Running Toward vs. Running Away From Legal Opportunity

We sometimes find that lawyers may be running away from vs. running toward a new
opportunity for various reasons. If there is a painful component to your current career
engagement, you may have a knee-jerk reaction to getting out of the employment
situation. We get it. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice if you are

We believe there is tremendous insight in providing examples of statements we have
heard that could be red flags for prospective employers. We’ve suggested ways to
rephrase your responses, and a question you may want to ask to cull out the
information you are looking to assess in your career decision-making process.

It would be essential to consider the timing of these questions. As a general guideline, if
asked, ”Do you have any questions?” you have been invited and encouraged to ask
questions. We have provided a list to select from based on your situation.

Negative statement: Lack of growth opportunities and advancement.
1. Positive: I’m seeking a company or firm that values career progression and offers
opportunities for growth and development. Might there be examples of growth
here, whether upward in title, expansion of responsibilities, or learning new areas
of the law?

Negative statement: Poor work-life balance and excessive workload.
2. Positive: I’m pursuing opportunities to prioritize work-life balance and supporting
a manageable workload to promote well-being and productivity. Does that
objective align with your team or company?
Negative statement: Toxic work culture or conflicts with colleagues.

3. Positive: I'm looking for a firm or company with an inclusive work environment
that fosters collaboration and respects diversity. Is there a DEI initiative, or is the
organization open to starting one?

Negative statement: Limited or unfulfilling practice areas.
4. Positive: I’m interested in a firm or company that aligns with and provides
opportunities to work in exciting and challenging practice areas such as
_________, ________, and __________. Would there be an opportunity further to
develop my strengths and interests in these practice areas?

Negative statement: Lack of recognition or appreciation for contributions.
5. Positive: I value a company that recognizes individual contributions, fostering a
culture of appreciation and acknowledgment. Might there be examples of formal
or informal recognition from the legal leadership or organization?

Negative statement: Insufficient support from management or leadership.
6. Positive: I am interested in joining an organization with strong leadership and
supportive management that prioritizes mentorship, guidance, and professional
development. Might there be formal or informal mentorship opportunities? Could
you tell me about the CLE & training programs at your firm or company?

Negative statement: Low compensation or inadequate benefits.
7. Positive: I am evaluating competitive compensation packages and
comprehensive benefits to ensure financial stability and well-being. (You may
have some information about comp, but here’s an opportunity to expand beyond
the base salary.) Although I may know the compensation parameters, might I
learn more about the STI, LTI, or other compensation components?

Negative statement: Limited opportunities for client interaction or meaningful cases.
8. Positive: I am looking for an organization that encourages direct client
engagement (whether internal at a company or working with external clients at a
firm) and offers diverse and impactful legal work, fostering professional growth
and satisfaction. What might be examples of opportunities to develop client
relations at your organization? Are there any restrictions on client engagements?
Might I have an opportunity to meet with internal clients as part of the interview

Each negative situation presents an opportunity for positive change and growth,
highlighting the importance of finding a company or law firm that aligns with your
values, career aspirations, and overall well-being. Asking the right questions and
positioning yourself as engaged and enthusiastic will serve you well as a candidate and
secure the information you need in your decision-making process.