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Moving your practice

This past weekend, I attended a wedding for a dear high school friend in the city of Seattle. The weather was 72 degrees and sunny the entire time we were there. The culture and fashion were different. The attitudes and personality were more laid-back.

Everything moved a lot slower than in Washington, D.C. I could not help but wonder what it would be like to live somewhere other than northern Virginia, and work somewhere other than D.C.

My boyfriend Jeff has been itching to experience life on the West Coast, so I started to give it some thought. I guess it wouldn’t be horrible to try and move out to the West Coast while we are still young and without any kids — it could be a lot of fun — something new might be just what we need.

But then, I stopped dead in my tracks. WAIT! If I leave the D.C. area, does this mean I have to take another bar exam?! All fantasies about learning how to surf, whale-watching, and deliriously great coffee dissipated into thin air.

In desperation to keep the possibility alive that I could, someday, traipse around in a pair of TOMS Shoes amidst the Seattle masses, I googled “bar exam reciprocity.” Juristech Associates, a nationwide legal placement firm for attorneys, published a bar exam reciprocity chart for attorneys curious about what jurisdictions are transfer-friendly. It includes some pretty useful information for those young attorneys out there experiencing some wanderlust. I mean, how scary could the West Coast be? Apparently, D.C. now gets earthquakes too.

I would love some thoughts from young attorneys regarding fear, ambition, motivation or ideas surrounding the move of your practice, career, or having to get licensed in another state. Did you transfer? Did you have to take another bar exam? What is an attorney’s exam like?

One comment

  1. I know in MD the attorney exam is considered by some people to be more challenging (because it is open book) BUT it’s only half a day.

    I feel like moving to another state presents another challenge though because depending on your practice area you may be viewed as an inexperienced attorney because of the variations in laws state to state.

    For example, if you have a great deal of criminal experience in MD and even built your own practice, but then move to say… Idaho, no one’s going to care about your MD experience and connections, you now have to learn Idaho’s idiosyncracies. For some practice areas it’s pretty standard, but consider learning a whole new set of laws, being viewed as inexperienced,and losing all of your connections. As a recruiter, these are a few of the challenges I find attorney facing who move to Baltimore from out of state.