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My Next Move: Should I accept a new firm job offer?

My Next Move: Should I accept a new firm job offer?

While a great salary and location may be tempting, there are other factors to consider in deciding whether to accept a new job offer. We ask private practice consultant Dianne Duncan from legal…

While a great salary and location may be tempting, there are other factors to consider in deciding whether to accept a new job offer. We ask private practice consultant Dianne Duncan from legal recruitment agency Naiman Clarke what to consider when weighing the pros and cons.

When deciding whether or not to accept a firm's job offer, there are a number of factors to take into consideration.

Salary, quality of work and the firm's location top the list of factors, however there is another significant consideration - the culture of the firm. Specifically, will you be well-suited and happy working there or will you want to jump ship within weeks? This is not a decision to be taken lightly.

While a great salary and location may be tempting, accepting a job offer would be unwise unless you know you will fit in with the rest of the firm. Factors to take into consideration include the size of the firm, staff retention, the clientele, leadership and, of course, lifestyle.

When it comes to the size of the firm, generally the larger the firm, the more bureaucratic it is. You will be expected to pay your dues by working on research and analysis before you get to dive into more exciting work. By contrast, smaller firms tend to rely more heavily on every employee, meaning you could well be expected to pitch in on important projects.

It's also important to find out how many employees leave the firm within the first couple of years and if the firm inspires loyalty. Are lawyers happy and loyal to the firm or do they jump ship within a few years of signing on? Is the firm's leadership style democratic or is the power held by just a few partners?

A firm's clients can also provide valuable insight, with those retaining the same clients since inception signifying a conservative outlook. In contrast, a firm with a mix of clients that is willing to take on younger, riskier clients may be less conservative and more inclined to grow.

When it comes to considering the lifestyle of the firm, you must also consider whether most lawyers meet the minimum billable hours or whether they exceed it and whether employees are encouraged to have a life outside the office.

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