The Risks Junior Lawyers Face by Switching Firms Too Soon, and the Benefits of Staying the Course

Despite recent spikes in compensation and reduced billable hours, a recent International Bar Association survey reveals that 54% of lawyers under 40 consider leaving their jobs within five years, and 20% consider leaving the legal industry. Junior attorneys historically have reported job burnout and dissatisfaction and law firms have worked in recent years to improve work culture with more training and mentorship opportunities. But how does an attorney just starting their career react to modern challenges of working at a private practice? 

Jay Harrington, author of “The Essential Associate: Step Up, Stand Out, and Rise to the Top as a Young Lawyer” and owner of Harrington Communications, advises that junior associates face three distinct options. They can make an immediate exit from a current job for a different position, go through the motions of a current job while searching for a new job or career change, or harness job dissatisfaction into positive change at the firm. 

Harrington cautions young attorneys against making career decisions while disillusioned, and makes the case that staying the course may pay off in the end. Each attorney should weigh the pros and cons of a career change heavily as new jobs may not be as rosy as they appear, and current positions may lead to more opportunities at the firm.

Are you interested in learning about pros and cons of different career decisions for junior attorneys? Read more in this article.

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