Things to consider when choosing a law firm

It’s a decision that faces all recent law grads, as well as veteran lawyers looking to jump ship. What law firm do I want to work for? It’s a simple question, but the answer can determine the path of your legal career. As lawyers, a significant amount of time is spent at work, making it important to choose a law firm that fits in with your career aspirations, your personality and the workplace environment you would like to work in. If you’ve come to the stage in your studies or your career when you’re being faced with the question of which law firm you’d like to work with, then evaluate each law firm on these characteristics to help you narrow your options down and choose the best firm for you and your needs.

–          Reputation.  Many lawyers aspire to work for a prestigious and well recognised law firm. However, bear in mind that often the most prestigious and reputable law firms are the largest, and hence you run the risk of getting ‘lost in the crowd’, so to speak. However, working for reputable law firms has its advantages, such as higher wages and a greater diversity in roles and opportunities available. At the same time, however, smaller and boutique firms may not offer the name of a prestigious employer, but you will be working in a more intimate environment.

–          Work Culture. When choosing a law firm, it’s important to research the work culture of that company and see if it suits you. Investigate the size of the company, any socialisation processes they undertake and the overall office environment. For example, do they place an importance on work/life balance? What hours are you expected to work? Is there good office camaraderie? Make sure you ask these questions before choosing a law firm.

–          Prospect of moving up. If upward mobility in a law firm is an important factor for you, do your research into the career paths of other employees of the firm. Also, don’t be afraid to ask such questions during the interview process, so that you know as much about the firm before you make your decision.

–          International offices. Is the possibility of working overseas important to you? If so, make sure that a law firm you choose has international offices that offer the prospect of practicing, living and working overseas. For example, if you’re interested in pursuing London legal jobs, then choose a law firm that has a London office and familiarize yourself with http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/. Alternatively, if you’re purely interested in Sydney legal jobs, then your search can be limited to Sydney based law firms.

Choosing a law firm that has work culture, ethos and company profile and policies that suit you is a conduit to a happy working career. Take the time to consider these aspects of different law firms and you’ll make the right choice for you.

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