Is farm livin’ the life for you? Or perhaps you like a slower pace to life? Or maybe your dream is to walk into the local diner, greet everyone by name, and not even have to place your order because the server just knows?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions — and you’re planning on becoming a lawyer — you might want to check out the list of best small cities for law school graduates from GoodCall. The data crunching company evaluated more than 500 U.S. towns on average lawyer salary, a housing affordability index (percentage of income spent on homes), amenities (arts, recreation, and entertainment), and employment attractiveness rank (“a combination of law job density, availability, and competition”).
They sifted through all of the data to come up with a “GoodCall Score” and ranked the top 100 small cities. And, geographically speaking, the top 10 was about as diverse as you can get, stretching from Alaska to Georgia. The town at the top of the list is Washington, North Carolina with a GoodCall score of 487.25. The town of around 10,000 people is located on North Carolina’s coast and lawyers make an average salary of $130,920.
Next up is the Carlsbad-Artesia, New Mexico metro area. Resting pretty much on the Texas border in extreme southeast New Mexico, the metro area of about 55,000 is a hotbed for mining and energy—specifically, petroleum. New Mexico and North Carolina were the only two states to have two communities listed in the top 10. Rounding out the top three was Thomaston, Georgia—a town of about 10,000 people about 60 miles directly south of Atlanta.
The report also broke down the four categories and listed the top five towns in each category. Interestingly, outside of the most affordable housing category, there is a heavy representation of mountain towns. Topping the category of best jobs is Summit Park, Utah, which is on the opposite side of the Wasatch Range from Salt Lake City and close to infamous ski resorts Alta and Brighton. Cheyenne, Wyoming, Butte, Montana (home of Evel Knievel), Barre, Vermont, and Breckenridge, Colorado round out that category.
Topping the best amenities category is Jackson, Wyoming—home of Jackson Ski resort and a stone’s throw from Teton National Park and Yellowstone. Taos, New Mexico and Edwards, Colorado — both ski towns — are also in the top five. Truckee, California, next to Lake Tahoe and multiple world-class ski areas, tops the highest average salary category.
However, if affordable housing is a priority, it’s time to look to the southeast. Specifically, Mississippi, which has four of the top five communities for affordable housing.
The top 10 small U.S. cities for law school grads:
- Washington, North Carolina
- Carlsbad-Artesia, New Mexico
- Thomaston, Georgia
- Roswell, New Mexico
- Laconia, New Hampshire
- Shelby, North Carolina
- Barre, Vermont
- Canton, Illinois
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Cheyenne, Wyoming