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Is Waiting to Get Multiple Offers a Good Idea?

published February 17, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 28 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
When leaving law school, or upon passing the bar, attorneys often have more than one offer to consider for their first job. They have to weigh the pros and cons of the various proposals, research the firms and decide on the best place to start their career. In the lateral market, things rarely work out as smoothly. Getting multiple offers, depending on the market, can take some time.
Is Waiting to Get Multiple Offers a Good Idea?

If seeking employment in a niche area of practice or a small market, a lawyer should be prepared to consider each offer as it comes instead of waiting for multiple proposals for comparison. If you want to practice in a specific geographical area that is saturated or if you hope to practice a specialized area of law, you may not have the luxury of multiple offers. Most offers are only good for 7-21 days from the date of issuance. After that window closes, the job may be offered to another candidate.

Instead of comparing offers, focus your efforts on getting the best offer possible from any firm where you interview. Research the market, both by geography and specialty, and know your worth. Be prepared to negotiate when you receive an offer but set realistic expectations.

If you are competing in a broader market, maybe because you live in a large city, or practice an expanding specialty of law, you may be able to garner multiple offers during a designated window. Even then, you will have to juggle interviews, waiting for proposals, and trying to rush a complicated decision within a narrow window. Depending on the needs of the market and how strong a candidate you are, you may be able to negotiate for a longer time to consider each offer.

The steps to getting the offer you deserve

Instead of focusing on the number of offers you receive, know the market and your own worth. In focusing on those two key elements, you can structure your lega job search in a way that allows you to evaluate each offer independently. To put yourself in the best possible position to receive the law firm offer you want, consider the following suggestions:
  1. Find a well-respected legal recruiter, and meet with them. A legal recruiter will be paid by the firms who are searching for new legal talent, and they have their finger on the pulse of the market. A reputable legal recruiter should be able to give you an honest assessment of the types of offers that others with your education and experience are receiving.
  2. A good legal recruiter can also help you determine how to highlight your most valuable market skills and accomplishments to match each potential new position. Some law firms will put significant weight on which law school you attended, while others are more focused on practical experience. A legal recruiter, who has worked with these firms in the past, can also help you create a portfolio of accomplishments and samples that align with the law firm you are considering.
  3. Once you understand your potential worth to a new employer, you can make a realistic assessment of the other things that matter to you. Do you want to work in a large, prestigious law firm with room for advancement? Would you rather be the head of a small department? What type of commute is acceptable? Which benefits matter the most to you? Would you be willing to accept a somewhat lower-paying attorney position in exchange for more time at home with your family? You should know the answer to all of these questions before sending out your first feelers.
  4. Define your geographical area. Are you willing to relocate, and what kind of offer would it take for you to relocate? The issue of relocation can be particularly important in niche areas of legal practice. By definition, practicing in a small legal niche, such as environmental law, means you may have to consider relocation to find the best fit. If you specialize in cybersecurity, the west coast may offer many more law firm opportunities than you will find in Oklahoma.
  5. Use your network to its full advantage. Before you even start your job search, work your connections to find out about the legal market and what type of salaries, benefits, and other essential factors others who are making lateral attorney moves in your field are getting. Email friends from law school, reach out to others who have made similar moves. When engaging with your contacts, do not forget the value of paraprofessionals. Legal assistants, secretaries, and paralegals often have valuable inside knowledge of the inner-workings of a law office. Paraprofessionals often have useful information about the overall environment of a firm. If you worked with a paralegal who now works at a firm you are interested in, reach out to them for the scoop on the culture of the firm.
  6. Determine why you are leaving your current law firm. Are the hours too much? Do you not see enough room for growth and advancement? Do you want a completely different work environment? The reason you are changing attorney jobs is a crucial factor in finding a career that aligns with your goals.

Write down the reason you are considering a move from your current position and the necessities that you must have to consider an offer. Then, continue adding the things you would like to have in a new legal position. Now that you have a firm grasp on what you want in an offer, you are in a much better place to evaluate each proposal based on how closely it matches your list.

If you are fortunate enough to have multiple offers, the list will help you determine which proposals match most of your criteria. Take the time to factor in all the variables. If you are open to relocation, and an offer comes in at almost twice your current salary, but it is in an area where the cost of living triples, does that make it an upward move?

With any offer, aside from your list of necessities, there are other things you should consider:
  • If possible, speak to former and current attorneys where you have been given an offer. Is the corporate culture that is represented in initial interviews the way things really are at the law firm? Use good judgment here as each person has their own set of goals. A rigid structure might be where you thrive but was a serious negative for someone who valued a more laid back environment.
  • How will work be allocated? Will you rotate through different areas of practice or allowed to specialize in just one?
  • Is the firm contracting or expanding? At what rate have partners been leaving the firm, and for what reasons?
  • Never overlook benefits in calculating the value of an offer. Vacation policies, caregiver arrangements, bonus potential, and even an on-site gym, may all play a role in finding the best fit for you. Even things like free parking can make a difference in a city where parking is a significant expense or hard to come by.

When you get ready to launch your search for a new job, the number of offers you receive is not nearly as important as the quality of offers that you receive. You could let the first offer pass you by, only to discover that it was the best offer after it is too late. That is why knowing what is most important to you can help you judge each proposal on its own merits.

Having a deep understanding of what you want and what you want to avoid are the most essential elements of choosing your next move as an attorney. Keep your eye on the long-game, and do not be distracted by the flattery of being pursued by law firms that do not offer what you want from your legal career. Established law firms have often mastered the art of pursuing new legal talent, but that does nothing to change the fact that their core values may not align with your goals.

In the search for a new job as a lawyer, don’t roll the dice and take the offer that looks best on paper. Each step you take on your career journey will inevitably affect where your career takes you. Someone else’s dream job might be a nightmare for you, and a position that seems like a step back might be what you need to achieve your goals ultimately. Know what you need in your next law firm position. Make sure you are qualified and ready, then have the courage to turn down offers that clearly will not lead to the place you want to be.

published February 17, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
( 28 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.