Legal Career Resources

Money Isn’t Everything When It Comes to Being an Attorney
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attorney teamwork

Summary: An attorney that chooses being part of a “tribe” over the highest salary available to them at any law firm will see greater success in the long term of their career.

Read Why You Should Find Your “Tribe” and Not Just Focus on Money in Making Law Firm Job Decisions to learn more.


There is much more than the amount of money you will make at a law firm that needs to be considered before accepting a job. Of course money is important but so is finding a law firm that fits your needs for the long term. Harrison Barnes explains that being part of a “tribe” is more important and will bring greater rewards than a bigger but short-term salary.

Read Top 20 Common Mistakes Attorneys Make When on the Job Hunt to learn more.

The “tribe” mentality provides a sense of fitting and feeling protected for an attorney in the highly competitive world of the legal industry. Being able to go to work each day at a law firm where you feel this safety will allow you to be happier so that you can continue to earn a comfortable and stable income. When an attorney takes a job because of its salary but no safety net, they may find themselves quitting, getting burnt out, or fired within a short amount of time after being hired.

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As Barnes points out, “There are many firms around the country that are composed of people of different ‘tribes’ – religions, ethnic groups, common socioeconomic backgrounds and so forth. Some firms are composed of people with conservative political viewpoints, while others favor liberals.”

See 10 Tips for Surviving in a Big Law Firm.

The safety provided by a “tribe” can take effect when the law firm considers firing you because other members of the “tribe” may stick up for you, causing problems for the law firm. “Tribes protect their own and you want to surround yourself with tribe members every chance that you get – regardless of money issues.”

Law firms that value money over “tribes” see their attorneys as commodities that can be disposed of whenever. There is no thought to who the attorney is or their connection to the firm because another attorney can replace them immediately. Attorneys at money-driven firms “are vulnerable to all kinds of threats, including changes in the business and economic climate, inability to hold into clients, competition for business, political infighting, threats from fellow attorneys, layoffs, not making partner, getting bad performance reviews, demotions and more.”

Have you experienced this mentality? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the tribe mentality in a law firm, read Factors Law Firms Look at When Hiring.





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