Should You Wait on 2013 Bonus Before Making a Lateral Move?

Nondas DavisAs 2013 winds down, many attorneys are considering whether to make the leap to a new opportunity and forego their bonus or remain in their current jobs through December in order to receive their anticipated pay out. Here are five factors to consider when making this decision:

  • Big picture: Always consider the big picture of a potential move. Don’t focus entirely on the immediate future; consider what a move could mean in the long term. You don’t want the anticipated bonus keep you from exploring a new position that could be more lucrative and fulfilling for years to come.
  • Know the numbers: What type of bonus is likely on the table? Is the bonus a guarantee or is it speculative? What indication has been given by the partners during reviews or feedback? If the bonus is not a known quantity, is it worth the risk of passing up a great opportunity?
  • Market conditions: This is still a buyer’s market in many respects, with plenty of attorneys looking for a change. When the market is tight, it sometimes pays to take the right opportunity even if it means sacrificing a bonus. The right fit can be rare so best to snatch it up when it appears.
  • Signing bonus: Will the hiring firm pay a signing bonus to offset all or part of an attorney leaving before their bonus period? This should always be a talking point with the prospective firm. For the right candidate that fits their timeframe, firms are often willing to offer a signing bonus that covers all or part of what the attorney is leaving behind.
  • Benefits. Does the prospective firm offer a more attractive 401K match or additional health insurance benefits? Perhaps the hiring firm offers an attractive cell phone reimbursement plan or provides commuter benefits that could help offset what the candidate is leaving behind at the current firm.

Take the time to consider these five factors before shutting the door on any opportunities that arise between now and December.

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