Texas v NYC Exit Opps

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Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:32 pm

I'm trying to decide between Houston or Dallas offices of some of the BigTex firms (VE/BB/Norton/Bracewell) and NYC offices of a few mid-range firms (Paul Hastings/Goodwin/Milbank/etc).

I am interested in corporate or tax. My goal is, first, to work in biglaw in order to save as much as possible, and after that, to transition in house or a comparably lifestylish role in any of the following geographic areas: west coast, colorado, western europe, SE asia. I like TX and NYC equally (which is to say, not very much), so TX, with the lower CoL, seems like the obvious place to start my career. The thing that has kept me from pulling the trigger is that I am worried about exit opportunities relative to the NYC firms. I've heard they are essentially limited to TX offices of energy companies.

Does anyone have insight into non-TX exit opportunities from TX firms? Should I forgo the extra savings potential and stick to NYC if that is my ultimate goal? Also, I would be content if I ended up in house at an energy co. or whatever in one of those geographic areas I mentioned, but I'm also not completely indifferent to industry; aviation or entertainment would be ideal.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:46 pm

I can't tell from your post if you actually have all of VE, BB, Norton and Bracewell or if you're just giving examples of BigTex firms. In 2017, those firms should not be equated with each other. VE and BB are head and shoulders, and probably the rest of a person too, above the other two texas options.

Also the difference between working in Houston and working in Dallas is really big for exit options. If you want actual advice, you need to choose a city.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can't tell from your post if you actually have all of VE, BB, Norton and Bracewell or if you're just giving examples of BigTex firms. In 2017, those firms should not be equated with each other. VE and BB are head and shoulders, and probably the rest of a person too, above the other two texas options.

Also the difference between working in Houston and working in Dallas is really big for exit options. If you want actual advice, you need to choose a city.



Op here. Thanks for the feedback..i would prefer Houston and have offers from VE and BB there.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also the difference between working in Houston and working in Dallas is really big for exit options. If you want actual advice, you need to choose a city.


Not OP. As somebody debating the two cities, can you please expand upon this?

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:48 pm

Why not do big Texas for 2-3 years stack 85k/year and figure out exit options available to you and lateral to NY if exit options totally suck. You can probably land at a better New york firm than the options you currently have from BB/VE.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Pokemon » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:02 pm

Why do you have such a wide spread of geographic regions where you could move afterwards. They seem silly since they have so little in common and cover such a huge range. Like why Western Europe but not NYC? Why south east Asia? Why go to a Texas or ny firm but instead do not try to go biglaw in Colorado or west coast??

It is fine to ask whether I should go to Texas or NYC? But the reason that you ask us to use in providing that advice is really half baked

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:12 am

Pokemon wrote:Why do you have such a wide spread of geographic regions where you could move afterwards. They seem silly since they have so little in common and cover such a huge range. Like why Western Europe but not NYC? Why south east Asia? Why go to a Texas or ny firm but instead do not try to go biglaw in Colorado or west coast??

It is fine to ask whether I should go to Texas or NYC? But the reason that you ask us to use in providing that advice is really half baked


OP here. I know it's a wide range, but I honestly just like those regions. I've lived in four continents and backpacked 30+ countries, and that list is my sense of where I would be happy living. I hope it was clear I'm not asking for a breakdown of opportunities in each region but just looking to hear about geographic and industry flexibility in general.

Most people who ask the NYC v TX question are advised to choose based on where they want to end up, which is a personal decision, so most of those threads really don't go anywhere. My Q is different since I don't want to end up in TX, and I couldn't find much info about the geographic flexibility of BigTX alumni.

To answer your q about starting in west coast biglaw, I interviewed at some firms but did not get any offers.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Pokemon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Pokemon wrote:Why do you have such a wide spread of geographic regions where you could move afterwards. They seem silly since they have so little in common and cover such a huge range. Like why Western Europe but not NYC? Why south east Asia? Why go to a Texas or ny firm but instead do not try to go biglaw in Colorado or west coast??

It is fine to ask whether I should go to Texas or NYC? But the reason that you ask us to use in providing that advice is really half baked


OP here. I know it's a wide range, but I honestly just like those regions. I've lived in four continents and backpacked 30+ countries, and that list is my sense of where I would be happy living. I hope it was clear I'm not asking for a breakdown of opportunities in each region but just looking to hear about geographic and industry flexibility in general.

