Just focusing on making money is not a good idea when choosing a law firm to join.

As part of my job, I have daily discussions with attorneys at all stages of their careers about what kinds of law firm job offers to accept. I have come to witness attorneys make both good and bad decisions. Sadly, one mistake I have seen attorneys make all too often—and which in the long run ends up overwhelmingly detrimental to them—is placing too great of a focus on money above all else. More often than not, a narrow focus on money destroys careers and even lives.

 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
On the other hand, sometimes I see attorneys make good choices that result in long-term career stability and fulfillment. These attorneys are able to effectuate good outcomes for themselves because they are able to see the “big picture” and how their decisions will play out over time. These attorneys understand the importance of finding their “tribes” within the world of law firms. They realize that joining a firm where they can be part of a tribe will offer far more rewards (including financial rewards) over the long run than simply joining the firm that offers them the biggest short-term salary.

I am not saying that money is irrelevant in making job decisions; that would be ridiculous. But I am saying that it is almost always wiser to place greater weight on the “tribe” factors discussed in this article—of fitting in and of feeling protected—than on salary. Finding your tribe will enable you to feel happier on a daily basis and more fulfilled with your career. It will also often enable you to earn more money over time, or at least enable you to earn a very comfortable income steadily and securely over time.