Solicitors - WWYD?

(5 Posts)
ComeOnEileen11 Sun 09-Aug-20 07:31:32

I am a fairly newly qualified solicitor - 3 years PQE, but on maternity leave at the moment.

I am considering my options at the moment.

I currently work at a regular law firm, I've been there for a while, qualified there and had been a paralegal there too. Generally the work is interesting. I'm well thought of as I work hard. Departmental partner and direct supervision have been wonderful. Lovely people, both want to teach/train/encourage younger people, both family men who understand the struggle of balancing family and work (my direct supervisor in particular as his wife was also a solicitor and they had children). The work is B2B and the work comes from a few large clients. (This is all relevant). I fairly enjoyed my job. The wage is lowish for the market but that's not been my priority as we are a joint wage household and husband earns slightly more. There's an increasing WFH culture at my firm before lockdown and whenever I requested to WFH it was agreed although I didn't have a formal arrangement in place. Direct boss trusted me a great deal.

Company A has been doing large scale recruitment and a lot of people from my firm have gone. Including departmental partner and direct supervisor. Its an ABS. They're also paying more. They have a WFH culture too. Firm works with company A and calling their office number often resulted in "they're working from home, call their mobile" so I know this for definite.
I'm pretty confident that departmental partner and direct supervisor would hire me if I interviewed there. Company A has a great deal of work. Some large companies that were clients of my firm will follow departmental partner and direct supervisor in time.

Company B is also an ABS. Its pretty close to my house and a small practice. They only do probate, and not contentious. I always wanted to do probate or family, which is why I studied them on the LPC. They're recruiting and I'm thinking of applying there. I'd have no commuting costs and my commute would be a 5 min walk. When back at work I would save £5 per child per nursery day. When they're at school, I could do the morning school run saving on wrap around care. No idea about the ethos generally or WFH.

By stopping at my firm:
- Interesting work and quite a bit of litigation.
- New direct supervisor is also good - he was senior in my team before and I have a lot of respect for him. I've had as hoc supervision from him before when boss was on holiday and he was great. I did say that if direct supervisor left, I'd want him as a supervisor.
- will definitely be under billing pressure when I'm back. Problem is being on maternity, my WIP is going to have been depleted. Any WIP realised while I'm on mat leave won't count towards my billing target. This was the case after my first mat leave. Direct supervisor didn't pile on the pressure because he knew how unfair the situation was ), but the emails from senior partners don't take that into consideration. You're meeting your billing target or you're not, and that's a problem.
- it's the status quo. Its what I'm used to - comfort zone etc.

Company A:
- higher pay - not a deal maker/breaker, but a nice extra.
- still WFH.
- same area of work.
- probably still litigation based - departmental partner and direct supervisor preferred to issue rather than things dragging out for years.
- an ABS - If I wanted to go back into a traditional law firm in the future, is working for an ABS going to be looked down upon? There seems a bit of a belief that ABSs are less 'good'.

Company B
- same issue re ABS
- no litigation - would I get bored? I'm 33, so have many working years left.
- would be convenient and would save £120 per month of travel, around £30 per week in nursery fees when both children are in nursery. Probably similar when children are at school too.

Right now, I don't harbour any career aspirations for partnership. Right now, I want to do my job to the best of my ability in a nice atmosphere, and come home to my children. I want to be home for our family tea, children's bath, stories and bed.
But they will grow up, once they're teenagers, going to university, young adults etc, this might change, might I decide I want to go for associate/partner etc. If I moved to an ABS would I be shooting myself in the foot for the future?

Firm is also losing work to company A. There aren't redundancies now and no talk of it, but there oils potentially be if larger company clients are going elsewhere.

Husband is concerned about the potential for my stress levels going back re: targets at firm and is encouraging me to go to Company A but will support my choice either way.

Company A has grown very quickly and I'm aware that this is a risk also.


OP’s posts: |
NaturalStudy Sun 09-Aug-20 07:38:19

Wow thats complicated. I couldnt work out your specialism from your post? I think in your position I would consider more about what i would want in the future and have one eye on that as well. It seems at the minute you are only focused on an easy life, which is completely understandable, but is that what you want for your career in the future?

AshGirl Sun 09-Aug-20 07:57:00

I would go to Company A in a heartbeat. Main reasons would be that it is taking business from your current firm (so likely to be more secure long term) and less billing pressure.

Company B would bore me to tears in 5 minutes, but then I work in disputes and I haven't got a clue about private client work!

ComeOnEileen11 Sun 09-Aug-20 09:09:25

@naturalstudy it's quite niche. Not so much an easy life, but I don't want to look back in a few years and have missed out on my children's formative years by having been working too much. My future is definitely the concern, which is why I'm worried about going to an ABS right now.

@AshGirl that's interesting, thank you. I think the main selling point of company B is the proximity to my house! Firm and company A are both based in a major city about an hour from my house.

OP’s posts: |
VinnieVanLowe Sun 09-Aug-20 10:29:40

Many solicitors have been laid off recently and are looking for work. A lot of people are at home on furlough so are doing probate themselves rather than instructing solicitors, so whilst not hit as hard as other areas of law there will likely be plenty of solicitors with probate/private client experience looking for work.

To be honest I think you may well struggle to get even an interview for firm B if it is an area of practice you have no experience in.

Having said that I would probably apply for both and see what happens. If you do get offered either/both jobs you will have a better idea about the roles and the firms having had interviews and spoken to people who work there.

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