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Can firm-hopping damage your CV?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 18/12/15
The legal sector is becoming increasingly accustomed to higher numbers of lateral partner moves, but is there a point at which they can become detrimental to an individual’s career? Although, arguably, a larger portfolio of work would evoke the image of someone with more experience, do an increased number of moves indicate CV instability?

There appear to be two main fields of thought here. Although many lawyers, and indeed even some of those working in legal recruitment, would side with tradition and say that the proper way to operate is by staying in a certain position for a while, a newer way of thinking is that it is almost impossible to learn everything in just one place. As innovation within the sector becomes increasingly important both within one’s career and to beat competition, many lawyers are turning to new experiences within different positions for inspiration.

As can be common within the legal sector, there seems to be a juxtaposition between an older view – where careers could be ruined by “job-hopping” – and the new global way of approaching business which is seeing a huge rise in temporary professionals and lateral moves. It is worth pointing out that I am not suggesting that it is in any way beneficial to move an absurd amount of times – say, more than once in a year – but that rules are widely becoming more flexible.

So what’s the answer? It is increasingly common for lawyers not to spend their entire careers under one roof – especially with the onset of millennials who are looking for a plethora of experiences and often feel unchallenged or stagnant in unchanging positions. But is the general current of legal recruitment moving towards a more relaxed view of “firm-hopping” or will it continue to ring alarm bells for organisations looking to invest in long-haul talent, or lawyers who will stay with them for a while?

Tell us what you think.