Same Firm, Different Office

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Same Firm, Different Office

Post by Slytherpuff » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:46 pm

I know this sub-forum is for lateral moves but I'm here to share what I've learned regarding switching offices at your firm. I’m a junior associate who is moving from New York to another large legal market where my firm has an office.

Let's say you like your current firm (great!) but something's come up in your life and you have to switch cities. There are a couple of ways to go about making a switch:

1) Try to start working with people in the office you want to be in. See if they have enough work for you. Ask them if you can start working in their office, so that when you go back and talk to your current office about the possibility of transferring, you already know that you have a place in the new office.

2) Let's say you can't get onto matters in the office you're trying to switch to. Talk to leadership at your current office (I spoke with the head of my practice group) about your situation and ask if you can switch. If they like you and want you to stay at the firm, they can approach the new office for you and see if there's a place for you.

Further considerations:

If you're a junior - Congrats, you're replaceable! If the firm likes you and has a high opinion of you, and if there's space for you in the office you want to be in, you're interchangeable enough that the firm will likely be able to let you switch without much pushback. The downside of this is that if the firm doesn't have a high opinion of you or there isn't space for you in the office you want to switch to (maybe you want to be in a group that's full or do work that the new office doesn't do), they might tell you no and let you just lateral elsewhere. You probably aren't senior enough that you can bring your current work with you and just work out of the new office.

If you're more senior - If your firm really likes you, they may be open to letting you switch to a new office regardless of whether there's space for you. If that office has work for you, you'll be in the clear, but otherwise you may just be able to continue working with everyone you'd been working with from your old office, just in the new location. The downside of this is that if the firm decides it doesn't want to invest in you, they might tell you to look elsewhere and you'll also have to start looking for another firm to lateral to.

Office size - This should be obvious, but it's much easier to move to a larger office than a smaller office, especially when you're junior. If you're senior and they really like you, you might be able to move to a new office regardless of size.

Justification for moving - Firms seem to be very receptive of inevitable, personal reasons (my wife has to move for work, we need to be close to my fiance's family because of health issues, etc.). Moving just because you want to be in a new city or just so you can join a particular practice that isn't offered at your current office might be a lot harder, depending on the firm.

I'd love to hear other people's experience in here as well. (Did you have zero pushback when you asked to move? Were you told no and you had to lateral? We've had both happen at my firm.) Happy to answer questions too - PM might be easiest if you want more specific information.

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Re: Same Firm, Different Office

Post by SmittyWerben » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:15 pm

This is fantastic and very helpful, thanks a million! Might be working through this process in the next few months I'll update y'all if it happens.

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