What are you willing to sacrifice?

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Are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want? That’s a question that I asked candidates all the time. When it comes to changes in career or changes in areas of law that you currently work in, that’s the key.

Sacrifice. What will you sacrifice to make that change? What will you sacrifice to get what you want? So often, I hear that most people won’t sacrifice anything. They say, “I am a quick learner” or “Show me how to do it once and I will be fine.”

Here is the reality. No one will pay a search consultant for someone they have to teach to do his/her job.

But you want to get “in”, right?

Then if you are trying to get “in” to another firm practicing another area of law than anything you have experience in, be prepared to take make a sacrifice. And that sacrifice usually comes in the form of a lower salary.

But you want “in” right? If you do, make the sacrifice.

When search consulting firms such as ours post a position that has been sent to our office, the client wants exactly as is stated on the job description or as close to it as is possible. So if that’s what you want, your best bet is try on your own to move from one area to another. But even then, be prepared to sacrifice.

That doesn’t mean we don’t want your resume. This doesn’t mean we can’t find you a great situation. We’d certainly love the opportunity to market your skills to other firms than the firm you are currently unhappy at, but it’s unlikely that search consulting firms like ours or any for that matter will be able to place you at a firm in an area of law that you have no experience in.

Having worked in the legal field for most of my life, I understand your plight. I agree in large part that a litigator is a litigator, that a trial lawyer is a trial lawyer, that a transactional attorney is a transactional attorney. But I am not the one hiring you. I am not one paying my firm. I am the firm trying to please my client.

But please understand that being able to convince a firm to take a chance on you in an area of law that you have no experience in and pay a fee in order to do that is quite unlikely. It’s not that we don’t want to get you placed somewhere, but if you want us to get you placed, we will need to look in an area of law that you have at least some experience in.

That is essentially what we are faced with when presented with resumes of individuals who want to leave their respective areas of law.

Now, I am not saying don’t try to change from area of law to another, but keep in mind, that if you decide to go in that direction and are fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do so at a new firm, be prepared to make that sacrifice so that you can get “in.”