When people are considering moving law firms, many people assume that the first thing on your mind will be getting more money. For lawyers, salary is important but they did not become lawyers to be rich. Often the main importance of a salary is that it shows how much a firm values you in relation to others.
More money does not necessarily mean more happiness. If you simply go into a job because it gave you the most money, you may end up finding that you are significantly worse off in other areas instead. When thinking about a job move, there are other factors that are equally, if not more important than the salary. Here are a few things you should consider.
How Does Corporate Structure Impact Your Job Role?
The first thing you should consider when moving law firms is how the firm and your department are structured and how you will fit into that structure. No two law firms are the same and it is highly probable that two positions with the same job title could have very different expectations and responsibilities. Because of this, it is essential that you delve deeper into the intricacies of the role rather than just relying on a job description.
If you don’t, you may think you are moving into your dream job, only to discover that your day to day responsibilities aren’t what you expected or wanted.
Do Your Ambitions Match?
In order to determine whether the role will help you achieve your goals, you will first of all have to define what they are. You should think hard about where you are in your career and what will make you happy. For example, you may be a solicitor who will thrive in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment or you might be satisfied with a stable income and for things to keep ticking over.
Once you have figured out what you want from your next position, the next thing is to find a law firm that can help you achieve it. Here are two points that you should consider:
What is the Growth Potential?
You should first of all assess whether the role will meet your desires in terms of growth. If you are wanting to make great strides in your career, you will need to find out whether the position allows you to take more control and have an increased level of autonomy. If you are looking to grow your own department, you should ensure that you will be given the support to do just that.
Alternatively, if you are somebody who is not particularly interested in becoming the next big thing, you may want to avoid these high-pressure and intense positions and look for something that is better suited to your unique needs.
Traditional vs Modern Law
Another point to consider when moving law firms is what type of law you want to work in. It’s easy to forget that new law is being made all the time, so ask yourself whether you want to work in the world of traditional law or on the front line of modern law.
It is essential that you delve into the company and find out how innovative it really is. For example, a firm working in up-and-coming areas of law could be a fantastic destination if you want to make a name for yourself and put the hard work in to progress rapidly.
What is the Culture Like?
When moving law firms, it is important to remember that not all companies are the same. Any given law firm will have a different culture and different sets of values from any other, so it is important that you choose a business that fits your own personality and ethics. You will need to take the time to think how you would fit in at the company and how it would fit you.
There is often nothing worse than feeling you are trapped in a law firm that has a toxic corporate culture. It can seriously sap your motivation and, in some cases, contradict your own morals. As a result, it is extremely important that you look for a job that does not require you to suspend your convictions or makes you feel that you are an insignificant cog in a large machine. You need to be sure you are totally comfortable in your position.
Where is the Firm Located?
As a solicitor, your first instinct will likely be to go for a position that protects your salary. For solicitors practicing in London, this may make you feel like staying in the capital is your only option.
While this may once have been true, cities such as Manchester and Bristol have grown to be real hot spots for high-quality law firms. Not only that, but these areas provide a better cost of living than you will find in the capital – meaning your money could go much further.
As such, a law firm in a different city or even a different part of the country does not need to be ruled out immediately, providing, of course, that such a move would benefit your personal and family life as well as your career.
When looking at location, it is important that you see past the basic points of how close it is to your home and what the commute will be like. Instead, you should be considering if the area is likely to provide what you want from your career, or whether you should relocate elsewhere.
Whether you are moving law firms for the first time or the tenth, it is important to realise that the best company to work for is not necessarily the one that pays the most. Achieving the perfect balance is one of the many ways you can take control of your legal career and make it much more successful and enjoyable. It is therefore essential to find a position that is the right fit for you as a person, while also matching your individual goals and ambitions.
To achieve this requires an in-depth knowledge of the law firm in question, as well as the legal market in general. The difficulty is that it is often difficult to achieve this by yourself.
As a result, it would be a good idea to work with somebody who has an extensive network of contacts and lives and breathes the legal market. This unique level of insight and experience will make it a lot easier to find what you are looking for. At Jepson Holt, we are committed to matching solicitors with jobs and law firms that will help them achieve their individual goals and we can provide you with the support you need to find your perfect position.
To further assist your push for success, we have created a free eBook entitled: “Taking Control of Your Legal Career”. This extensive guide provides you with all the information you need to build a successful career and the steps you should take. From how to create your personal brand and the importance of investing in yourself, we will provide you with the necessary tools to get the most out of your working life as possible.