Switching Legal Practice Areas

As many an old-timer will tell you, the legal world has changed dramatically and very few lawyers remain at the firm that hired them out of law school. Every associate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City has experienced that barrage of phone calls from recruiters telling them how marketable he or she is. Some associates will move after just a few years and others will make the jump as senior associates. Changing jobs presents a set of unique challenges and opportunities which can be at once scary and exhilarating. Here are some ways to smooth the transition and ease the tension and stress inherent in changing firms.


You are accustomed to how your old firm operated from big picture items like assignments and reviews to the smaller things like getting expenses reimbursed and checking books out of the library. Many associates only know one way for a law firm to operate. Your new firm is going to be different. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse, just different. Of course, it is going to take some time to get the lay of this new land and to become as accustomed to the new system. But as you do, keep the following in mind:
No one wants to hear how your old firm did things. Your old firm may have done it better, faster and cheaper and there may come a time when you want to raise that issue with your new firm, but you should not do it right away. Your new coworkers are just as entrenched in their system, faults and all, as you were in your old system.