When is the Right Time to Transition From Your Current Law Firm Job?
Not all positions will lead to a thriving legal career — even in Biglaw. Knowing when to transition out of your current law firm job can be a challenge, but it’s a critical step in moving forward with your career.
Early consultation with a legal recruiter is a great idea if you’re considering leaving your current position for a new one. Legal recruiters have connections throughout the industry — here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, for example, we have deep networks that extend to prestigious firms and in-house departments throughout California. We are therefore well-positioned to help you identify positions that match your particular needs and that give you the best opportunity to grow as an attorney.
Upwards Mobility is Usually Predictable
Though not always, upwards mobility is often predictable. As a general rule, if you are not among the top two or three candidates for partner, you’ll know — after all, barring exceptional circumstances, there is an additional level of commitment (to the firm) that an attorney must demonstrate.
Upwardly-mobile attorneys tend to be given additional client-facing responsibilities, and may take on a more managerial role with respect to their projects. Some firms give all attorneys ample opportunity to interface with clients and handle a broader range of tasks — in such cases, you’ll have to consider the extent and degree of responsibility that you’ve been asked to shoulder. The more firm business relies on you, the more likely it is that you have an upward trajectory at the firm.
Alternative Work Arrangements May Not Be Feasible
In today’s legal industry, more-and-more firms have implemented alternative work arrangements to suit shifting attitudes towards career opportunities. Depending on the firm, if you do not wish to pursue the “partner” track, you may be allowed to transition to a non-partner track where pay continues to increase linearly, and where you are given a divergent set of responsibilities.
In some cases, firms may offer part-time work arrangements (to appeal to attorneys with new family responsibilities), or may offer remote work arrangements so that the attorney can spend their time at home, supervising their children. These arrangements are not always feasible for attorneys looking to grow their career, however — at many Biglaw firms, accepting an alternative track is tantamount to accepting career stagnation.
Before committing to an alternative work arrangement, you’ll want to carefully consider whether there are other firms that offer the same arrangements, but with better growth opportunities. With the aid of a legal recruiter, you can research other firms and find out more about how attorneys in those arrangements have built thriving (or stagnant) careers.
Culture Fit is a “Big Deal”
Firm culture differences are often underestimated. Though most attorneys broadly accept that every firm has a particular work environment (which may be either actively or passively encouraged, depending on the firm), there tends to be something of a disconnect — an attorney may attribute some issue at work to some vague inability to adapt, when in fact the environment itself is incompatible with their personality and preferences.
Generally speaking, attorneys find it easier to ignore “toxic” or “incompatible” firm culture early on in their career. As attorneys take on more responsibility within a firm, however, the cracks can begin to show. Dissatisfaction with the status quo may be further justified by outside opportunities.
Despite some firms having made strides to embrace a more inclusive environment — not solely in terms of gender and racial diversity, but also with regard to different lifestyles — many prestigious Biglaw firms have not quite changed. If you find yourself coming up against a career wall (i.e., you cannot secure a more flexible schedule to be with family), then it may be indicative that the firm culture is simply not inclusive enough. Moving to a different firm may be necessary to find a work environment that matches your changed preferences.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Legal Recruiter for Further Guidance
Are you curious about the legal job market and how it has changed since you last explored firm and in-house opportunities?
Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, we understand that the prospect of finding a new position can be somewhat intimidating for those who have been laser-focused on growing their career with a single employer. Our legal recruiters have decades of combined experience working with a range of attorneys — including those with firm backgrounds, and beyond — helping them navigate through the application process and secure their ideal placement.
Call (310) 207-0727 today to speak with one of the experienced Los Angeles legal recruiters here at Garb Jaffe & Associates. We have a holistic approach to applications, and as such, we will consider your career objectives and background — and numerous other factors — when evaluating how to proceed with recruitment on your behalf.