Many attorneys fear starting the process in November because they feel that if they get called in to interview, proceed with the interview process, and are offered a position, they will have to start prior to the new year and lose their promised bonus from their current law firm.I would say about 95% of the time, this isn’t the case.Here’s why:
Many do not realize this until they go through it, but the recruiting process can be quite slow. Generally, even for the most qualified of attorneys, the process takes about two months. Particularly through the holiday season, it can be difficult to get everyone in the same room for a meeting or an interview. Two months solidly puts a start date after January 1.
Unless there is an absolute immediate need, if you receive an offer from a firm in November or December, the firm will not expect you to start until after the first of the year.Even if they would prefer an earlier date, it would certainly be reasonable to negotiate this point. Firms would much rather hire the “right” person for the job then the “wrong” person just because the latter could start two weeks earlier.
If, under the rare circumstance, that the firm absolutely needs someone before the end of the year, they are likely to offer a signing bonus to make up for the potential bonus that you would lose with your current firm.
There is an overall desire to have new attorneys in place before January first. The end of the year is as much of a mental “deadline” or mark for recruiting and hiring partners as it is for you.While it might be more comfortable for you to delay your search until January, it is also the goal for recruiting teams to have an offer out and accepted prior to the end of the year.This way, they can start off the new year with their team complete and without anything hanging over them. This is why there is such a tremendous push for interviews the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
You may find that if you wait, many of the positions that you found interesting will have already been filled. Of course, there is always a new hiring season. But, wouldn’t it be nice for you to go through your holidays with a new position already in place? Then you would have a fresh start to your new year.