Legal Career Move
  • Publish Date: Posted 8 days ago
  • Author:by Cam d'Espagnac

Making the Right Move for Your Legal Career

​The age-old conundrum every solicitor will face in their career: when is the right time to leave the cosy nest of the firm where they completed their training? You, quite rightly, feel loyalty towards the firm that trained you and kick-started your legal career. Moving on could feel a bit like moving out of your parents’ house - exciting, nerve-wracking, and laden with fear of whether it is the right move and all the “what if’s”. But fear not! As your trusted Legal Recruitment Specialist, I’ve written this blog to help navigate you through your options and how you can determine when the right time to move on is.When is the Right Time to Leave?If only life came with a GPS that could alert you with a friendly “Recalculating route” when it’s time to jump ship. Sadly, no such luck. However, there are some tell-tale signs that the time might be right for a change:You’re still the ‘Trainee’ years after you finished your training: If you’re still fetching coffee and photocopying briefs long after your peers have moved on to more substantial roles, it might be time to consider your exit strategy. Your career growth plateaus: You’ve learned all you can, and now you’re just spinning your wheels. If your professional development has stagnated, it’s a clear sign that new pastures may offer you the growth prospects you are looking for.Company perks are less than perky: If your firm’s perks haven’t evolved since 1995, you might want to explore options that offer more than just the basic offering. Think health benefits, professional development opportunities, wellbeing benefits and more…You dread Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays...): If you’re spending more time dreading work and wanting to be anywhere else it’s a sure sign it’s time to reassess your career. Job satisfaction is crucial, and no amount of loyalty is worth your mental health.How to Make Your Great EscapeSo, you’ve decided it’s the right time to make the move. But how do you make a graceful exit without burning bridges as the Legal Industry is relatively niche you don’t know when you may bump into your previous colleagues. Here’s what you can do:Plan Ahead: Have a new job lined up before you hand in your resignation, it sounds obvious but believe us we’ve seen people jump ship before having anything lined up and it can be a scary prospect not having anything lined up. The good news is that I can help you find your next opportunity, I have a vast network of contacts in the best legal firms across the South East and London and would be happy to look into opportunities for you. Keep It Professional: Resist the urge to list all the reasons you’re leaving in your resignation letter. A simple, polite note will suffice thanking your employer for the opportunity.Give Proper Notice: Most firms ask for at least three months’ notice. This gives your firm time to find a replacement and shows that you’re leaving on good terms. If you can negotiate it down, great, but it’s not expected if you can’t.Wrap Up Your Work: Ensure that your cases are handed over properly and that nothing falls through the cracks. Leave with your professional reputation intact.The Limitations of Staying Too LongIt can be tempting to stay with the firm that you trained at but may not always be the best career move. Here’s why: Lack of Diverse Experience: Different firms offer different perspectives, ways of working, methodologies, and challenges. Sticking with one firm might mean you miss out on valuable learning opportunities elsewhere.Pigeonholing: You risk being typecast in a certain role, firm or specialisation. Moving firms can help you broaden your expertise, build your skill set and make you more marketable in the long run.Complacency: Comfort can lead to complacency. New environments challenge you to adapt, grow, and excel. The safety net of familiarity could hold you back from reaching your full potential.Networking Opportunities: The legal world thrives on connections. Moving firms allows you to expand your network, meet new mentors, and develop relationships that can benefit your career in unexpected ways.Leaving the firm where you trained is a significant step in any solicitor’s career. It requires careful consideration, impeccable timing, and a touch of bravery. As a legal recruitment specialist, I, along with the Gerrard White Legal Recruitment team, speak to a lot of solicitors and legal professionals unsure of whether to make a career move. Our advice is always to weigh up the pros and cons for you professionally and personally. Don’t make the decision lightly, it’s a decision that could make your career so needs careful thought. If you are weighing up your options, get in touch, I’d be happy to talk to you about your legal career aspirations and what you are looking for to help you make the decision on whether to move or not just that little bit simpler.We are working with some of the biggest Legal firms across the South East and London and can help you make that next step when you are ready.Cam d'Espagnac Associate Director - Legal Recruitment Division07850 469000 | cam@gerrardwhite.com

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​The age-old conundrum every solicitor will face in their career: when is the right time to leave the cosy nest of the firm where they completed their training? You, quite rightly, feel loyalty towards the firm that trained you and kick-started your legal career. Moving on could feel a bit like moving out of your parents’ house - exciting, nerve-wracking, and laden with fear of whether it is the right move and all the “what if’s”.

