Is there ever a good time to move roles?

I’m often asked when is the best time to move. Lawyers often choose to move at the start of the year, or when they hit a certain PQE level, or around the holidays, but in today’s market, the traditional reasons don’t have the same application. 

Gone are the days where we were instructed on more private client roles in the winter months, family/divorce roles in September, residential conveyancing roles between April and September, and practically no corporate or banking roles in the summer months. Firms are generally much better at recruiting proactively. Partners and sector business unit heads are much better at forecasting growth plans and thinking well in advance about attracting the top talent (with conversations sometimes starting years in advance of when the move will take place). 

It’s certainly fair to say that there are busier and quieter times of the year, particularly around holiday times with many partners, recruitment teams and key decision-makers taking annual leave. There’s often then a spike in activity in September, January and May when everyone returns. These times are also when many firms make decisions about promotions and salary increases, which in turn can be a factor for lawyers deciding to leave (and consequently, for a law firm to replace them). There are pros and cons with moving at a busier time; although there may be an increase in the number of opportunities, there is often an increase in the number of lawyers looking to move as well. 

Another important factor is the economy and any political changes or dramas (something we have seen frequently over the last 8 years or so!) Although the past 12 to 18 months have certainly been tough and talk of pressures on the cost of living, interest rate rises and inflation is rarely out of the news, the legal market has remained surprisingly strong. Law firms are still recruiting across a range of practice areas/sectors and many firms have ambitious long-term growth plans across all areas of the UK. We have seen some expansion in areas such as renewable energy, development work (particularly in connection to affordable housing) and employment and some areas are quieter than they have been e.g corporate and general real estate with recruitment for these roles much more targeted at filling a specific need/gap in a team. 

We are instructed on opportunities at all levels, with the bulk of signed off vacancies falling at the junior to mid-level. However, the appetite to recruit senior lawyers appears to be stronger than it has been for a long time and many of these opportunities are not actively advertised. 

So, in essence, there are peaks and troughs in the legal recruitment market, but in my opinion, the best time to start thinking about a move and talking to an experienced recruiter is when:

  • you’re relocating and need to find a new job or planning to relocate within the next year or two  
  • you’re no longer getting what you want from your current role (salary, flexibility, recognition, or you were bypassed for promotion) 
  • You have hit a plateau in your current role and no longer feel challenged 
  • you want to do something different, or do the same thing, but differently (type of work, type of clients, develop an area of expertise, work as a consultant) 
  • you feel like your physical or mental health is suffering, you consistently don’t want to go to work or you find yourself a clock watching or living for the weekend. 
  • you’re unhappy with the culture, the firm doesn’t fit with your personal values, you feel you are unable to be a professional version of your true self or you can’t see a long-term future there. 


Starting a new job Talis Legal Recruitment
Employment Lawyer / Solicitor Talis Legal Recruitment

Not all firms are equal. If any of the reasons above apply to you, please don’t sit on it. By exploring your options, you are taking control of your career.  This may mean a new role for you, or it could help reinvigorate your interest in your current role.   At Talis Legal Recruitment we are all experienced legal recruiters and have all worked in law firms previously so we are well placed to understand your career aspirations and goals as well as those factors which might prompt a move. We are here to listen to you, help you define what that next role looks like, and support you in process of finding it.  
For a confidential chat about your plans, please contact: 

Cathryn Holmes 




Get in Touch!

We will take the time to listen and understand your plans and motivations. With over 50 years’ experience in working with law firms and getting to know their Partners, strategy and culture, we will look at opportunities and introduce you to firms where you can enjoy a successful long-term career.


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