I’m a 3rd year in AmLaw top 20 firm in one of the international offices. Cravath scale is more than enough to have a comfortable life here and dull the pain when the hours get bad. How do people find it in NYC? If I move to the mothership, I know I’ll make less than I do now with tax and rent in NY, but how does it “feel”? Does the money still justify the sacrifice or does it feel like you lose it all to rent and tax? Reason for the move is exit opportunities and experience.

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You are asking the wrong group because the majority of us in NYC have not practiced biglaw elsewhere. I will say though that aside from those who come here to start their career with the intention of leaving shortly, there are also those of us who were drawn to NYC as a city in and of itself. If you don't have that instinctive attraction you will find it harder to like it and stay here. You will see the daily negatives or downsides of living in the city and find it harder to let this magnificent city shine as it is. (I myself am a queer woman of color and I knew there was no other place in the world like NYC to find community, so I came here straight out of school and as of yet have no intention of leaving!)

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At the risk of sounding entitled, I feel underpaid, especially relative to the lower COL and lighter workloads of other offices. It just doesn’t add up to me. That being said, I made $24K at my first job in the midst of the Great Recession and am very thankful overall.

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Often there is more security and opportunity working in the headquarters. It all depends on who is bringing in the business. When everyone everywhere is busy, yes being at an outlying office has huge perks - same or similar pay, cheaper, etc. But when things get tight or there is a downturn of work, my experience is that NYC will circle the wagons and everyone else starts to get cut off. The “eat what you kill” mentality is very real and my experience is that NYC will quickly feed their own and leave everyone else to starve. I personally saw what I thought were multi-office practice groups get completely shut down to only NYC individuals when work was tight. This revealed that a lot of the rainmaking was coming from NYC. What used to be 10-attorney deals turned into 3-attorney deals, NYC only. Even if those three people were pulling crazy hours, they stopped feeding the work elsewhere because everyone was worried about next month and next year. Things like that.

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You will be able to afford New York fine. I'm from elsewhere and moved here and really do love it. New York has stuff that no other city (at least in the states) can offer and even if other cities do, they can't match the scale of NY

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Thanks all. Really appreciate the insights so far.

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