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Having practiced as a lawyer in Manchester for 9 years, I have also had my own fair share of moves (well, at least a couple) and each one has been backed by its own set of reasons.
Moving on or at least deciding it is time to move on is not (in most cases) an easy decision to reach and any number of factors can contribute to the decision. But what are the key questions you should be asking before making the decision to look to the market and whilst not exhaustive, I have sought to list a few of the more fundamental questions below:
(i) Do I enjoy what I am doing and who I am working with? Sometimes the answer to the first part can have a direct link to the second part so never rule out the fact the different personalities can bring about renewed vigour.
(ii) Where do you see yourself in 2/4/6 years time (professionally, personally as well as financially)?
(iii) Can your current firm meet those objectives? Of course some of the thinks you are looking for may well be “nice to have” but not essential and as such can be balanced against the “must haves” in terms of whether, overall, you feel you can get to where you want to be;
(iv) What is the direction of the Firm and more specifically your team and how does that compare to your own objectives?;
(v) If your firm cannot currently meet your objectives – could they in the future or indeed is it worth speaking to them now? Whilst the grass can appear greener (and it certainly can be), it is important not rule out staying as an option but you must first be satisfied that what you need can be delivered.
(vi) If your firm has met your short term needs, how hard did you have to push to get what you wanted and could that be a sign of things to come?
(vii) Crucially – do you see yourself as a partner in your current firm? The partner route is no longer the only career path but for most can be the most fundamental question. If the answer is no (and you have partnership ambitions) then it is time to move on.
Above all, talk to us. As lawyers ourselves, we are well placed to understand what you are going through and provide an honest overview of the market, other firms and teams and whether your objectives can be met. Timing can often be everything and we can give you the inside track on how things stand and what is best to do.