Before You Make a Lateral Move as a Young Lawyer

Sometimes, strategic career moves do not necessarily mean climbing up a ladder to a more senior role. Lateral moves are becoming more common as the majority of young lawyers make at least one lateral move within their first ten years of practice. Whether for reasons personal or professional, or both, these decisions allow young lawyers to dip their feet into other practices, environments, challenges, and experiences. This is the case with the Orlando Law Group who are constantly expanding their practice with several areas of expertise––now covering every family and business-related area. Their attorneys are well-versed and flourish in this sector. This would be a good firm for a new attorney looking to expand their horizons. 

Stepping in the right direction

A lateral move can be a step in the right direction. A young attorney needs to know how to do so properly in order to have the best chance of getting a good position. The best way to do this is by using any legal contacts they have. This is because the legal industry relies heavily on recommendations. 70% of associate placements for Special Counsel were for unadvertised positions. This shows how interconnected the industry is. Using your connections will help you meet the right people who will propel you into the career path you want.

Your own path

The National Law Review reports that lateral moves are at an all-time high because of industry consolidation and law firm mergers. However, don’t be pressured to follow the trend if it doesn’t suit you. Consider doing some introspection. If you’re currently unhappy with where you are at, try to uncover the reasons why. If a lateral move is going to solve the reasons you are dissatisfied in the long term, then there’s no harm in going for it. But rushing into the idea may lead to even greater disappointments, leaving you further behind than when you began. The work environment is especially important for you to thrive. Try to remember that the legal profession hosts a number of specialties with even more personalities filling these roles. You should try to map out your career plans to see which roads to take to find your place. 

Growing as a lawyer

Ultimately, HR and management consultant Susan M. Heathfield says that the motivations behind a lateral move are everything. What will help you grow best as a lawyer? This question is vital for a young attorney to consider in order to expand their skills and networks essential to the profession. Because you could be moving from the same position from one environment to the next, this external factor should eventually help you move up when the time comes. At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your trajectory and deciding which set-up will be the most effective for you to reach your career goals. 


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Written by Sandra Bailey

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