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What lawyers should ask before making the switch

With competition for talent at a record high, lawyers are presented abundance of choice in terms of their employer, however, an expert in the space says there are six things to consider before shaking up their career.

user iconEmma Musgrave 01 August 2019 Big Law
Sydney street
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Director at Elias Recruitment Jason Elias said before taking the leap and changing jobs, one must consider several factors.

“Before you take the leap, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions: One – Am I being challenged in my current role? Two – Am I still learning? Three – Do I feel respected and appreciated? Four – Am I developing new skills that will enhance my value? Five – Can I see a future career path? And six – Do I get up each Monday excited going to work or not?,” he advises.

“Looking at the reality of your current role and being objective about whether it’s something that you need to change vs if it’s a change in employer that is required is often the most important first step.


“Only you know when it’s time to move on. But chances are you’ve at least thought about what the next move might be.”

Ultimately, Mr Elias said there are some clear warning signs that could be an indication that it’s time to make the switch.

The first, he said, is that staying “doesn’t make financial sense” anymore.

“It probably seems risky, but changing job can often mean an increase in income or other non-financial benefits,” Mr Elias said.

“New employers may offer an incentive to move across, some new firms are now offering ‘70 cents on the dollar in billings’ and cross-referral/client introduction fees (often 10 per cent of collected fees).

“Consider the other benefits you may currently be missing out on … better hours, working closer to home or flexibility like working from home one day a week.”

Another warning sign it’s time to move on is when you start to feel like you’re risking “guilt by association,” according to Mr Elias.

“No matter how many hours you put in, if you’re not working for the right people, that is energy wasted. Some firms are known for excellence in one area and not others,” he explained.

“Ask yourself: how positive is our firm’s reputation in my practice area? Who are we being compared to? Are we being held back or even missing out on work because of the way the firm is perceived? Perhaps moving on is a better bet for your reputation.”

Related to this, Mr Elias said if there’s a “values mismatch” between you and the employer then it could be a sign you’re ready to go elsewhere.

“This is tough because values underpin every decision, big and small. Even if your situation looks fantastic on paper, a fundamental mismatch in values or personalities will wear you down over time,” he said.

“Values don’t have to be spelled out in a strategic document. You’ll know what your firm’s priorities are, and whether you can keep working toward them.

“… When you started your current role it may have been a perfect match. But things change. If your firm decides to take things in a new direction, your areas of focus may simply not fit anymore. Perhaps they have brought in an outsider above you or merged with a firm with an incompatible culture.”

Lawyers Weekly, in partnership with Momentum Intelligence is currently exploring the key motivators legal professionals have when it comes to joining or switching firms through the 2019 “Legal Firm of Choice Survey”.

To learn more about the survey, click here or check out the podcast below.