In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, career opportunities can come calling from any corner of the globe. Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime position in a bustling metropolis or an appealing role in a quaint, peaceful town, many professionals encounter the chance to make a lateral move to another city. But is it worth it?
For attorneys at a crossroads, contemplating this life-altering decision, Atticus Recruiting presents an in-depth exploration into the merits and challenges of such a move. We aim to provide thoughtful insights and expert advice to help you assess the potential advantages, personal adjustments, and financial implications involved, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your career goals and personal life.
Change in market demand for your skills
As a legal professional contemplating a lateral move to a different city, it’s crucial to take into account the market demand for your specific legal expertise in the potential new location. This can significantly influence not only your job prospects but also your long-term career growth.
Different cities or regions may have differing legal markets. For instance, New York City might hold a greater demand for corporate lawyers given its financial industry focus, while Washington D.C. could provide more opportunities for those in governmental or public interest law. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley might be an attractive destination for lawyers specializing in intellectual property or tech-related law due to its high concentration of tech companies.
It’s vital to remember that a lateral move doesn’t merely signify a geographical change, but can also influence your professional development trajectory. If the new city has a thriving market for your legal specialty, it could provide you with unique opportunities for professional growth and advancement, even if your initial move doesn’t include an immediate promotion. Conversely, a city with a less vibrant market for your area of legal expertise may limit your progress or specialization.
Before you commit to a decision, conduct in-depth research into the specific legal markets, trends, and the economic health of the city you’re considering. Speak to other attorneys who already practice there. Leverage resources like LinkedIn, legal job boards, and professional legal networks to evaluate the legal landscape in the new location. A strategic lateral move should ideally position you in a city where your specific legal skills are in high demand, ensuring not only your current position but also enhancing your prospects for future growth.
Grow your professional network
Relocating to a new city presents more than a mere change of address – it’s an opportunity to expand your professional network. For legal professionals, this could be a significant career booster. A diverse network can provide a wealth of benefits, from broadening your industry knowledge to opening doors to new opportunities.
When you make a lateral move, you position yourself to forge new relationships with local attorneys, judges, and legal scholars, each of whom can provide unique perspectives based on their experiences and area of expertise. This is particularly valuable in the legal field, where having a robust professional network can directly contribute to your career advancement and your ability to serve clients effectively.
Furthermore, networking in a new city can lead to opportunities outside of your immediate professional circle. Local bar associations, for example, offer a wealth of networking events and continuing education programs where you can meet legal professionals from various backgrounds. Volunteering for pro bono work or participating in community service also allows you to build relationships while serving the community.
However, keep in mind that successful networking requires proactive engagement. It involves more than simply attending events; you should strive to form genuine connections, contribute to discussions, and follow up with contacts regularly. By investing time and effort into growing your network, your lateral move can become an enriching experience, opening new avenues for professional growth and personal satisfaction in your legal career.
Chance to negotiate better compensation
A lateral move to a new city can be an opportune moment to negotiate improved compensation. While the nature of a lateral move implies a position of similar responsibility, the cost of living, market demand, and local salary standards in your new location can all play a role in potentially enhancing your compensation package.
The cost of living is a significant factor. If you’re considering a move to a city with a higher cost of living, it’s reasonable to expect a commensurate increase in compensation. On the other hand, if you’re moving to a city with a lower cost of living, you may not see an immediate salary increase, but you might enjoy greater purchasing power and quality of life.
The demand for your legal expertise in the new city can also impact your negotiation power. If you specialize in an area of law that’s particularly in demand, you may find that law firms are willing to offer competitive compensation to secure your services.
However, remember to look beyond the base salary. The full compensation package, including benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, tuition assistance, or even relocation assistance, should be part of your negotiations. In some cases, firms might offer non-financial benefits like flexible working arrangements or additional vacation days, which could significantly enhance your work-life balance.
Before entering negotiations, research salary ranges for similar positions in your new city, factoring in the local cost of living and market demand for your area of law. This information can provide a solid foundation for your negotiation strategy. Additionally, consider consulting with a career advisor or a legal recruitment firm like Atticus Recruiting to ensure you’re fully prepared to negotiate the best possible compensation package in your new location.
Improved quality of life
Sometimes, a lateral move is less about career progression and more about enhancing your overall quality of life. Living in a city that aligns with your personal lifestyle, interests, and values can significantly contribute to your happiness and well-being, which in turn, can positively impact your professional performance.
Consider the cultural, social, and environmental aspects of your potential new city. Are you longing for a bustling urban lifestyle with diverse cultural offerings, or do you yearn for the tranquility of a smaller city or town? If you have a family or are planning one, factors such as quality of education, safety, and family-friendly amenities can be pivotal.
Weather and outdoor opportunities also matter. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a city known for its nature trails, beaches, or mountains may bring you more happiness than a concrete jungle, regardless of the professional opportunities the latter might provide. Likewise, if you thrive in sunny weather, moving from a city with a cold, harsh climate to a warmer locale could improve your mood and well-being.
In the legal profession, where work can often be demanding and stressful, living in a city that offers the lifestyle and amenities you love can provide the work-life balance necessary to prevent burnout and maintain career longevity. Consider if the new city has amenities like gyms, parks, recreational facilities, or wellness centers, which can aid in stress management and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
A lateral move to a new city is not just about growing your career, it’s also an opportunity to build a life that brings you satisfaction and joy. By weighing these quality of life factors in your decision-making process, you’re likely to find a city that is a great fit for both your professional ambitions and personal happiness.”
Change in city and workplace culture
A lateral move to a new city invariably brings with it a shift in both city and workplace culture. This change can be both invigorating and challenging, offering a fresh perspective but also necessitating adaptations. As an attorney contemplating relocation, understanding and embracing this cultural shift is an integral part of making a successful transition.
City culture is the fabric of daily life – it’s the pace at which the city moves, the interactions among its residents, the local customs, and even the city’s attitude towards work-life balance. Some cities may have a more laid-back lifestyle, while others are renowned for their fast-paced, high-energy environment. Similarly, some cities might value a strong community spirit, while others emphasize individualism. The key is to find a city culture that resonates with your personal values and lifestyle preferences.
Workplace culture, on the other hand, relates to the environment and ethos within your new law firm or legal department. Each organization has its unique culture, influencing everything from work hours and dress codes to communication styles and decision-making processes. For instance, a small boutique law firm may have a more intimate and relaxed culture compared to a large, multinational firm known for its formal, corporate ambiance.
Moreover, consider how these cultures view and handle diversity and inclusion, a crucial factor in today’s globalized world. You’ll want to ensure that you’re moving to a city and a workplace where you feel valued, respected, and included.
Getting a better sense of workplace and city culture
When contemplating a lateral move, research thoroughly to get a sense of both the city and potential workplace’s culture. Speak to people who live and work there, read local news and publications, and take advantage of networking opportunities to gather insights. A city and workplace culture that aligns with your personality and values can greatly enhance both your job satisfaction and overall quality of life in your new location. Speaking with a legal recruiter can also give you better insight into a city’s or company’s culture.
If you’re considering a lateral move, Atticus Recruiting is here to guide you through the process. As experts in legal recruitment, we have an in-depth understanding of the legal market across various cities and a comprehensive network that can help facilitate your transition. Our team can provide you with personalized advice, from understanding market dynamics to salary negotiation. Reach out to us today, and let’s explore together how a lateral move could be a transformative step in your legal career.