What is the economy like in Madison? (Middleton, Oregon: middle-class, lawyer)
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I'm a WI native and have been working on the west coast for the past five years and am itching to return to my homestate to be closer to my family.
I grew up going to Madison, and have alot of family in the area. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest, and while I like it here, I would like a place with similar values, but closer to home.
I have been e-mailing potential employers in the Madison-area for some time and haven't had much luck. I am an attorney and am licensed to practice in WI (after taking the bar exam there last year), so I am ready to begin working if I could locate employment. I have alot of experience (working as a legal aid attorney) so I am just wondering if they aren't responding because I am 2000 miles away and not currently in Madison.
I am just wondering if anyone on here has had similar experiences in looking for employment in Madison (not just necessarily in the legal field, but from other fields as well).
Would it be too risky to just move to Madison, live off my savings for a while, and concentrate full-time on locating something? Or is the legal field swamped in the area and I am barking up the wrong tree?
Madison's economy is quite robust, with probably the lowest real unemployment rate of any metropolitan area in the state. Wages (and hence cost of living) tend to be higher here than in other regions as well. You can browse other threads and see plenty of commentary on housing costs, etc. Check out tchemgrrl's thread on useful links for Madison, too.
I don't have personal knowledge about job opportunities in the legal profession, but like most state capitols, there are a LOT of attorneys in this town. If you're licenced to practice in Wisconsin, I don't think you'd have any trouble at all finding a job that would suit you.
Although we relocated here successfully eight years ago by jobhunting from a distance, I've read posts by a fair number of people on this forum that many or most employers don't want to consider someone who'd need to uproot and relocate before they'd be available to start work. Several posters said that they never got calls for interviews until they took the leap and actually made the move, but that once they had a local address and phone number on the resume, the calls started coming in.
If you don't want to burn your bridges too much, and if your current employer will allow it, you may want to consider taking a sabbatical from your present job to spend 90 days or so testing the water here. I am in a position to know that a transcontinental move is not a trivial or an inexpensive project, and it's a scary thing to undertake if you're not sure of your landing.
Good luck! Madison has proven to be a perfect place for us, and we've never stopped being grateful that we were able to manage the relocation. It wasn't easy, and won't be for you, but the payoff can be enormous.
As a current 2L, I've been looking into possible employment in Madison after graduation. What I have found is that the legal market there is absolutely saturated. Unless you went to a top-notch school (yes, that stuff still matters years after you've graduated) or have connections there (preferably someone in state government), you may have a hard time breaking into the Madison market. Once you do, don't expect to get paid well. Starting salary at the top firms there is about $90K, so imagine what the pay is like at a smaller firm or a state agency.
I've been through a long-distance move to Madison from Boston, and it can be done...just be prepared to take 2-3 plane trips, and it's best to allocate 3-4 weeks for such a move.
I don't think that it's a stretch to say that the jobs requiring more formal education usually involve a more protracted hiring process, thus I don't think not havinga a local address is a huge hindrance; I guess I would just play up your local connections, being a Wisconsin native.
My only concern would be that Madison is not a major metropolitan area; if a job you took didn't work out, there may not be much to choose from afterwards, whereas in a major metro area there would be more of alternative possibilities.
BTW, Madison was a short experience for me (back in New England), but the city is fantastic, and I never rule out going back.
It always seems that places like Madison (i.e. liberal college towns with a nice progressive feel to them) always have too many educated professionals living there (not to get into a political discussion or anything).
I went to college and law school in similar environments (Boulder, Berkeley) and afterwards moved on to a larger city. I have missed the convenience and feel of these places ever since.
I have sent resumes and followed up, but haven't gotten any responses.
I might look at other places in the state, maybe up by Minneapolis, as I like that city as well.
Well, if you're not going to break in with a JD from Boalt plus field experience, I just don't know what else you can do. Most of the legal market in Madison is government jobs, and in a small state like Wisconsin, connections really count for a lot when it comes to those types of jobs. Madison just isn't a very big private-sector market, especially with Chicago right down the highway. It could just be "the local factor" as well. One thing I've heard and read from others job-hunting in the area is that while they couldn't get the time of day from Wisconsin employers from out-of-state, if they took the plunge and moved here and then submitted resumes, it wasn't long before they found employment. It might be something to consider if you've got enough savings on hand.
My husband is being re-located to Madison and I am currently a teacher in Oregon. Are there many teaching jobs available in Madison? Do people recommend living in some of the smaller towns on the edge of Madison (such as Middleton) or downtown by the college?
My husband and I are both in our late twenties and have no children and love to be outside.
Per law, that would be something that would take a while to get a foothold in, per transferring to another region/city. Per legal aid, not sure you have enough poor folks for that in Madison, which very much skews middle-class. Perhaps you can either practice in another field, or bone up on a bit of law at UW. A law degree is a damn good thing to have on your res, along with the requisite experience, regardless of the position. My best advice would be applying for a good gov't job and/or teaching job in the area, until you get your feet wet. Have you considered working as a lobbyist for companies/organizations doing business in the capitol? A law degree will open doors for other fields you may not have considered....just keep in mind the pay scale might not be quite the same as it is in Niketown, and you may be willing to sacrifice to be back home living in a city with a very high quality of life....hope this helps....
I don't remember the last time I actually saw a posting for a lawyer job in Madison. I have seen other types of jobs in public administration, or for the justice department, that seemed a good fit if you are looking for an alternative career. "a law degree will open doors" is a laughable naivete. It's a fight for survival anywhere for law school graduates. I have often wished I could give mine back and get a refund. That being said, everyone's luck is different so I suggest bookmarking local law firms and obsessively checking their career page if that is they type of job you are looking for. Otherwise keep abreast of the city, county, state and federal job openings that come up in this area. Best of luck.
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