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Back to research & insights Published by Alex Gotch - 2 years ago

Beyond The Money: Why Do Lawyers Move Roles?

What motivates a lawyer to move roles?

Traditionally, salary has been one of the main motivators for lawyers when deciding to move roles. However, if you remove money from the equation, what do lawyers truly value in a role? Society has developed since Covid: is money still a main priority?

Since 2020, we have experienced an ever-increasing number of lawyers considering options in the market for more than just a ‘crazy salary’. The major factors which our candidates tell us they’re looking for are flexibility, career progression, the type of work they’ll be involved with and most importantly, the team culture and people.


Since Covid, our working environments have transformed, and remote working has become the norm. Having the opportunity to work from home at least a couple of days a week has been a major priority for lawyers when deciding what they want in a new role. Flexibility can often extend to a ‘work-from-anywhere’ arrangement, allowing lawyers to work while traveling or between firm offices in Melbourne and Sydney for example.

With the rise of the 4-day work week, more lawyers are considering changing roles for a firm which offers similar perks. If your current role offers little to no flexibility, or has become particularly demanding and mentally draining, there are options out there for you.

Progression: Moving Up the Ladder

Have you been holding out for a promotion for a while? Feeling like you’re going down the same path with no end in sight?

Whether you’re waiting for the promotion to Senior Associate in a reputable firm or keen to step up into a leadership position in-house as a Senior Legal Counsel or General Counsel, having opportunities to progress are vitally important.

We have seen a shift in culture, particularly with more junior lawyers, who are more demanding than ever before when it comes to taking control of their careers. Lawyers are more willing to switch roles if a new position offers the chance of promotion or a clear pathway.

Type of work

Grown weary of doing the same work day-to-day? Interested in a different area of law? Many private practice lawyers moving in-house are seeking exposure to a broader range of commercial work, rather than being confined to one practice area. We have experienced a job boom within the in-house market which has provided a significant number of options for Private Practice lawyers who are searching for a broader role.

A lot of lawyers are also seeking opportunities to get involved in meaningful work which align with their values. We have seen a rise in legal roles within companies in developing sectors such as renewables and ESG, which have proved very appealing.


Lawyers are increasingly recognising the value of moving into a role with the right cultural fit and are pickier than ever before as to whom they will work alongside. Specifically, they value a connection within their team where they are respected and feel as though they belong. Team culture has adapted. Difficult, unreasonable or unfair bosses now struggle to attract and keep staff, as lawyers have so many other options and are more willing to move roles. This is surely one of the best adaptations the last few years has brought us.

Concluding Points

I am sure these are important factors you’d consider when thinking about moving roles. We work closely with our clients to ensure we can identify the enticing factors for each role and assist lawyers with a tailored job search.

If you’re interested in exploring in-house or private practice opportunities, reach out to us on our main number, +61 (02) 9030 0335, or reach out to one of our legal recruitment consultants via our LinkedIn page. 

Jake Hayden-Smith – +61 416 579 399 –