Most people who ask the NYC v TX question are advised to choose based on where they want to end up, which is a personal decision, so most of those threads really don't go anywhere. My Q is different since I don't want to end up in TX, and I couldn't find much info about the geographic flexibility of BigTX alumni.

To answer your q about starting in west coast biglaw, I interviewed at some firms but did not get any offers.


So you have traveled through 30 countries and four geographic regions and all that great college application essay stuff but you cannot make a decision for two places as diverse as texas and NYC. That is fairly ridicilous considering how different they are. I would have understood your question if afterwards you wanted to be in one specific region (let's say Kansas City and only that), but you are ok being in literally 50% of the world. Like I do not know south east Asia well, but you do realize that Western European cities feel a bit like New York if you were to compare them with other us cities.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby nothingtosee » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:49 am

Central Europe (Vienna, Budapest, Prague, etc.) should definitely be in consideration imo

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby runinthefront » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm trying to decide between Houston or Dallas offices of some of the BigTex firms (VE/BB/Norton/Bracewell) and NYC offices of a few mid-range firms (Paul Hastings/Goodwin/Milbank/etc).

I am interested in corporate or tax. My goal is, first, to work in biglaw in order to save as much as possible, and after that, to transition in house or a comparably lifestylish role in any of the following geographic areas: west coast, colorado, western europe, SE asia. I like TX and NYC equally (which is to say, not very much), so TX, with the lower CoL, seems like the obvious place to start my career. The thing that has kept me from pulling the trigger is that I am worried about exit opportunities relative to the NYC firms. I've heard they are essentially limited to TX offices of energy companies.

Does anyone have insight into non-TX exit opportunities from TX firms? Should I forgo the extra savings potential and stick to NYC if that is my ultimate goal? Also, I would be content if I ended up in house at an energy co. or whatever in one of those geographic areas I mentioned, but I'm also not completely indifferent to industry; aviation or entertainment would be ideal.

Thanks in advance.

I assume you attend UT.

If that's the case, you'd probably be better off working at a firm in NYC. You may have a hard time explaining to employers in SE Asia (or Colorado, or San Francisco, or Brussels) why you want to move to their cit after spending 3 years in Austin and 2+ years in Dallas/Houston.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:05 am

runinthefront wrote:I assume you attend UT.

If that's the case, you'd probably be better off working at a firm in NYC. You may have a hard time explaining to employers in SE Asia (or Colorado, or San Francisco, or Brussels) why you want to move to their cit after spending 3 years in Austin and 2+ years in Dallas/Houston.


that's a good point so I should have mentioned, I attend an east coast school.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby runinthefront » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
runinthefront wrote:I assume you attend UT.

If that's the case, you'd probably be better off working at a firm in NYC. You may have a hard time explaining to employers in SE Asia (or Colorado, or San Francisco, or Brussels) why you want to move to their cit after spending 3 years in Austin and 2+ years in Dallas/Houston.


that's a good point so I should have mentioned, I attend an east coast school.

why would you target Texas firms if you don't like Texas? Why didnt you just target the markets you wanted from the start? I'm so confused by your posts.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:30 am

runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
runinthefront wrote:I assume you attend UT.

If that's the case, you'd probably be better off working at a firm in NYC. You may have a hard time explaining to employers in SE Asia (or Colorado, or San Francisco, or Brussels) why you want to move to their cit after spending 3 years in Austin and 2+ years in Dallas/Houston.


that's a good point so I should have mentioned, I attend an east coast school.

why would you target Texas firms if you don't like Texas? Why didnt you just target the markets you wanted from the start? I'm so confused by your posts.



Because I like TX and NYC more than I like unemployment(?). I have TX ties and NYC is the largest legal market, so those seemed like the two places to target. As I mentioned I did interview at some west coast firms, but I think having zero ties hurt me. I'm not sure why everyone is confused about this when it is like standard TLS advice.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Why not do big Texas for 2-3 years stack 85k/year and figure out exit options available to you and lateral to NY if exit options totally suck. You can probably land at a better New york firm than the options you currently have from BB/VE.


Why do you assume the bolded is possible? My NYC firm doesn't hire many laterals, but of the ones I've seen, they've all been from NYC firms, with zero exceptions. I could be wrong, but I don't think NYC firms are eager to hire TX laterals when they typically have plenty of NYC candidates available.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:20 pm

Pokemon wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Pokemon wrote:Why do you have such a wide spread of geographic regions where you could move afterwards. They seem silly since they have so little in common and cover such a huge range. Like why Western Europe but not NYC? Why south east Asia? Why go to a Texas or ny firm but instead do not try to go biglaw in Colorado or west coast??

