Making a lateral switch to a different law firm can be an incredibly powerful decision. However, it is not something that should be done lightly. It must be well thought out and carefully executed.
If you are thinking about moving law firms, there are some things you need to prepare for before you make the move. Below, we will look at some of the most common reasons why lawyers choose to switch firms, as well as some keep tips you need to remember when applying for lawyer jobs.
Why are you switching law firms?
If you are considering making the switch to a different law firm, you first need to work out why you want to make the change. Once you have worked out the reason why you want to make the switch, you can try and apply for roles that will better meet your needs. Here are some of the most common reasons why you might be wanting to switch law firms.
- You are not getting good experience: in general, you should always be getting the same level of experience as your peers, including other lawyers with your level of seniority at other firms. If you believe you are not getting as much experience in various aspects of the field of law, it might be time to make a switch.
- You are not getting the right experience: depending on which direction you want to take a law career, you may be feeling that you aren’t getting the right sort of experience at your current firm, even if the experience you are getting is good. For example, If your goal is to end up at a FinTech company, you should be at a firm where you work with FinTech clients, and you should make a lateral switch to a company that can offer you the right kind of experience.
- You don’t like where those who are senior to you are going: this might seem strange, but it is something you need to seriously consider if you are thinking about switching law firms. Look at the people who have seniority to you. Are they getting promoted? Are they getting big clients? Or are they struggling to find a new role? If you don’t like where those senior to you are going (and where you might end up), it is seriously time to consider a switch.
- You don’t like what you do: if you are relatively junior and have decided that the area of law you are currently working in is not the right area for you, you should start looking for firms that are happy to train you in the new area you want to go into.
- You don’t like your firm: if you feel like your firm isn’t the right one for you, it is perfectly okay to switch. Not all law firms are the same, so there is no point in staying in a place that makes you unhappy.
How to find the right firm for you
Now you have worked out why you are choosing to leave your current firm and understand the criteria for your next firm, how do you go about finding the perfect law firm for you? Here are some of the most important ways you can find the perfect law role for you.
If you have been in the field of law for several years, chances are you have made some acquaintances and friends who also work in the field of law. You should aim to go out and meet people who are working for companies you admire or in a field you are interested in. You are very unlikely to get a job from networking alone, but it will help you get an idea of how people have developed their careers, and how you can begin to develop your own. Regularly keeping in contact with these acquaintances will help you build lasting connections that could help you get further in your career over time.
Update your CV
If you have been working at the same law firm, chances are your CV is not updated. If you are looking at applying for new jobs, your CV needs to be concise and up to date. Here are some things you can add to create a better résume and receive more job offers:
- Keep it two pages long, max: no recruiter will read your resumé if it is dozens of pages long. You need to make sure that your CV is as concise as it can be. Therefore, you should try your best to only include relevant information, such as your law education and any experience you have had in the field of law.
- Edit each CV for each job: each job you apply for will be different, so make sure that you spend time researching each law firm you apply for and include skills and traits that they find desirable.
- Use a CV template: jobs in law are hugely competitive, so you must do everything possible to stand out from the crowd. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a CV template. Not only will a template make your resumé more readable and more professional-looking, but it will also draw the attention of recruiters.
Use a law recruiter
If you are struggling to find a job in the specific field of law that you want, it may be beneficial for you to speak to a professional legal recruiter, who can help you push you in the right direction. Not only will they have plenty of contacts that will allow you to network more, but they will also be able to help you decide which law firms and roles you will be best suited for.
While switching law firms might not always be easy, it is an important thing you need to do if you don’t believe that your current firm is meeting your requirements.