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Read this before signing the contract for a legal job

A job offer will come with terms and conditions of acceptance. Those must be checked and carefully evaluated

Having eventually been offered a legal job, after all the stress of interviews, job application forms and research, you need to check your contract carefully before taking up your new post.

A job offer will come with terms and conditions of acceptance. Those must be checked and carefully evaluated to ensure the post is correct for you. Before accepting an appointment, consider the following four points.

1. Incentives should not be underestimated

If two different firms offer alternative salaries, one somewhat higher than the other, it does not necessarily mean that the one offering the most money will be the right one. Lifestyle, personal aspirations, and other allowances and issues may mean the firm offering less money is the correct choice for your circumstances.

Scrutinise all the benefits on offer, such as health insurance, a shorter working week and so forth. It may be more beneficial, in the scheme of things, to opt for the lower salary. Think about flexible working, maybe some working from home – that could be worth the lower salary in the long term. There could be plenty to think about before making your choice.

2. Ensure their office standards will not spoil your career

Dependant on personality traits, the culture within a law firm’s office can ruin or make an employee’s working life. Dress codes, office ambience, stress levels and office banter all need careful consideration, as a laid-back attitude in a highly competitive environment could make the working day miserable. Have a good look at how the business is being run, and whether staff are content, and consider the likely effects. Think about it carefully before signing up.

3. Negotiate the contract terms

All things are subject to negotiation, so before signing the contract, why not try to improve the offer? Maybe the firm cannot afford a higher salary, but there could be an opportunity to increase annual leave allocations or more flexible working arrangements. Consider the matters that are important to make the job first class. Alternatively, just ask for a higher salary, as nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the saying goes.

4. Salaries can reflect competitiveness

Research into salaries will reveal the differences within different types of legal work, dependent upon grade, experience and practice specialisation. Check the salaries payable for the particular job specification and use that as a guide to what should be on offer. Is the employer offering the correct salary for the job?

When your research is complete, it may be that the legal work being offered is not in your desired area of law. Be sure to make the right decision based on careful assessment of the offer.

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