Ch-Ch-Change of Pace: Making a Lateral Career Move

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on February 05, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You're one month deep in the quest to attain an inhuman amount of billable hours; if you want a change, the time is now. You recently received your end-of-year bonus for 2013 -- before you add more hours to tally for you 2014 bonus, if you want to make a lateral career move, the earlier you do it, the better.

Here are some different career changes you can make, and some tips on how to make them.

From BigLaw to BigLaw

You're at BigLaw, and you want to stick with BigLaw -- just a different firm. You, my friend, are in luck. More and more firms are looking to hire laterally, rather than the "outdated model" of extending offers to summer associates, according to The FordyceLetter. Hiring lateral attorneys allows firms to hire lawyers with experience and specific skill sets. If you want to go this route, then working with a legal recruiter, a/k/a headhunter, is a great way to go.

From BigLaw to SmallLaw

Maybe you feel like your paid your dues and you want to go to a small boutique firm. If you're looking for a very niche practice, in a smaller firm that may have more perks, this option may be for you. If that's the case, research the firms that specialize in your area of interest and begin networking. If you had enough of BigLaw and want to branch out on your own, make sure you think it through, because you'll not only be practicing law on your own, but you'll be running your own business.

From BigLaw to In-House

If making partner is not on your list of goals, and you heard working in house is a cushy job, then you may want to transition to corporate counsel. That said, we had the opportunity to talk to in-house attorneys about their experiences and let's just say it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Do your research.

From BigLaw to Other

BigLaw has the tendency to burn people out, so you might want a completely different change of pace. If you want to stay in the legal field consider consulting, or the burgeoning legal department operations manager positions. If you want a change of scenery altogether and want out of the legal profession, make sure you think it through, and have a financial cushion.

Don't be afraid of making changes, or at least looking into your different options available to you as a lawyer. Yes, you have a law degree, but there are many various career options. Whatever you do, make sure you do your research to know what's the best fit for you.

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