How to Determine When to Make a Change

AUG 08, 2019 | PRACTUS LLP

How to Determine When to Make a Change

Authored by Stephanie Recupero

Are you unhappy with your legal career at your current law firm and dreading heading into work tomorrow morning? Do you drag your feet when preparing for the day or spend too much time schlepping along during your ridiculous commute? Does your law firm require your presence at superfluous, interoffice meetings? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate what you’re looking for when it comes to practicing law or even what your expectations are for your career path in general. 

Before you take any action, though, it’s vitally important to determine whether or not you’re fulfilled in your current position. Whether you’re looking for a more positive adjustment in your current practice or a whole new way to practice law altogether, there are signs and questions you can ask yourself that will help you make a well-informed decision.

3 Signs That You’re Unhappy at Your Law Firm

Are you and your job getting along? Usually, the signs are fairly obvious, but for attorneys, those signs can be easily overlooked. Lawyers that are working the grind rarely take the time to come up for air and evaluate where they are in their life. But, it’s important to stop and ask yourself, is this what I signed up for? Am I still doing what I love? Am I happy? If any of the following situations apply to your current job, it might be time to consider making a change. 

1. Emotionally, Physically, or Mentally Draining

If you find yourself in a situation that is emotionally, physically, or mentally draining for you to show up to work every morning, much less to perform at a high level, then it’s time to adjust. Whether those pressures come from too many unnecessary meetings at your traditional law firm, unsupportive co-workers, or a commute that is eating into all of you personal and family time, it’s important to pinpoint the particular reasons you are unfilled at work.

2. Systematically Underpaid

Being systematically underpaid for your efforts is another sign that it’s time to revamp your position. Attorneys are among some of the most overworked professionals, clocking in at 60-80 hours per week, regardless of salary. Assuming the traditional methods of growing your paycheck, like taking on new projects or responsibilities, and asking for a raise either haven’t helped you reach your goals or haven’t improved your work-life balance, then it’s time to reassess. 

3. Professional Development Has Come to a Stop

Hindrance in your professional development is another major aspect of unhappiness in your job. If those traditional law firm office politics are getting in the way of you advancing in your career, reevaluate. An employer should be helping you gain skills, experiences, knowledge, and training, no matter where you are in your career. Great firms know that investing in the growth of their employees is the best way to attract and develop top talent and therefore embrace that investment.

3 Steps to Finding Fulfillment at Work

1. Stop Pretending

The first step is, to be honest with yourself. Even though this sounds simple, it can be one of the hardest challenges you face. Instead of pushing those feelings of unfulfillment to the side, attack the issue head-on. From there, you can see it clearly and solve it. Ask yourself the tough questions. Are you working too much? Are you canceling dinners with your loved ones? Does your work encroach on family time? Is your commute to the office too long? Does your traditional law firm expect you to perform tasks beyond your job description? Are you underpaid?

From there, determine the aspects of your job that truly bring you fulfillment. What do you love about what you do? How do you like to spend your time – with clients, or working on administrative tasks? Where do you work most efficiently? How important is technology to your productivity?  Do you thrive working remotely or in a more casual environment? Consider a law firm that provides more freedom and opportunities for growth.

2. Define “Should” and “Can’t”… Then Let Them Go

People commonly tell themselves things like, “I should be grateful that I have a full-time job with benefits,” or “I can’t quit my job because I’ve already worked so hard to get where I am…”

Listening to these voices, rather than focusing on what makes you happy and fulfilled, can distract you from achieving your goals and lock you into living by the rules of “Can’ts” and “Shoulds” and even “Supposed to’s.” The best way to get free from these shackles is to act. Don’t be afraid to explore your options. There has to be a better way. Which leads to the third step…

3. Take Action

None of the above is to say the type of job you currently have is wrong for you. In fact, most attorneys initially choose to practice law because of their belief in service (to a person, to an issue, to a community, etc). So explore your options. If a traditional law firm structure isn’t working for you, consider a new way of practicing law, where you have more freedom, flexibility, and control over your life and your work. 

Practus, A New Kind Of Law Firm

Practus, LLP is a different kind of law firm. It was founded on the belief that there is a better, more fulfilling way to practice law. By embracing cloud-based technology, attorneys are more efficient, productive and responsive and have more autonomy and independence. As a result, attorneys and their clients are happier, which is the ultimate goal. 

If you are unhappy at your law firm, and you seek the freedom to work with clients more efficiently, work with a flexible pay structure that lets you take home much more of your hard-earned money, or if you just aim to have the best work-life balance possible, check out how Practus can help you reach your career goals at

The Authors
Stephanie Recupero
Read Full Bio

Practus, LLP provides this information as a service to clients and others for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers.

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