To achieve personal growth and greater job satisfaction in BigLaw practice, associates must proactively manage their careers and avoid losing opportunities that could lead to better positions. The five questions below will help them make the most of their career.
There are particular windows of time in a BigLaw associate’s career that determine the best moves that he or she should make. Between the second and fifth year after graduating from law school is the sweet spot for making or exploring a lateral move because of high marketability.
From the sixth to the ninth year, an associate should be advancing toward partnership. If not, then he or she should be thinking of going in-house or considering government and non-BigLaw spaces.
Meeting the standard billable hours and bonus requirements is crucial for an associate’s job security and lateral marketability. Work being slow at the entire firm for a prolonged period should be a cause for concern. It should be equally worrying for an associate if everyone apart from him or her is busy.
Understanding the real-time partnership prospects that exist at a firm is particularly important to associates in their mid-level and senior associate years. People should consider:
If there is no senior attorney that an associate wants to emulate, then he or she should assess what there is to gain by staying at the firm. Headhunters for lawyers can help associates find firms with better working environments and sponsorship or mentorship opportunities.
Considering the 2008-2009 layoffs and the recent quiet staff layoffs that ran through Big Law, it is critical for associates to find out about job security. Finding out the following will help:
Asking these five questions frequently will help BigLaw associates know where they stand and when it is best to consider new opportunities. Consequently, they will develop a clearer roadmap for arriving at their legal career objectives.
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