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Top 20 Common Mistakes Attorneys Make When on the Job Hunt
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job hunt mistakes

Summary: Attorneys make a lot of mistakes when it comes to looking for a new job, so review this list of the top 20 mistakes so you don’t make them.

Read the full article Top 20 Mistakes Attorneys Make When Choosing to Look for and Accept New Jobs to learn more.


Just like moving homes for the wrong reason can be expensive and a waste, leaving your job is the same. There are many factors to consider before deciding to leave your law firm. Harrison Barnes has put together twenty reasons that would be considering the wrong reasons to leave your job at a law firm.

  1. Getting in with the wrong crowd that brings down morale.

Are the members of the group that you generally associate with leaving the law firm so you decide you should too? There will always be groups of people or individuals that are unhappy or complain about their firm. You must decide if you want to be part of that group.

  1. Receive a bad review or feel unfairly criticized.

The best law firms will critique fresh attorneys harshly so that they can improve, work hard, and focus on the details. If a firm does not want you at their firm any longer, they will say so or fire you.

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  1. Offered more money.

Unless the increase in salary is substantial, such as double, consider what “invisible costs” there may be. These costs may be in expectations of billed hours, lack of a future with the firm, and no clients that will want to stick with the rate that accompanies your higher salary.

  1. It may be fun.

The excitement of being wanted by someone is hard to suppress. Imaging the new possibilities, new adventures that come with a change in employment and even location are exciting but you are only imagining the future, you have no idea what it will actually be like.

  1. Leaving a high paying salary before necessary.

Job stability at a place that likes you and gives you work is not something to toss aside.

  1. Moving for prestige instead of opportunity or comfort.

Moving to a better law firm just so you can claim the additional prestige is foolish. When an attorney becomes more focused on their social standing instead of loving their practice, they will burn out.

  1. Moving at a bad time.

Many practice areas have times of high demand followed by very little. Other practice areas have very few openings ever become available. Some chances will only come along once in a blue moon so be ready when you need to move instead of when you want to.

  1. Not applying or interviewing at enough places.

Moving to a law firm as a lateral hire is not easy. Being a lateral hire involves a lot more than just your law school grades. Law firms will be looking at your work, connection with them, stability, advancement potential, business generation potential, and more. They learn this information through your resume and interviews. With so many factors you will need to apply and interview at several places until you find the right fit.

  1. Giving up the job search after a rejection.

As mentioned above, there are many factors that contribute to finding a new job.

  1. Not taking the first job offered.

Receiving a job offer as a lateral hire is hard to come by so the chances are you won’t be receiving more than one offer, at least not at the same time.

  1. Taking the first job offered.

Take some time to look for an offer from a more desirable law firm in smaller markets instead of taking the first offer that gets thrown your way.

  1. Not knowing where the firm’s work comes from.

You need to know why there is a need for you at the firm so you can determine if the need is long-term.

  1. Not knowing what the working conditions will be like.

Look into how many people have been leaving the law firm, especially that were in the same position you will be taking over.

  1. Moving to a city known for having a little work or a history of ups and downs.

You need to understand the economy of a city if you are relocating. There are some cities that experience big booms of business when oil prices change compared to other cities that maintain very stable legal markets.

  1. Moving to a struggling prestigious law firm.

There are times when a big name law firm is on the way out. Moving to the law firm at this time would be bad since they may not be around much longer.

  1. Moving to a weak branch office.

Some law firms have offices that are struggling either because of the market or management. It is not uncommon for law firms to close branches that are not performing well so be careful.

  1. Moving to a firm that does not work together.

Some law firms operate where partners are like independent businesses. Being responsible for your entire salary is a lot of pressure when partners at the same firm may be fighting over business.

  1. Moving to a firm with an inexperienced management team.

New managers can make a lot of mistakes trying to impress others.

  1. A long history with a firm will bring greater loyalty.

Be careful abandoning a law firm that you have been with for a long time. They will most likely have great loyalty towards you, making you one of the last to be fired when the market slows down.

  1. Moving law firms often.

Moving around a lot makes you look disloyal and like a flight risk.


Related articles:

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Attorneys Should Leave a Law Firm Under Three Circumstances

Too Often Attorneys Quit Law for the Wrong Reasons






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