Thursday 4th October 2018
You are still studying law, but you know that you will soon have to find work. They also know that there are many law firms out there, many of which have excellent reputations. So how do you choose which one is best for your legal career?
The first steps in a legal career are important for a lawyer in the first year. You want to do your best and start as close as possible to your overarching professional goals. Legal jobs are common, but it is important that you consider yourself more than one law firm. Don’t just stop with whoever has the most Megabucks right away.
Choosing the right company
According to Harrison Barnes in an article titled “How Should an Attorney Choose Law Firms,” there are six points that most attorneys consider when presented with competing job opportunities. In order of priority these are:
- The perceived level of prestige of the company,
- The perceived importance that the lawyer attaches to working in a particular law firm,
- Whether the lawyer has noticed that he is being integrated into the law firm from a socio-cultural point of view,
- The perceived work offered
- The perceived advancement potential of the lawyer in a particular law firm and
Interestingly enough, money is at the bottom of the list. First and foremost is the firm’s perceived level of prestige. Why? Those who become lawyers tend to constantly strive to be the best. Barnes points out that lawyers have been conditioned from the start to view prestige as the best outcome they seek. In legal professions, prestige is best.
The more reputable law firms know this and use it as leverage to negotiate salary and other benefits. A young lawyer could have done much better financially with the unknown but successful law firm.
Focus on your legal career
Most people want to feel important in their professional role, and lawyers are no different when looking for legal career paths. In fact, a lawyer can forego other considerations if she feels treated during interviews as if she is important and where she can be inspired, according to Barnes.
Law firms that are aware of this can also use this fact in negotiations. The law firm that treats its potential lawyer with more than respect wins the best candidate. Barnes writes that it would be appropriate for a law firm to find the best candidates when that law firm offers
“(1) the potential for success that he will have there,
(2) that it makes very few offers per year and
(3) that he has the opportunity to be part of something great. “
It is human nature to feel welcome. Legal jobs can be either way, but you want to see if you have the chemistry with the lawyers in the law firms you are applying to. Barnes divides this topic into two perspectives:
- the social perspective and
- the cultural perspective.
From a social point of view, be wary of law firm staff who are confrontational or fail to realize you are a person during the interview. Even if the other employees are tense, grumpy, or militant, that is certainly a bad sign. Go ahead to seek employment with other law firms.
The cultural perspective is important when considering legal careers in different law firms. There are many legal jobs here too. Try to find one that is tailored to you. In general, when employees have traits, traits, or views in common with you, they will make you feel much more welcome.
The type of work assigned to an attorney can make or destroy legal careers. Don’t find yourself in a job that doesn’t do the kind of work you wanted, be it in tax law, property law, or litigation. Make sure the law firm you are interviewing with knows exactly the type of work you will be doing.
Another important aspect is the advancement potential. Barnes mentions that most new attorneys who find themselves in reputable law firms say early on in their legal careers that they are only there long enough to shine their resumes or pay off their college debts.
Barnes ponders why they say this when the majority of the employees of large law firms partner up in the course of their legal careers. He believes it’s a fear of failure. If all of his friends and family saw that he had left the company prior to partnership status, they might think he was a failure. The point is, if you choose your company carefully, one day you will become a partner.
He also notes that in other legal jobs, such as in small businesses, the interviewer is more likely to brag about his propensity for advancing lawyers.
Finally, the question of money arises. For many lawyers, other considerations are more important than money. However, many graduating lawyers consider jobs with money on their mind as their first priority. However, the firm may be looking for long-term candidates in the hopes that a new hire will stay with them for the majority of their legal career.
It is important to keep different priorities in mind when looking for legal jobs. Of course, not all priorities are created equal. At the end of the day, think twice before accepting an offer. What is most important to you?