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Employer Blog: Phillips Lytle - Big Law, Small(er) City

July 01, 2019

New York, New York, New York, DC, New York, New York.  It’s time for OCI and attending a top tier law school like Penn Law means you will get recruited by the top tier firms….from about three of the nation’s largest cities.  While it tempting to fill your interview schedule with the heavy hitters, we are here to remind you that there are other options, in slightly smaller markets, that will provide you with intellectually challenging work and, at the same time, allow you to make your mark now as a young attorney instead of working as a cog in the law firm machine for the next ten years.


We are two Penn Law grads who work at Phillips Lytle LLP in Buffalo, New York, one of the nation’s oldest firms. We took different paths after law school and neither of us initially considered practicing in Buffalo.  But we both ended up in Buffalo at Phillips Lytle, and take it from us, we relish the decision.  Phillips Lytle has nearly 150 attorneys and attracts the nation’s largest clients because we provide exceptional work at a lower billing rate.  From day one, we have been challenged by our work and, as associates, have been given an incredible amount of responsibility and decision-making power.  We are a big firm, but not big enough to tie-up associates with endless document review-we need our associates in the field taking depositions, interviewing witnesses, appearing in court, closing deals, negotiating contracts, etc.  Perhaps most importantly for us, as parents to young children, Phillips Lytle gives us the flexibility to maintain a healthy family life.  In addition, Phillips Lytle encourages associates to be involved in the community and will support you if, for example, you want to join the board of directors of a non-profit organization, run for a bar association position, or become active in a political party–positions which can be difficult to achieve as an associate attorney in a large city like New York, but that you can accomplish (even as a junior attorney) in a more manageable city like Buffalo.


Finally, we encourage you to learn more about places like Buffalo.  Buffalo is currently experiencing a resurgence and is an incubator for small businesses and start-ups.  Millennials are flocking to live here.  The cost of living is low, real estate is affordable, and the possibilities of neighborhoods are endless (remodeled loft downtown? 1900s town home uptown? sprawling acreage ten minutes outside the city?)  We have less traffic, more affordable social activities, and an active and growing arts and culture scene.


So, when selecting your summer interviews, don’t forget about your alumni in the rust belt.  We are here, doing sophisticated legal work, while also impacting our community and maintaining happy relationships with our family and friends.


Jeff Coren ’09

Erin Borek ’13