Timing a strategic career move can be tricky. There are a number of factors to consider in order to maximise career options and get the most out of your surrounds. We ask senior consultant with Dolman, Alex McIntyre, when to stay and when to go.
Lawyers looking to make a move within the first two years of practice often find there are limited options available as the larger firms usually resource these positions through graduate schemes. Generally, lawyers are advised to learn as much as they can with their existing employer until they have around two years of experience, giving themselves more options in the employment market.
As you progress towards associate level and reach up to five years of PQE, you are more attractive to employers and have the most options available to you. This is because you have developed the core technical skills, knowledge of the law in your specialist area and are able to take on higher levels of responsibility, whilst remaining malleable.
If you are on the cusp of becoming a senior associate and are weighing up whether you should stay and get promoted or move, there are a few factors to consider.
If you do decide to stay and become a senior associate, you should stay in that role for at least one to two years so that you can benefit from the experience and become more attractive to the market. If you are a year away from becoming a senior associate and are thinking of making a move, it would be better to make a move now so you can invest your time with a new employer.
As you reach the five year PQE mark and above, more options become available on the in-house side as you will have more refined technical skills and a stronger commercial acumen that is required for in-house roles.
At the more senior level, looking to make a move can take time and there are fewer options available both in-house and in private practice. It's worth keeping track of market activity as it's harder to predict when the right opportunity will arise.