Why Lawyers Turn Down Job Offers

Posted on 10/11/2021 by Edward Sorrell

The market is becoming more and more competitive and so when a law firm finds the right lawyer it’s imperative that they attract and retain them. At Realm, we speak with lawyers and law firms on a daily basis, helping individuals make moves that are right for them and their careers and helping law firms find suitable people for their business.  

Recently, in our annual market research, we undertook a survey of over 100 participants to better our understanding of the legal job market from the perspective of lawyers. By utilising the information and market knowledge we have gathered, we hope to help law firms to attract, engage and retain the right talent to help meet their business objectives. 

So, looking at this information, why do lawyers turn down job offers? 

Not enough flexibility 

Flexibility has risen right to the top of the leaderboard overtaking a pay rise in popularity as the most important thing for lawyers when choosing a job. Our research showed that 51.5% of lawyers believed flexibility was very important when looking for a new job compared to 41.5 % believing a pay rise was very important.  

For many, flexible working was a pandemic-related change and remote working was put in place to enable work but not seen as a long-term alternative. From a jobseeker's perspective flexibility has become essential (not an added extra. By not offering flexibility, law firms are hampering their chances of hiring that new lawyer tenfold, and run the risk of losing employees to law firms that do. 

The salary is too low 

As you may have guessed, salaries will always be a key driver in the decision process when selecting a new job. Historically, it’s always been the most important factor but after the pandemic, it seems everything has changed. However, it’s important to note that in our survey salary did still come as a close second and should still be regarded as being important. 

With more and more law firms introducing flexibility it seems that offering flexibility will no longer be a competitive advantage for law firms, paving the way back to compete on money. It is worth noting that more than half of the lawyers we spoke to in our research said that they felt that they were not paid fairly showing there is a great potential to compete on this front.  

There’s no room for career progression 

Career progression is the third most important factor in terms of what lawyers look for when searching for a new job. And it is very understandable why this is the case. From a lawyer's perspective, you could argue the essential reason for all jobs is to grow, learn and progress and a position that doesn’t offer these kinds of opportunities is unlikely to be attractive. A lack of career progression will put off ambitious, driven lawyers. If a law firm wants to attract the best talent available, they need to provide a vehicle to enable their lawyers to become and remain the best talent available. 

The importance of this goes hand in hand with lawyers wanting a better learning and development focus. Whilst it wasn’t in the top 5 most important factors, this was still as an important factor for many of the lawyers who participated in the survey. This shows how important it is to foster and nurture employees to help them reach their full potential. In turn, this will have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and thus attraction. 


There are many other reasons as to why lawyers will turn down job offers including the commute, the interview and the recruitment process, as well as a firm’s wellbeing being focus. Read our whitepaper and our report: The Great Talent Shortage to learn more. Alternatively get in touch with our specialist recruiters on 03300 245 606 to see how we can help you as a law firm attract, engage and retain the right talent. 

Why Lawyers Turn Down Job Offers


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