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Are You Still in Love With Your Law Firm? The 6 Sure-fire Signs It’s Time To Move

  • March 6, 2020

The recent Challenges and Opportunities Survey, conducted by Clayton Legal, provided some interesting data on the different obstacles faced by legal professionals in business today.

For many employers, recruitment and retention of the right talent remain a priority, along with the seemingly unending skills shortage in a competitive legal marketplace, with law firms jostling for the best candidates.

As a legal professional, if you are considering a move – now is a great time to make it. Employers are offering attractive packages that provide not just excellent remuneration, but bonuses and additional packages such as flexitime, additional leave, sabbaticals and wellbeing strategies.

We spend the majority of our lives at work, so it’s critical to make sure you are in the right role. While there are plenty of good arguments for staying at your current law firm; equally, there are reasons why it could make sense to look around for other opportunities.

So, how do you decide if a move is for you? Are you still in love with your law firm? Legal professionals often leave a firm because they want to make a move to a bigger market or a more prestigious position, or to a smaller market and less stressful job. But there are other reasons, too.

This article, looks at the six giveaway signs that it may be time to resign gracefully and seek pastures new.

1. You Are Poorly Compensated

Do you feel you are not being paid what you are worth?

If your law firm doesn’t have the resources to compensate you fairly, is it because of low client numbers due to a weak marketplace or because they don’t value your expertise?

If it is the former and you otherwise enjoy working for your firm, then you might decide to stay and see if the marketplace improves. However, if you feel that you are under-appreciated or that staff salaries are not a priority, then it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

2. You Work Away From Home/Family

One of the recurring reasons legal employees look to change roles is to be nearer home and family.

Many young solicitors start out craving the bright lights of another city or new area – and that often works well initially and provides an excellent experience. But for those who want to settle down or who have family, being nearer home is a significant factor in their career choice.

Additionally, many law firms recognise that solicitors and practice directors who want to relocate nearer their families are valuable retention-wise as they are more likely to stay with their firm.

It’s also worth considering that working nearer home means less commuting time, which improves work-life balance – providing more leisure opportunities such as going to the gym, socialising with friends or spending time relaxing at home.

3. You Can’t Access Further Training

For those starting in the legal world, it’s critical to have a mentor. For example, if you are a newly qualified conveyancing solicitor, it’s advantageous to have someone in your firm who can offer guidance and advice as you get to grips with the ropes in your new career.

However, as you progress, you may find you still require advice, but there is no additional training provided and no-one to offer guidance.

In which case, are you better off looking for a new position where further, consistent training and mentoring is offered?

4. You Don’t Feel Challenged – or There’s Too Much Stress

Do you feel as though you have plateaued in your legal career?

It may be that you have reached the top of the potential career ladder in your current firm and can’t see a way to progress further. Perhaps your career hasn’t gone quite as you expected, and a Partnership hasn’t materialised.

Or maybe you are feeling jaded in your current role, and you have no way of advancing your current career specialism.

Could it be that there simply is not enough work in your current law firm; in which case do you hope things will improve, or look for another role elsewhere?

Alternatively, is the workload too much? Do you feel that you are drowning in caseloads and risking burnout because of little investment in staff from your current law firm?

5. The Culture is Not a Good Fit

Company culture is a significant decider in many legal employee’s resolution to leave their current role.

If you work in a law firm with a great culture fit, where the ethos of the firm matches your own, and you feel part of a larger team all pulling together to achieve mutual goals and aspirations – that’s wonderful.

But if you are working in an environment where you feel distanced from the firm’s goals, that your opinions are not valued, or that you are simply not in the right place with the right people; is it time to seek a better culture?

Remember, it’s essential to surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with. And not just for great company culture, but for your mental health too.

6. You Want to Broaden Your Horizons

Finally, do you want to broaden your horizons by moving to a more esteemed law firm?

For ambitious individuals who enjoy a challenge, moving to a prestigious law firm can offer them the opportunity for higher-level advancement.

Additionally, you could aim to maximise your career by moving to a law firm who is a marketplace leader in your own specialism.

For many, ‘trading up’ is the logical step from their current firm, and it could be argued that the entire legal market thrives due to solicitors moving onto more prestigious firms, providing the opportunity for the next generation of legal professionals to start their career.

Making the Move

If you decide that a move is for you, it’s wise to plan it well to minimise disruption and maximise your opportunities.

Firstly, set up job alerts with relevant career search sites and consider engaging the help of a specialist recruiter like Clayton Legal – recruiters can offer valuable advice and have a wealth of contacts – and our services are free of charge to candidates.

Secondly, update your online profile as would-be employers (and recruiters) will no doubt check these out for information about you before offering an interview.

Lastly, if you are still employed, remember to job hunt ethically and when you have found your perfect role, ensure you leave on good terms with your employer – you never know when you might meet them again.

What Are Your Next Steps?

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for your ideal legal role, please call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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