It is fine to ask whether I should go to Texas or NYC? But the reason that you ask us to use in providing that advice is really half baked


OP here. I know it's a wide range, but I honestly just like those regions. I've lived in four continents and backpacked 30+ countries, and that list is my sense of where I would be happy living. I hope it was clear I'm not asking for a breakdown of opportunities in each region but just looking to hear about geographic and industry flexibility in general.

Most people who ask the NYC v TX question are advised to choose based on where they want to end up, which is a personal decision, so most of those threads really don't go anywhere. My Q is different since I don't want to end up in TX, and I couldn't find much info about the geographic flexibility of BigTX alumni.

To answer your q about starting in west coast biglaw, I interviewed at some firms but did not get any offers.


So you have traveled through 30 countries and four geographic regions and all that great college application essay stuff but you cannot make a decision for two places as diverse as texas and NYC. That is fairly ridicilous considering how different they are. I would have understood your question if afterwards you wanted to be in one specific region (let's say Kansas City and only that), but you are ok being in literally 50% of the world. Like I do not know south east Asia well, but you do realize that Western European cities feel a bit like New York if you were to compare them with other us cities.


OP here. I meant that I lived (like worked, had an apartment, etc) in four diff continents, not just travelled. My only point in mentioning that was to quell your concerns that I am just throwing darts at a map. Believe it or not, I find both NYC and Houston unpleasant and would rank them similarly. That doesn't mean I think they are similar cities, obviously. And yeah, I would be happy in several cities in all the regions I mentioned, despite how some of them might "feel a bit" like NYC. I think these details are irrelevant to my question and, in retrospect, I should have just asked a general question about geographic reach out of top TX firms vs mid-range NYC firms.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:24 pm

I'm the initial anon who asked about exactly what offers you had. I won't speak specifically to the NYC firms because I am unfamiliar with their reputations.

If you accept a TX offer, accept VE. That's the right choice, unless you happen to have a KE/Latham/Weil/GDC offer in a Texas office which would be an interesting wrinkle to the whole thing. Norton Rose isn't a Texas firm. Fulbright was, but I have no clue what Norton is. I have a friend at Bracewell Houston who LOVES it, but she knew immediately after the CB that it was the firm for her, and it doesn't sound like you have that certainty. I guess BB is arguable but I think VE is a much stronger firm right now.

I'm not really sure you should go to Texas though. BigLaw isn't super fun, and spending 3-4 years working tough hours all the while wishing you could leave seems tough to me. At VE, most of your colleagues will be from Texas or will be planning to spend their whole career in Texas. I don't know how well you will enjoy or get by in that environment.

I know it is annoying you that all the commentators here keep coming back to these questions about your long term plans but I think many of us are just super confused. NYC, Dallas and Houston are all relatively different cities that offer various benefits (beyond financial), and even within the cities themselves, you can structure your life in various ways to maximize your comfort and enjoyment. But you seem very confident that you will hate all three equally, no matter which one you end up in.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm the initial anon who asked about exactly what offers you had. I won't speak specifically to the NYC firms because I am unfamiliar with their reputations.

If you accept a TX offer, accept VE. That's the right choice, unless you happen to have a KE/Latham/Weil/GDC offer in a Texas office which would be an interesting wrinkle to the whole thing. Norton Rose isn't a Texas firm. Fulbright was, but I have no clue what Norton is. I have a friend at Bracewell Houston who LOVES it, but she knew immediately after the CB that it was the firm for her, and it doesn't sound like you have that certainty. I guess BB is arguable but I think VE is a much stronger firm right now.

I'm not really sure you should go to Texas though. BigLaw isn't super fun, and spending 3-4 years working tough hours all the while wishing you could leave seems tough to me. At VE, most of your colleagues will be from Texas or will be planning to spend their whole career in Texas. I don't know how well you will enjoy or get by in that environment.

I know it is annoying you that all the commentators here keep coming back to these questions about your long term plans but I think many of us are just super confused. NYC, Dallas and Houston are all relatively different cities that offer various benefits (beyond financial), and even within the cities themselves, you can structure your life in various ways to maximize your comfort and enjoyment. But you seem very confident that you will hate all three equally, no matter which one you end up in.


I don't have any offers from the TX offices of any v10/20 national firms. I wish I did because I have read here that it would be easier to find west coast or other non-TX opportunities from them.

