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Switching Law Firms: Strategies to Increase Your Chances at the Next Legal Career Move

published March 09, 2023

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( 12 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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Switching Law Firms: Strategies to Increase Your Chances at the Next Legal Career Move

Switching Law Firms: Strategies to Increase Your Chances at the Next Legal Career Move

Have you been working at a law firm for years and are considering lateral hiring to another law firm? If so, then this article is perfect for you. This article is also useful for law students looking to broaden their knowledge on career strategy.

By reading this article, you will learn how to go about your next legal career move to increase your chances of success. You will also get career advice on successfully lateral, finding the right opportunity, what questions should be asked during the interview process, and more! So read on if you want some help and advice on transitioning from one law firm job to another.

Can One Look For A New Job While Still Working?

Should you quit your existing job starting the job search process? The answer is not always simple. If you are unhappy in your current law firm, quitting would be best to avoid any negative consequences like depression and anxiety. On the other hand, if there's too much uncertainty about how long it will take to find a job, then it may be best to stay put.

Is it possible to make a move while still working at your existing law firm? It is not impossible, but it is risky. Start looking for new job opportunities while remaining on payroll and under contract at your current law firm (which could lead to ugly legal consequences if your employer finds out). There may backlash, and you may even face legal consequences for breach of contract.

How to Prepare for a Lateral Law Firm Interview?

We decided to include this section, as the recruiting process in lateral moves tends to be quite different from the usual job interview. The overarching assumption in these interviews is that attorneys already have considerable experience in your practice area, and as such, they tend to be quite direct. Even then, many candidates are caught off guard by this approach and find themselves struggling to answer the recruiter. Read on to find out how to prepare yourself for law firms' lateral interviews.

You must be able to explain your work experience clearly and succinctly. Top candidates can explain how said work experience would be of value to the recruiter.

Candidates often take being aware of their job descriptions for granted. While it's true that you're aware of what your role entails, it might not be the case that you can verbalize what you do. Take the time to write down your job description, and commit it to memory. To fit your work experience into the interviewer's firm, you must research the recruiter's firm.

Secondly, you may be asked why you left your previous job. For this question, you should be prepared to provide a succinct and honest answer. In doing so, we recommend that you avoid bashing your previous employers. For instance, instead of saying "they overworked me," you could say,  "I felt I needed a lifestyle change."

The recruiter may move on to ask about your expectations. This seemingly simple question is anything but! You must deploy a lot of tact when answering this one. When asked this question,  you should be prepared to discuss how you want to be challenged and your goals. If the interviewer does not ask this question outright, it is a good idea to mention something like "I would really appreciate feedback from my manager" so that they know you care about advancing in their firm.

This is usually the final question: "What are your salary expectations?" Be prepared to answer this one as early as possible in the evaluation process. The compensation you ask for will vary depending on market rates and other factors but know that it may be too late if you do not have a strong negotiating strategy before going into an interview. To successfully negotiate compensation, you should determine what you are worth and be ready to negotiate with the recruiter.

What to Ask During the Interview Process?

The recruiter may ask if you have any questions for them. If they do, make sure you ask them questions to help you decide if the job is a good fit for you.

Examples of things to ask the recruiter include, "What is the typical career path for attorneys at your firm?" "How many hours a week are you expected to work, on average?" "Is there an opportunity for advancement in this position?" "Would I be able to take any time off during my first year (e.g., parental leave)?"

How To Inform Your Current Employer About Plans To Leave?

If your prospective firm would hire you, you need to let your current employer about plans to leave.  How do you go about doing so? The short answer is that you need to be honest and forthcoming. By honest and forthcoming, we mean that you need to disclose your plans and provide as much information as possible so that they are not blindsided. There's no easy way around this dilemma: To succeed with transitioning into another law firm's job, you must terminate your current one.

The best way is for the law firm attorney who is leaving to meet with HR, their supervisor, or the partnership management at their current law firm to give them notice of resignation. This will allow the partnership enough time (generally two weeks) to find someone else before you start the new job.  Remember, awkwardness during your exit interview cannot be avoided.

If at all possible, you should try to meet with the people you are leaving behind (the law firm attorneys who are staying) so that they know how much their work and input contributed to your career. It's a small gesture but one that can go a long way in making someone feel valued.


Making a lateral move is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make in your career. If done right, it can improve your trajectory and lead to greater career options while maintaining your work-life balance. However, if not planned well or executed poorly, it could ruin your chances for future growth and career options.

The career advice we've given here will help guide attorneys through this process to avoid any pitfalls along the way by doing things right from the start. Our goal is to provide an easy-to-follow roadmap with all of the information necessary to help you make a successful lateral move without any pain points involved! We hope that this article has achieved that.

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published March 09, 2023

( 12 votes, average: 4 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.