But fear not! As your trusted Legal Recruitment Specialist, I’ve written this blog to help navigate you through your options and how you can determine when the right time to move on is.

When is the Right Time to Leave?

If only life came with a GPS that could alert you with a friendly “Recalculating route” when it’s time to jump ship. Sadly, no such luck. However, there are some tell-tale signs that the time might be right for a change:

  • You’re still the ‘Trainee’ years after you finished your training: If you’re still fetching coffee and photocopying briefs long after your peers have moved on to more substantial roles, it might be time to consider your exit strategy.

  • Your career growth plateaus: You’ve learned all you can, and now you’re just spinning your wheels. If your professional development has stagnated, it’s a clear sign that new pastures may offer you the growth prospects you are looking for.

  • Company perks are less than perky: If your firm’s perks haven’t evolved since 1995, you might want to explore options that offer more than just the basic offering. Think health benefits, professional development opportunities, wellbeing benefits and more…

  • You dread Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays...): If you’re spending more time dreading work and wanting to be anywhere else it’s a sure sign it’s time to reassess your career. Job satisfaction is crucial, and no amount of loyalty is worth your mental health.

How to Make Your Great Escape

So, you’ve decided it’s the right time to make the move. But how do you make a graceful exit without burning bridges as the Legal Industry is relatively niche you don’t know when you may bump into your previous colleagues. Here’s what you can do:

  • Plan Ahead: Have a new job lined up before you hand in your resignation, it sounds obvious but believe us we’ve seen people jump ship before having anything lined up and it can be a scary prospect not having anything lined up. The good news is that I can help you find your next opportunity, I have a vast network of contacts in the best legal firms across the South East and London and would be happy to look into opportunities for you.

  • Keep It Professional: Resist the urge to list all the reasons you’re leaving in your resignation letter. A simple, polite note will suffice thanking your employer for the opportunity.

  • Give Proper Notice: Most firms ask for at least three months’ notice. This gives your firm time to find a replacement and shows that you’re leaving on good terms. If you can negotiate it down, great, but it’s not expected if you can’t.

  • Wrap Up Your Work: Ensure that your cases are handed over properly and that nothing falls through the cracks. Leave with your professional reputation intact.

The Limitations of Staying Too Long

It can be tempting to stay with the firm that you trained at but may not always be the best career move. Here’s why:

  • Lack of Diverse Experience: Different firms offer different perspectives, ways of working, methodologies, and challenges. Sticking with one firm might mean you miss out on valuable learning opportunities elsewhere.

  • Pigeonholing: You risk being typecast in a certain role, firm or specialisation. Moving firms can help you broaden your expertise, build your skill set and make you more marketable in the long run.

  • Complacency: Comfort can lead to complacency. New environments challenge you to adapt, grow, and excel. The safety net of familiarity could hold you back from reaching your full potential.

  • Networking Opportunities: The legal world thrives on connections. Moving firms allows you to expand your network, meet new mentors, and develop relationships that can benefit your career in unexpected ways.

Leaving the firm where you trained is a significant step in any solicitor’s career. It requires careful consideration, impeccable timing, and a touch of bravery.

As a legal recruitment specialist, I, along with the Gerrard White Legal Recruitment team, speak to a lot of solicitors and legal professionals unsure of whether to make a career move. Our advice is always to weigh up the pros and cons for you professionally and personally. Don’t make the decision lightly, it’s a decision that could make your career so needs careful thought.

If you are weighing up your options, get in touch, I’d be happy to talk to you about your legal career aspirations and what you are looking for to help you make the decision on whether to move or not just that little bit simpler.

We are working with some of the biggest Legal firms across the South East and London and can help you make that next step when you are ready.

Cam d'Espagnac
Associate Director - Legal Recruitment Division
07850 469000 | cam@gerrardwhite.com

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