It’s the start of a new month and, especially after the long bank holiday weekend, now might feel the right time to start looking for the next step in your legal career. Still undecided? Theo Varcoe’s latest blog might help you make that important decision…
Moving to a different law firm is not always the right thing to do and closely analysing your position should be carried out before embarking on a change. However, in some situations a move is advisable and even necessary.
1. Follow your dreams
Do you have a passion to do a particular type of work or work with particular clients? Staying at a firm which doesn’t work with particular clients or do work at a certain level will not allow you to realise your potential. After more than a year of the wrong type of work, your skills in your preferred area will start to look out of date or you will be pigeon holed at a particular type of firm which will limit your future career options as getting into the right team elsewhere will be more difficult. Only you are fully responsible for your career, so identifying where you want to be and how to get there is vital.
2. Being pulled in the wrong direction?
If your firm’s overall strategy is to become a behemoth, to change the culture from having good associate responsibility into a production line of over-worked juniors, or even to specialise in an area that doesn’t work for you, then take action sooner rather than later. The strategic direction of firms can change the culture of a firm overnight and set the firm on a particular path. If either you have changed your mind about what you want to do with your life or your firm has undergone a merger and re-assigned you to a narrower field or different team then you need to take action quickly. Too often, lawyers stay because they like their colleagues, without realising that they are painting themselves into a corner career-wise.
3. Dead ends?
If you find that there are no opportunities to learn technical skills, to develop your network or to have a good career path, then you are in danger of plateauing. In the competitive environment that is private practice law in London, there simply isn’t time to have a couple of years of cruising if you want to reach the top.
4. Empty promises?
You’ve been told “next year” for two years in a row. If you’ve been told your promotion or pay-rise or some other factor will be addressed the following year/review cycle and it doesn’t come to fruition, then it’s time to leave. The market is littered with great lawyers who have been holding on, waiting for promises to be kept. All too often they end up as very senior, senior associates with no practice to speak of and no prospects. If you’ve been promised a change and given your employer 12 months to address it and nothing has happened then take control of your own career. Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.
5. Behavioural problems – bullies and pests
Quite frankly, life is too short to put up with unprofessional behaviour. More and more people are saying “no” to inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour whether illegal or simply unprofessional or difficult to work with. There are a lot of great firms and teams crying out for good lawyers – there is absolutely no need to suffer within an unhappy or unprofessional team. Teams are led from the top and if you aren’t fully bought in to the direction of the team, then looking further afield is the only option.
Each lawyer’s career objectives and future plans differ. We have worked with thousands of lawyers to consider their career options and are well versed in advising and planning the right career moves. To arrange a meeting to discuss your career, please contact me at email@example.com or 0203 815 6803.