Things to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

10 November 2022 Foley Career Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Scott D. Ellis

Finding the right organization to start your career or make a change is an exciting time and also one that involves some important decisions. As the hiring partner for Foley & Lardner’s Houston office, my advice to both new and experienced associates is to do your research and identify a firm that is a good fit.

Fit can mean something different depending on your interests and goals, but, as I shared in this recent Law360 article, finding a firm that invests in you as much as you invest in the firm is critical to developing the skills that you did not acquire in law school and that are essential to a successful practice.

Here are a few considerations to help ensure you find a firm that sees you as a future leader and avoid working for one that does not empower you to become the lawyer you want to be.

Distribution of Assignments: As I shared with Law360, most students that I speak to want early responsibility. They want to be really involved in the case or deal and really involved in client contact. Asking firms how they distribute assignments can tell you a lot about how much responsibility you are going to have and whether a particular firm will align with your goals. Gauging what sort of assignments you will receive – and whether you will have opportunities to be the lead associate on projects – is critical to understanding where you will fit in at a firm.

Feedback Process: Regular feedback from partners and senior associates can help you take on more responsibility and better yourself as a lawyer. Annual reviews and formal feedback processes are important, but firms that have created an environment of informal feedback and mentoring on a project-by-project basis can help newer attorneys advance much more quickly. You are going to feel more valued and have a greater desire to progress if you are at a firm where you feel comfortable going to people that are more senior than you to talk through your assignments.

Views of Your Peers: Fellow students one or two years ahead of you who recently finished clerkships at firms you are considering are a major untapped resource. They can give you the inside track on what life at a particular firm is really like. You can get a list from your law school’s career services office, then reach out to a few to ask if they will have a quick chat with you about their experiences in the summer programs they participated in. Your fellow law school alumni, as well as resources such as Chambers Associate, also can provide useful information if you are a more experienced associate looking to make a change.

It is important to find a firm that will support both your professional and personal goals and is willing to help you get there.

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