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Is the Firm You Want to Join is Right for You?

Arriving at the decision to make a move to another firm is a big one for any senior professional.
Regardless of what motivations instigate your actions, any move should ideally be focussed
on what you are heading towards much more so than what you are moving away from –
better opportunities and fit, rather than moving away from poorer options.

Many senior lawyers agree that once you’ve made it so far in your career, your clients
become your leverage when securing a position that better aligns with your personal and
professional vision. After all, it is your responsibility to ensure that your clients receive the
best possible care in more ways than what you can personally do for them. The firm you
represent and the team you have on hand must be beneficial to your clients as well. Losing
sight of this perspective can be detrimental, not only to your professional trajectory, but also
to the relationships you work so hard to foster.

Here are some key things to remember when considering which law firm you should decide
to join to avoid making a sub-par move.

Be honest with yourself

It is essential to be introspective during your decision making journey. Reflect on career
moves that you have made to date. Were there any decisions that you would have made
differently? Which ones did you feel went well? What advice do you wish you had had along
the way?

This honest review gives you a clearer perspective that can only benefit the next phase of
your professional journey.

To help with this, we have written two other insight pieces on lateral moves. Discover the
three most important questions that astute law professionals ask themselves to avoid career
stagnation and how to strategise your lateral move this year.

Service range capabilities for your clients

Your expertise and experience holds great value to your clients but the team that supports
you greatly impacts the way the work is delivered to them. A good lateral move does not only
improve your prospects; it should uphold, if not, elevate your client’s experience in working
with you.

Before committing to any firm, it is imperative that you can confirm that they are able to
serve the needs of your current clients, and the prospective clients you wish to attract.

Cultural Alignment

A lateral move for a good senior lawyer is rarely an easy one. It goes without saying that a
‘good fit’ is imperative for the longevity of the move made. Not only does the firm have to
fulfil the service requirements of your clients for the sake of your reputation, but there needs
to be synergies in values as well as approach towards teamwork and leadership.

This leads into the next thing to consider. Does the firm share synergies in the appetite for
growth as you do? How much headroom do you have professional growth in the future?

Firm vision Vs. firm reputation

Many lawyers and their clients look at a firm’s reputation for a track record and how well they
fit their needs. While reputation is a good way to attract business and high performing young
professionals to your team, it should be balanced with a firm’s drive towards achieving their

Vision is required to build, grow and develop with a specific end in mind. This is where a
senior lawyer gets the opportunity to make their mark in their area of expertise. Regardless
of reputation or vision, it is important to be forthcoming about expectations during

Balanced expectations in remuneration, hours and billing

Well managed expectations are integral to the overall success of the relationship between
the new senior hire and the firm. This will minimise the risk of difficult conversations in the
future about unrealistic expectations around targets, workload and resources.

Be wary of a gilded offer (more so if it’s vague)

Sometimes, a golden opportunity arises and it seems too good to pass up. Approaching this
with cautious optimism and keeping your eye on the fine details diminishes the risk of
burnout and dissatisfaction in the long run.

Some firms will pay you incredibly well in exchange for more commitment to the firm. This
can significantly impact your personal life and in turn, take a toll on your health and ultimate
career progression.

It is important to stay mindful of your personal values and what is important to you when an
attractive remuneration package is presented to you. How well does the role fulfil your
aspirations? Are your personal values compromised by a hefty pay cheque?

There have been countless instances where good senior lawyers have lost their passion for
what they do but remain trapped in the role after taking large financial commitments and they
cannot afford to leave to do something more rewarding and fulfilling. Remember that the more you want to receive from a deal, the higher the expectations of you will be.

Do not seek so much remuneration that your targets end up on your back.

Get help if you are not certain

There are many things to consider far beyond accepting an offer. Effective preparation is
fundamental to get the best results. That said, you shouldn’t let it discourage you from
exploring what’s best for your career.

Lateral moves, if done strategically are most often beneficial to a senior lawyer and their
clients. If you are experiencing dissatisfaction in your current position, avoid ignoring them.
Contact our team for a confidential, no obligation chat about where you can take your career.
Alternatively, as an interim step, try our self-assessment tool to get some insight into what is
normal to consider and how close to taking action you ought to be.

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