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When’s the right time to move jobs as a lawyer…? About now!

3 November 2016

Given that the Melbourne Cup has passed (no cigar this year, again!) and Christmas decorations have been up in stores now for months, a lot of lawyers we speak to assume there’s probably no point in looking for a new job until the new year.

Well, it’s time to dispel that myth! Now is perhaps the best time for you to make that move and I’ll explain why.

A cursory glance at our own internal “live jobs” board shows more than 80 vacancies we are working on at present…and they’re just the ones we have actually got around to uploading to our system! The months of October, November and December have for years been some of our busiest months in legal recruitment. And there are a few reasons for this…

Recruitment because there is a need

If a law firm calls us to say they want help recruiting a lawyer, it’s pretty evident there’s plenty of work on and a need to plug that gap. Post July 1, financial year budgets have kicked in and there is often an allowance for recruitment or new headcount so if the work is there, then it’s a real live vacancy.

You can beat the new year resolution rush

After having gorged themselves on far too much good food and drink over the Christmas and New Year period, guilt kicks in and people invariably turn their attention to their New Year’s resolution. Cutting back the mid-week drink, joining a gym, quitting smoking, reading more books and watching less TV….oh, and given you spend so much of your life unhappy there – changing jobs.

The only trouble is, a lot of people have the same idea. We receive the biggest influx of CVs and approaches from job seekers at this time, and naturally competition for the (fewer) jobs in the New Year is hotter.

A January move?….forget it. And the salary review too!

The legal world shuts down around this time, and people only really come back on deck post-Australia Day holiday or when school goes back. And it’s usually partners (who let’s face it, have the final say in recruitment) who take the month of January off altogether.

By the time they’re back at their desk, recruitment is usually the furthest thing on their mind. Cue February, and by the time you go through the interview process, you’re often not starting in your new job until mid-March at least.

Worse still, as you will have only been in the role for a few months, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be eligible for any new financial year salary increase. In effect, you will make the move and be stuck on the same salary for the best part of 15 to 18 months.

There’s no time off like the time off between jobs

Interview in November, serve your four week (usually) notice and start in December. Next thing you know, you’re starting a role at the same time as Christmas parties and functions. It’s also a great chance to get to know all your new colleagues too. How good! Everyone is in wind-down mode (while pretending not to be!) and then the office usually shuts down for a couple of weeks.

When doors open again, you’re well and truly refreshed come early January, and you can ease yourself into your new role – particularly if your partner has taken the month off too!


As we approach two years in business as Partners at Peppercorn Recruitment, we have never been as busy as we are at the moment. On top of being busy recruiting for our long-standing clients, we have never had as many new opportunities from new clients who have approached us to help them grow their businesses.

While there may only be seven weeks until Christmas, there are not only plenty of new and interesting opportunities out there, but there’s also plenty of time to make that move.


At Peppercorn Recruitment, our Partners are both former lawyers and have a combined two decades of legal recruitment experience. We have provided frank, honest and pragmatic advice to many lawyers over their careers on matters such as negotiating salaries, drafting CVs, interview tips and tricks and of course, changing jobs.

We hope you find this a useful point of reference in your career planning, but should you wish to have a confidential discussion about how we can help, please contact either Peter or Ross on 07 3031 3625. We’re happy to help!