Where Do You Want to Work?

Law school graduates and many associates spend lots of time figuring out where they want to work. Currently, in the days of the post-COVID “great reshuffle,” lateral moves between law firms have become more frequent, and many young lawyers need to create a set of criteria for choosing the places they want to go.

Lawyers often talk about a new workplace as where they “landed,” but today’s young professionals tend to think more intentionally. It’s not where you land but what destination you’ve chosen.

In our “How I Made Partner” interviews this year, we’ve included the question, “What were your criteria for joining your present firm?” The answers varied, and some have been surprising.

Some partners had a simple, pointed set of benchmarks. “Culture, fit, and opportunity,” said Peter Bogdasarian of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young.

And Shari Dwoskin, a partner at Brown Rudnick, told us, “I was simply looking for a firm in Boston where the work was interesting, where the people were nice, and where I could make an impact.”

“I wanted a work/life balance and that’s really hard to find when you work in New York City,” said Karuna Chandani Simbeck of Klasko Immigration Law Partners. “I was also looking to widen my areas of expertise.”

Other lawyers were very specific about the legal environment they were seeking. James Ray of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr gave us this list: “I looked for a firm with 1) a reputation for excellent results and client service; 2) people that enjoyed their work and working together; and 3) opportunities for a young lawyer to grow and develop a practice.”

“I was looking for a firm that worked on high-level and challenging projects, had a reputation for being a steward in the market, and was a good cultural fit,” said Brian Dillon, an office managing partner at Lathrop GPM. “The size of the firm was also important to me. I was looking for a place that attracted challenging and complex work but was not so big that junior attorneys get lost in the shuffle.”

Cyrus Chin, a partner at Balch & Bingham, had specific advice for graduates on how to develop their criteria: “Be very thoughtful about the relationship between your law school and your final destination, whether that destination is a geographic one or a particular practice area. Talk to alumni more than career services.”

For more career success stories, check out the “How I Made It” Q&A series on Law.com.  

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