Articles From the Team

Too little too late?

Looking for a new role, especially as a busy lawyer, can be a time consuming and hugely stressful experience. From drafting a CV and often a business plan, to approaching firms, preparing for interviews and negotiating an offer, the process can be long and drawn out. Finally you secure a new job and hand in your notice, only to find that your current employer offers you more money or other promises to encourage you to stay. Should you stay, or is it a case of too little too late?

Buy backs are becoming more prevalent than ever. In a busy market where lawyers are overworked and underpaid, more people are feeling undervalued and promoted to look elsewhere. They decide to take a leap of faith, moving to a firm for more money, often enhanced career prospects and a fresh start. Then, only at resignation stage does their firm tell them how valued they are and act to keep them. Showering someone with compliments and an increase in money can be a huge pull to stay – after all it’s easier – but it’s hugely important at this stage not to act on impulse as it might not be in your best interests long term to stay. Whist you know your current firm and staying can be comfortable, there are many things to consider other than a short term gain.

Always consider why you were looking for a new job in the first place. Was it just money that prompted the move, or were you frustrated at the environment in the team, the lack of career prospects or quality of work? Are you eager to become more involved in business development, have a better work/life balance or step into a position with better long term prospects to progress? A short term financial gain will simply not change other aspects of your role you are disgruntled with, and you need to of course ask the question why they didn’t pay you fairly before. It’s easy to react quickly to a counter offer, but take your time and weigh up all the factors to ensure you make the best decision for your career in the long term.

For many lawyers, frustration often comes by being overworked and a lack of recognition or feeling undervalued. If you are worth a pay rise when leaving, why wasn’t this recognised and acted on earlier? A new firm can often be a refreshing change and give you the boost in recognition you need. Also, now you have handed your notice in once, has the trust been lost with your current employer? Has it impacted your career prospects there in the future, or dented your internal relationships? There may remain an underlying feeling of separation which can never be rectified, meaning you are not looked after long term or considered for promotion over your colleagues who have remained loyal.

Despite the increase in salary most lawyers who accept a buy back and stay find themselves looking for a new role a few months later in any event, but by then they may have burnt their bridges with other firms they met or turned down. Acting too quickly and being tempted by compliments and cash may be easy at the time, but could influence your career to your detriment going forward.

For more information contact BCL Legal or call 0845 241 0933.

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