New Frontiers: 4 Signs It’s Time to Move on to a New Legal Job


The honeymoon is nice while it lasts, but eventually that spark may fizzle out. Legal jobs are no different. While too much job-hopping can look bad on a resume, sometimes leaving a position for something new and different is just what you need to recharge your career.

If you’re feeling uncertain about whether you should stay with your current employer or move on, here are four signs it may be time to start looking for a new legal job:

1. You don’t feel like you fit in.

Your legal job may have started out well, but personal differences, office politics or a negative atmosphere can cause things to sour. It could be you’re simply in the "wrong neighborhood." Finding the right-size law firm is key to legal job satisfaction. Working in an office that is the right size for you is a primary factor in interpersonal office relationships and how well you feel you fit in. If you’re working for a small office but wishing you were at a corporate law job, moving to a bigger firm in a busier area may be the best decision you could make.

2. Your voice isn’t being heard.

No matter how well you do your job, everyone needs support and understanding from higher-ups. Wanting your voice to be heard is completely reasonable. If your current firm doesn’t match new employees with a mentor, a fresh start at a more supportive office may provide you with the scaffolding you need to reach your legal job goals. Another path to consider in your job search is reverse mentoring, a mentoring option that can benefit attorneys at all stages of their careers.

3. The excitement is gone.

After you finish law school, the whole world may seem to be wide open and ready for the taking, but a few years of on-the-ground legal work can chip away at your professional enthusiasm. The good news is there is a wide variety of legal jobs to consider. The Affordable Care Act, eDiscovery and cybercrime are just a few of the recent developments that have made available new legal careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. Whatever you’re passionate about, somewhere there’s a legal job that relates. You just have to find it.

4. The outlook isn't as good as it was.

Maybe you thought your salary would increase more than it has, or you’ve been hoping to boost your standing in the firm, but things just haven’t panned out. Salary is an important legal job consideration, and hitting the proverbial ceiling, especially at smaller firms, can leave you feeling stymied. If you turn up a better offer, and you’ve done your best for your current office, it may be time to seek out a change of scenery.

Deciding to leave your current legal job isn’t an easy step to take, but once you’ve weighed all the concerns and made your decision, commit to your choice. It's better to give yourself the chance of finding contentment with your work elsewhere than to stay in a job where you’re increasingly dissatisfied.

Have you changed legal jobs in the past? What prompted you to make that move? Share your thoughts below.