There’s an old saying that “timing is everything”, and for any lawyer who’s seeking a fresh career challenge that adage certainly rings true. For one reason or another, certain months of the year are more conducive to landing a new job based on a given applicant’s skills and legal experience. Selling a home, planning for a year-end bonus, or waiting for kids to get out of school can all potentially alter a lawyer’s timetable when seeking greener pastures. However, if all of these considerations are equal, there are specific times of year that are better for attorneys to pursue a career move.
The best time of the year for lawyers to make a career move is early January to Mid-April due to increased hiring as companies near the end of the financial year and start new annual budgets. Mid-August through October is also a great time as staff members come off vacations and summer internships draw to a close. Read on to learn how to position yourself and prepare for these opportune times.
Best Time: Early January to Mid-April
During these months, nearly twice as much hiring goes on at law firms and corporate counsel departments than at any other time of the year due to:
- New hiring budgets being rolled out in January
- Employee hiring and firing decisions that are finalized in late December
- Some lawyers and partners wait for their end-of-year bonus before searching
The legal hiring process is notoriously slow, which means candidates who are initially screened during early January may not receive a formal offer until well into February or even March.
Next Best: Mid-August through October
During the late spring and summer months, the hiring pace slows down due mostly to vacations, along with the fact law firms and their recruiting staffs are busy accommodating summer law associates. Once that respite is over, the interviewing process tends to heat up again around Mid-August.
Near the end of October, hiring activities usually taper down until January for these reasons:
- Key decision makers are out of the office more (Holiday travel, etc.)
- Law firm and corporate counsel budgets are tapped out
- Many employers are assessing their hiring needs for the upcoming year
What if You Don’t Want to Wait?
In addition to the time of year, there are other circumstances during which you might find yourself in that perfect moment to interview for a long-awaited opportunity, such as:
The worst time to search for a job is when everyone else is. However, if your resume reflects a winning track record in comparison to other candidates, it doesn’t matter that much what time of year you throw your hat in the ring if your particular skills and experience are needed now.
Practice Specialty Area(s)
Anytime during the year, a firm or corporation’s legal department may get unexpectedly overloaded, facilitating the need to hire more help in one or more practice areas:
- Trademark: When a company is seeking regulatory approval for a new product.
- Bankruptcy: Bankruptcies increase when economic activity falls.
- Litigation: Experienced litigators are needed whenever a firm lands a big case.
- Healthcare: When new legislation is passed it sometimes spooks providers.
- Corporate: During an economic downturn, employees are let go and then sue.
- Real Estate: If interest rates are low, real estate activities tend to pick up.
When Key People Leave
Highly qualified lawyers take new positions, or are fired, every day. When old positions are vacated, new candidates must be recruited to fill them. In larger cities, like LA or New York, promising job openings are constantly available if you know where to look, and who to talk to.
A Hiring Spree
As corporations and law firms expand, for example when opening-up a satellite office overseas, it can trigger a legal hiring spree to fill new positions. And, those expansion opportunities can happen anytime throughout the year.
Another driving force within a given geographic area is how well the economy is performing. Rapid economic growth coincides with a need for good lawyers in nearly all specialties, be it financial, real estate, corporate or family law. For example, states that have recently legalized cannabis now have a plethora of legal jobs associated with all aspects of that burgeoning industry. On the flipside, during the recession of 2007-08, hiring slowed down appreciably in all regions of the U.S., which significantly impacted the legal profession too.
Good Legal Recruiters Place Candidates All Year Long
Timing and qualifications trump time of year for talented attorneys seeking a career change. If you’re a potential employer, several other market forces also influence hiring. Good legal recruiters grasp these trends and work as advisors whenever career advancement openings become available. Local recruiters have the insider information, networking contacts and candidate-vetting capabilities to better serve the interests of all parties involved. Visit the Legal Recruiter Directory today to search for a good legal recruiter in your area.