Legal Career Advice: 4 Factors to Consider Before a Job Change

By Charles A. Volkert III, Esq.

The decision to change jobs is not one to make lightly. If you’re mulling over a job offer, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate this opportunity. Compensation is important, but it’s advisable to consider a number of other key factors before you embark on a career transition. Here’s a checklist designed to help you make an informed decision:

1. Time-related perks. How much additional paid time off would you be granted at the other firm? Are the hours flexible? Will you be able to work from home, or is the potential employer strict about staff being behind their desks at 8:30 a.m. sharp? How does the commute differ?

Work-life balance is an important factor in legal careers and job satisfaction. You don’t want to come off as a prima donna, asking these questions, but you do want to be as informed as possible.

2. Training and professional development opportunities. Thoroughly assess how employees at the other law firm stay current on training for legal professionals. Does the company pay for conferences? Are they willing to reimburse tuition costs? You want to work for an employer that supports continual learning.

3. Upward mobility. It’s essential to inquire about whether promotions at the other firm are a possibility and the steps one would need to take to be considered.

Network with other employees at the firm during your interview. Get a feel for the direction the company is headed, and, if possible, insight about its promotion habits.

4. Workplace culture. In evaluating your potential new employer, ask around about the firm’s workplace culture. Who would you be replacing, and why did the other person leave? Do you hear undertones of office politics? Are you comfortable around the person you’d be reporting to?

If you think you might have a strong shot at a management position or decent bump in pay at your current firm, if your employer is willing to cover the cost of your training and you enjoy working with your supervisor and coworkers, it might be best to stay put. Moving to another firm, on the other hand, might be a step in the right direction for your legal career.

The best legal career advice is to find out all you can about a prospective employer, make an informed decision and move forward.