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Lateral damage: failed hires cost London dear
I find this kind of view to be unhealthy: "one headhunter I spoke to reckons a third of the candidates they see are being forced to move by their firms, and I reckon the proportion is greater once you add in all those people who feel as if they need to move, perhaps having seen the writing on the wall or having hit a career roadblock."
This attitude prevents people from leaving places where they may be quite content, but where they see better opportunities elsewhere, as anyone who wants to move 'must clearly be defective'. Not all firms are the same, and during my training contract it became very clear that different departments within the same firm can have completely different atmospheres and working environments. To choose to leave one of the nastier departments certainly wouldn't have been a 'failure', and timing and demographics (i.e. how many more senior associates are there than you?) have just as much influence on a person's promotion prospects as their abilities as a lawyer.
This 'promotion' concern doesn't just apply to associates, as some firms hold equity incredibly tightly whilst simultaneously being very reluctant to de-equitise underperforming incumbents.
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