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Lateral Moves: Three questions astute law practitioners ask themselves to avoid career stagnation

Lateral Moves

There is no doubt that the legal sector is effervescent with change and the days of lifelong careers with the same law firm are already a relic of the past. As a result, it is increasingly common for the more astute partners and senior lawyers to regularly take stock of their career trajectory. 

On top of professional development, practitioners who are ahead of their game usually take two key factors into consideration; personal fulfilment – how happy they are with their professional life, and the interests of their clients. You cannot achieve your highest goals without considering what is key to your clients’ experience beyond your personal interactions. 

Avoid Stagnation with Three Key Questions 

In the 18 years of servicing the UK legal sector, Ortus Group has helped in excess of 300 partners and senior lawyers optimise their careers and keep them on track. Here are the three key questions that the team asks to help realign law practitioners with their ideal path, revitalise experienced law firm partners and improve service standards: 

1. Are your personal and professional ambitions achievable with your current firm?

An ever important question for anyone who feels like they are running on a steadily accelerating treadmill. Even for those who are aligned with their values and ambitions, this question poses as a checkpoint to assess if current actions or inactions – of the firm and you, are taking you in the right direction. For example, are you satisfied with the quality and range of clients and colleagues? Are targets realistic/reasonable to keep your and your associates’ focus on excellence rather than simply chasing fees at all costs? These factors impact your bandwidth to achieve your best within an acceptable time frame.

2. Does your present firm provide all the services and support your clients require?

Building a client portfolio is integral to achieving your ambitions. Your ability to serve clients most effectively comes hand-in-hand with the firm’s ability to support them across the board. If important aspects of expertise are unavailable or sub-standard, you run the risk of clients voting with their feet, regardless of how happy they may be with you.  They may be growing at a different pace to you or your firm so regular appraisal of their needs and wants is almost as important as a regular appraisal of your own. 

3. How happy are you at your current firm? 

This question often invokes a black-and-white response but the real answer is usually grey. Most of us are reasonably happy most of the time but a lack of reflection can result in us one day finding that we are at a dead end, or simply just realising that we could have done so much more. If only…

Where are you on that satisfaction spectrum? How much further, if at all, are you prepared to move along that spectrum before taking action?  Having a confidential conversation with an advisor is always useful, even if it helps you to find the right steps within your current firm. 

Get More Insight with Ortus Group’s Self-Assessment Tool

It is not unusual for very busy people to put up with things for too long and then only choose to look externally when relationships are breaking or other aspects become unbearable.  

Reflecting well before you reach this point increases the likelihood of you making better decisions and any change you make is likely to have a much greater positive impact.  To help with this, Ortus Group has developed a free-to-use tool to help you consider some key aspects and provide some useful pointers.  

In no more than 3 minutes, the short 8-10 questions will provide you with the following:

  • Observations on your current career path 
  • Key points to consider periodically and regularly through your career
  • Further guidance on what you can do to improve your situation, whether we think you should remain with your current firm or run to the hills. 

Give the self-assessment tool a try by clicking on the button below.

Alternatively, Speak to the Team Directly

With more than 18 years experience in executive search, mergers and acquisitions, Ortus Group is primed to help legal professionals effectively assess their direction of travel and if beneficial, make their next move. Reach out to a member of our team for a complimentary and confidential conversation on how to keep your career on track via email at or call 0330 100 5420.

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