Where can you see yourself next?

Pain & gain

Pain & gain

Lawyers work hard and traditionally the carrot was partnership at the end of the rainbow and retirement at 55. Over the last 10 years, that dynamic has shifted as a multitude of options have presented themselves for lawyers. Whether it be a move to another firm, another international city, in-house or out of law altogether, the options have never been greater.

We have also seen a 20% increase in salaries over the last 2 years from junior lawyers right through to mid-level senior associates. These increases are probably long overdue and have been well received. However, lawyers cannot expect year-on-year increases at all levels, and at some point, there will be a slowdown.

For lawyers who started their careers in 2019, they have only really known a crazy COVID world that culminated in a steady increase in salaries year upon year. To be clear this has not been a normal market and while salaries are going to remain at current levels, I feel that expectations of future increases are going to lead to some recruitment headaches for both firms and Offices of General Counsel over the next 12 – 24 months.

With that in mind, I would urge lawyers to not make rash decisions based on not receiving that extra 5-10% increase they thought was on the cards come July 2023. The market will cool on that front and people need to think about their careers long-term.

Speaking from my own experience I have taken pay cuts on three occasions in my career. The moves were always strategic, and I was more concerned with building the right skills than taking advantage of short-term monetary gains (to be clear I am not suggesting you take a pay cut to move roles).

Lawyers need to remember that a career is a long game. You are most likely going to be working well into your 60s and planning and grounding are probably more important than a 10% – 20% pay jump this year and next year.

Skills you develop now and in the near future will be far more valuable than taking the cash grab now.

Now if you are not getting paid market, that is an entirely different conversation, however, if you feel you are being paid a fair market value perhaps you should seriously consider some of the following questions when taking stock of opportunities:

  • Why do I want to leave my current role?
  • How would I describe my current skill set?
  • What aspects of an in-house role appeal to me?
  • Do I really know what the in-house skill set looks like?
  • Do I think I have received adequate legal training at my current firm?
  • What does an employer think when they see 3 + jobs in 4 years on a CV?
  • What do I see myself doing in 2, 5, and 10 years’ time?
  • What industries appeal to me? What sort of in-house role am I looking to secure?
  • Have I thought about a mentor or career counselor?

It is great lawyers are finally getting paid more, but remember the first 4-6 years of your career are about building blocks.

No pain, no gain…. Or If you build it they will come?

Sam Gray

Subscribe to our newsletter

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap