Does the Fact That I’ve Changed Law Firms a Couple Times Already Affect My Chances of Being Able to Lateral to a New One Now?

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Nadeen Weybrecht

Does the fact that I’ve changed law firms a couple times already affect my chances of being able to lateral to a new one now?


Yes, the number of times you have moved can certainly affect how viable of a lateral candidate you are to a law firm. If you have been practicing for three to five years, and you have moved more than once already, your appeal may not be as strong, notwithstanding a strong academic background and your current status as an associate at a top firm. Numerous moves make firms question your acceptance of and ability to thrive in a law firm, or even your long-term commitment to the practice of law itself. Additionally, numerous moves can prompt firms to question your work and whether it was your own weaknesses that forced you to change firms. Firms can worry that your work was not valued, you did not actively seek work, or that you were simply not liked enough to receive work on a consistent basis - all reasons to not take a chance on hiring you.

If you have already made two or more moves, consider carefully your current position and how it is you arrived there. Think about how you articulate your reasons for having made each move, and how you can explain them in a manner that is both truthful and that speaks to your strengths and ambition, or to changes that occurred that were beyond your control. As you present your record and your reasons for having lateraled to new firms, remember that firms seek stability and that when you move too many times, you raise the risk of being perceived as unstable.

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