In our Careers Clinic, we hand over to you, our community, to send in a question on career progression.
This month, Consultant Jen Crowther explains how you can get a feel for a firm’s culture before joining them.
I’ve decided that I’d like to move on from my current firm and I’ve started to explore new opportunities.
I’ve noticed that on their Careers pages and in their job adverts, a lot of firms talk about having a great culture. I know that culture is important, but how do I know if a firm’s culture is as good as it says it is?
“As part of Realm’s 2023/24 state-of-the-market research, we asked law firms what they thought their main USP was an employer. 86% of firms said that it is their culture that sets them apart, so I’m not surprised you’ve seen firms mentioning their culture online.
In some cases, you won’t truly be able to get a feel for a firm’s culture until you join them but there are ways you can gauge what it’s like to work for a firm during the job search process.
As well as looking at a firm’s website, look at their social media channels, especially LinkedIn and Instagram. Often these are the main channels on which a law firm will promote their employer brand. They might feature members of the team in their content, whether that be in interviews, case studies, or profiles. These insights will give you a better idea of the firm’s culture from the perspective of people who already work there.
If you know someone who already works at a firm, reach out to them and ask them what it’s like to work there – they should be able to provide you with an honest and unbiased view of the firm’s culture. It’s also worth looking at a firm’s Glassdoor profile and reading employee reviews (although as these are anonymous, it’s usually worth taking them with a pinch of salt).
If you decide to apply to a firm via a specialist legal recruiter, they will also be able to give you an insight into the firm’s culture, which they will have gleaned through their conversations with their client. At Realm, we also partner with some of the law firms we work with on content, to help tell their stories and showcase what it is that makes them such great places to work, so it’s worth taking a look at the Content Hub on our website to see if there’s any content that features the firm you’re interested in.
Lastly, if you interview with a firm, you can ask the interviewer for examples of things they do to demonstrate their values and culture. For instance, if they say they are a caring employer, you could ask the interviewer to tell you about initiatives or policies that support this. Sometimes, during an interview process, you might meet other members of the existing team or have a tour of the office, both of these things should help you to decide if the firm’s culture and working environment are right for you.
By taking these steps, you can gain a deeper understanding of a law firm’s culture and make an informed decision about a prospective firm – good luck with your search!”
About the Career Accelerator
The Careers Clinic features in our Career Accelerator mailout every few weeks. It is designed to help you develop your skills, get advice from leading lawyers in your practice area and better understand the current legal opportunities on offer. You can sign up to receive the Career Accelerator straight to your inbox, by completing the form below.