Thanks for your advice. I don't hate Texas or New York, I just don't like them very much either. And I do appreciate your point about how differently you can organize your life even within each city. I will certainly try to maximize the things I like wherever I decide to go. I just hope 3-5 yrs of work in biglaw will open up opportunities in other regions.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:06 am

I rarely if ever post but your post seemed harmless enough and needing of some input from folks who are further along so here goes:

you're thinking about this so wrong. First principles of working is that you have to like where you are and what you do in order to do well at it. I'm not saying you need to love every bit of your host city, but netnet you need to like the totality of your situation in order to do well, because this job takes up too much of your life to tolerate if you're not in a good place with it. Mentally it doesn't sound like you're in a good place for working and I'd urge you to kind of reassess. You're becoming a pro now. Different mindset than before.

Second, kind of related to one, no one really cares about where they live after about 30 years old, maybe 32. Your life becomes much narrower. Even in your "lifestyle" gigs - which first off are really hard to find even if you're willing to take a pay cut because so many of them suck for reasons other than sheer hours - you will be working 45-50 hours a week. Almost guaranteed. That means you are getting out of work at 6:30 or later every weekday. You're gonna have a spouse to spend time with. Likely, eventually, a kid or two to pay attention to. You have just an unbelievable amount of chores to do once your have a family.

This is a roundabout way of saying that your personal free time to enjoy the fruits of your geographic region become very small very quickly after you start working. You are not going to be the one in Denver bagging 14ers or making best use of the season pass. You won't be hopscotching across Europe on weekends in Easyjet. You'll get away occasionally and you'll be thankful when you do. Not just when you're working in biglaw; for the rest of your professional life.

Relatedly, all these big cities have neighborhoods and suburbs with such diverse cultures that it's almost impossible to imagine not being able to circle down on a place that works for you. My buddy in Houston split his time growing up between NY and London, he's cosmopolitan and Oxbridge educated; he's found a neighborhood. My friend in NYC grew up mostly in Montana and actually keeps a small house out there so he can spend all his vacations out there - he LOVES his spot in NYC.

A final point: it is remarkably hard to meet a spouse as an expat and that tends to drive people back to the states. A lot of people from NY biglaw (far more than TX, FWIW) explore international options: I am 9 years out and I literally know of 2 people it's worked for out or maybe a dozen, one of who is in London and would kill to come back stateside / Toronto. Most common reason given is that expat dating sucks or even if you're lucky enough to find someone and start a family overseas, if you want to raise an American kid you inevitably will have a decision to make when the kid is 8 or so. That may seem like a long way away but take it from me, it goes by faster than you think and you might as well start thinking about that.

Having told you I disagree with your mindset, I'll give you some advice to help with your framing anyways. Far more important than your location is your practice area. If you do energy in TX, that's portable to SE Asia. If your do projects anywhere, that's portable to Asia or Europe - perhaps the most portable practice area. If you do, for example, bankruptcy, you'd be screwed if you want to move to Denver / overseas. But keep in mind that expat legal jobs can be pretty intense if you're not working at an NGO or similar, and those NGO jobs are freakin unicorns.

HTH, and enjoy Milbank.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:49 pm

OP here. To the anon above, I was a bit confused by your advice (you have to like where you are at but most working people after 30 don't care where they're at?) but I understand the overall message and genuinely appreciate the reality check. Thanks also for the advice regarding projects work.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:19 am

What I mean, OP, is that your universe becomes small enough as a working professional with a family that any big metropolitan area will provide you with what you need to be satisfied. It's important to find that niche, sure, but that's a matter of finding the right neighborhood, maybe finding the right school for your kid, things like that. If you have a job you like, the rest of the stuff falls into place pretty much anywhere (subject to limits in the extremes - I'm not advocating moving to Duluth). Location matters a lot in your 20s, and a lot in your 60s and 70s, but you don't see folks chasing cool locations in middle age and for good reason. You're underestimating the kinds of responsibilities you're going to have very soon.

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Re: Texas v NYC Exit Opps

Postby nealric » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:39 am

As someone married with a kid, I disagree that location doesn't matter. I can't fathom trying to raise a child in NYC unless I were independently wealthy. It was a fun place to spend my late 20s, but the options for raising a child involve one of the following:

1) Moving to a burb and enduring a megacommute
2) Cramming into a too-small apartment and listening to your neighbors complain about your screaming baby
3) Spending all of your money on real estate and childcare/school

Maybe even a combo of all three!

If it were me, the choice woudl be VE all the way.




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