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Top 3 reasons lawyers don’t want to move jobs

Moving jobs is always a big decision; it takes time to consider the positives and negatives of staying where you are versus trying something new. Sometimes people do have the best deal where they are, and the right decision is to stay put. But often here at Harvey John, we hear the same reasons for why people are reluctant to consider new positions, and they’re often surprised to learn that actually, these reasons shouldn’t stop them. These are the top 3.


1. Flexible/Part-time Working

A flexible, part-time or agile working arrangement can be hugely important to some people. Most often it’s to do with their families – whether it’s days off to spend with the kids, or flexible hours to pick them up from school, a reduction in hours can be crucial in allowing them to maintain the work-life balance they desire. Whatever someone’s reason for wanting such an arrangement, if they’re lucky enough to have found it, they’re obviously often reluctant to let it go.

What we find ourselves reassuring people time and time again is that a larger number of firms now support flexible working and part-time hours. While there are some exceptions, these days, the majority of law firms are willing to consider a candidate’s needs in this regard. They take the view that the most important variable is a candidate’s ability, rather than the fact they can work full-time, during standard hours.

So if you’re somebody who works a part-time, flexible, or agile arrangement, and your reluctance to lose it is making you dismiss an exciting new opportunity, then stop! You may be surprised by how many law firms out there can match your current hours, and we’re always happy to ask that question for you.

2. Salary

Lawyers are often reluctant to consider a new position because they don’t think another firm will be able to match their salary. Again, we always advise them to take a look at the position anyway. These days we see more and more scenarios in which law firms are willing to bend their previously strict salary boundaries, in order to tempt the right candidate. There are general trends regarding which firms will pay more or less, based on, for example, their location or prestige. But when a strong business case can be made for a candidate, firms will often try to pay that little bit more to be competitive.

Even in situations when it’s impossible for a firm to match a high salary, for example, a regional firm compared to one in the City of London, there are other factors that may still make the move worth it. For more information, take a look at our ‘Top 5 Reasons City Lawyers Move to the South East Region.’

3. Getting to 1/2/3/4… years’ PQE

A lot of lawyers tell us that, while a new position sounds really interesting, the timing isn’t right. Although the role is something that they’d be keen to apply for in future, they wanted to reach a certain number of years PQE before moving on from their current firm. Often this is with NQs who want to reach 1-year PQE before they move on from the firm where they trained, but it happens with lawyers in all stages of their careers.

While it’s important not to accumulate a series of short stints in a number of roles and risk being labelled a ‘hopper,’ it’s not worth potentially missing a great opportunity for the sake of an arbitrary deadline. We urge candidates to remember that law firms don’t work to their schedules, and the amazing opportunity that they’re putting off applying for might not be available when the time is perfect for them. If the need in a team is filled, or demand dwindles in a few months’ time, that department at that perfect firm may not be hiring again for a year or more.


Whatever is holding you back from considering exploring a new role further, whether it be for one of these reasons or something else, get in touch with us at Harvey John for some impartial advice. It may well be that you’ve been needlessly holding yourself back from some great opportunities.

Hayley Rose is an Associate Director in the Legal Division at Harvey John.

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