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Start a Law Firm…In North Carolina?

by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2008 · 4 comments

in Questions & Advice, Should I Solo?

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Go east, young lawyer if you want to start a law firm.  As this article reports, a recent study released by the Pope Center for Higher Education shows that North Carolina needs more lawyer in light of recent population growth and a strong economy.  The catch – only graduates of accredited ABA law schools qualify to take the North Carolina bar.  And while the bar accepts comity, waive ins don’t come cheap – expect to pay $1500 for comity admission.

Have you moved to a new state to take advantage of the economy? In what circumstances would you consider it? And North Carolina readers – is the article true? When it comes to law practice, is North Carolina a better place to be?.

  • Jason

    I don’t think private sector lawyers per capita is a good measure in itself to declare that more lawyers are needed. Maybe, the other places being compared are over-saturated.
    I grew up in North Carolina. Everyone wants to work near Charlotte and the Triangle where the economy is growing. There’s a lot of competition in those areas. The economic growth is primarily for highly skilled such as bankers and engineers, which is a small cross section of society.
    There’s a huge disparity in the wealth, income and economic growth among the counties in North Carolina. For every investment banker in Charlotte or engineer in Raleigh there’s many more former manufacturing employees making significantly less money.
    There is room for more lawyers in NC but it’s probably not where people want to move. There is a strong correlation between the economic opportunities and the quality of the public education in certain areas. The poor get poorer and the rich well, you know.
    North Carolina isn’t some magical place where the people aren’t feeling the effects of the “recession” and other economic maladies of recent years. You have to read these articles with a grain of salt.

  • Mike

    I, too, am from North Carolina, and I can tell you that Jason is correct. There are plenty of lawyers in Charlotte and Raleigh. Many of them make less than $50K per year. The number of people who make less than $100K would probably be much higher than in many other parts of the country. It’s hard for me to understand how lawyers in some of the more rural areas of North Carolina are able to pay their rent, except for PI attorneys who hit the big payoff from time to time.
    North Carolina is a great place to live. While the issue is not a big one for people up north who want to relocate here, the ever-increasing taxation in the state is driving businesses and individuals to leave or not locate here. State government is setting us up for a major downfall in the next decade or two. The pains are already being felt. If you’re planning to relocate here, do your homework first, and if you decide to make the leap, don’t vote for more taxes when you get here because they’re so much lower than you are used to paying. People up north vote themselves into tax bondage and then flee their state only to relocate here and start the same routine here.
    To answer your question, I don’t agree that North Carolina needs more lawyers. Since I am in house, I am not making the statement to protect my turf. Many engineers here make much more money and have more stable income than many lawyers.

  • Jim

    As a North Carolina solo practitioner,I can tell you a lot of attorneys from far and wide have already gotten the memo and as a result there is market saturation in the handful of “desirable” places to live in NC like the Triangle, Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville. Unless you want to get paid in chickens, As my boss in my law school internship occasionally did, there is not enough money in the poorer parts of the state to support many more lawyers. Add to this the fact that 2 new NC law schools will be letting graduates loose soon.
    Bear in mind, an increase in population does not always correspond to a a uniformly growing market for legal services and, if there there is a place with relatively few lawyers, there may be a good reason.

  • http://twitter.com/allenlawnc Richard D. Allen

    Three years later, with two new North Carolina law schools opened since 2008 and the economy in the toilet, this post is almost shocking. In 2011, no one would say North Carolina needs more lawyers.

    Richard D. Allen
    http://www.allenlawnc.com

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