I recently received two offers from two different firms. One offer is to work at a prestigious AmLaw top 10 firm and the other is from a well known IP boutique. How do I assess at which firm I will have the best experience, training and potential for career growth?
Making an important career decision can be overwhelming. There are a lot factors to think about - career growth being one of the most important. When evaluating a firm, work with your recruiter to find out the answers to the following questions with respect to career development and growth:
How is work assigned? Does this group/firm do the type of work you want to be doing?
How are cases/matters staffed? Will you have a lot of responsibility early on? Will you be exposed to new and challenging projects?
What is the criteria for making partner? Is there a certain "type" of person who succeeds in this practice area? How many associates have been promoted to partner in this practice group in the last 5 years?
Are you expected to develop business and bring in new clients? If yes, are there adequate resources and training programs in place to help you do so?
Is there a formal or informal mentoring program?
What do the firm's formal training and development programs look like?
What does the review process look like? When are you reviewed and how is feedback given?
Did you connect with the senior partners? If a senior partner likes you, supports you and believes in you, he or she will be more likely to give you work and invest in your career development.
Whether you choose to accept or reject a job offer, you should always discuss your decision with your recruiter directly. It is imperative that you make your decision in a timely manner, adhering to the offer deadline given to you by the firm. You never know when you might encounter partners at this firm in the future. Thus, it is important that you do not burn any bridges and you work hard to maintain positive relationships, regardless of your decision.