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My next move: Should I move to a large firm or a boutique?

My next move: Should I move to a large firm or a boutique?

There are many considerations when it comes to your next career move and the size of the firm you’re moving to is one of them.

There are many considerations when it comes to your next career move and the size of the firm you’re moving to is one of them. 

The larger firms can sometimes pay extremely well; they have excellent resources and more colleagues to liaise with at varying levels.  However, the popularity of boutique and mid-tier practices is increasing, with many candidates looking for roles with ample direct client contact and a variety of work.  Some boutique firms will extend duties out further than the larger firms because there aren’t as many people to cover the duties. For example, a workplace relations lawyer may take on broader general commercial work purely because there isn’t another team in place to do so.

For some, the possibility of international transfers within the same global firm can be enticing.  Things to consider include: are you looking for the possibility of moving overseas?  Are you looking for a challenge?  Are you seeking work-life balance or an increase in your salary?  Are the clients that you wish to work with blue chip, individuals, SMEs or charities?  Are you seeking funding or support to do further training and study?  

Another consideration is the processes that the firm implements. Larger firms are sometimes more process driven and have ample policies in place, while some newer smaller firms are still establishing their best practices.  For some lawyers the opportunity to grow and develop the firm is attractive, while for others the established model works better.  The culture of firms can be significantly different depending on the size, so make sure that you enquire about this and get to know some of your colleagues during the interview process.

Both options are enticing in their own ways and both will lead down very different paths.

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