issues that we, as young lawyers, face and deal with on a daily basis. We do appreciate your input and perhaps others, including you, can contribute to the discussion of the issues raised. We are currently taking applications for interns to perform research and surveying for future blogs. . .

    thanks
    killing games

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