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Legal Job: Do Your Work/Life Balance Diligence

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Work/life balance in legal industry is often ambiguous when you work for a big firm where billing hours usually is the rule. Many lawyers can't complain when they are paid $ 150 K to $200K per annum as they can't put in reasonable sweat equity.

Usually work/life balance worsens when you go up the ladder in big firms. That may be one of the reasons why the attrition rates are very high in major law firms. Many attorneys leave their large firms after two or three years because their partners put in as many hours as their younger associates, say many legal placement agencies.

Some lingering light is visible in law industry; a few big firms taking note of work/life balance as many of their employees prefer work-to-live versus live-to-work philosophy. If you look for work in not too-big-firms, work/life balance can be more realistic.

Some sectors in the legal market like government, smaller corporate firms, education institutes and alternative legal careers offer better family friendly work environs. Not- too- big firms promote this type of work ethics as it can get good work returns.

So how do you get a legal industry job that doesn't dominate your life and leaves some space for you and your family?

Do homework before the interview

Don't raise questions about work/life balance during the interview; if you do, the employer may construe that you aren't hard working. The time for getting answers to such questions is before the interview. Contact people associated with various legal environs and find out what they know about the work climate in their workplaces. Find out from law school career center professionals what they know about potential employers. Do your research before the interview so that you will know what type of workplace culture you will be getting into.

Identify what you want

While searching for a job you may ignore an important point - what you are looking for. So don't forget to align your expectations and the market realities.

Are you looking for a job which gives both high salary and work/life balance? Then you can't expect a starting salary over $100,000 per year and work for 40 hours a week, say placement agencies. If you want to have good work/life balance from the beginning of your legal career, better soften your dream of getting a footing in a major legal firm.

Find a recruiting firm

Contact a recruiting firm who can assess an employer's work environment without damaging your chances where you are seeking a job. Of course, this type of search involves risk but some recruiting firms do help you get a right job.
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