Ask a legal recruiter: How to reply when asked why you want to leave your firm

September 26, 2018

Millennials have been coined the gig generation; known for not staying as long in a position or a company as their parents. Now when you are interviewing, whether a millennial or not, you are bound to be asked, in some fashion, “Why do you want to leave your current law firm?” These are tricky waters to navigate because you do not want to talk negatively about your current firm or imply that you are hard to work with but also there is a reason why you are interviewing. So, what should you say?

Here are five tips for answering this tricky question:

  1. Start with why you like your current firm/role – It is obvious that there are reasons why you don’t like your current firm or position but starting on a positive note is a better way to begin your answer. You don’t have to go into detail but point out a few reasons. For example, start with “I had some great experiences in the last year and have learned a lot about ….”
  2. Focus on why you applied for the job – Bring the focus back to what intrigued you about this new opportunity and why you want to be there. The hiring manager wants someone who not only would be a good fit for the firm but also has an awareness and enthusiasm for the role.
  3. Involve industry knowledge – Bring your “A game” to the interview by taking time to research the firm and what makes them stand out in the market. This is what will differentiate you from other applicants and point to the benefits of the position that matter to you and that might be different from your current role.
  4. Keep it short – Wrap up your answer with a brief sentence on how you felt this was a good match and opportunity to explore.
  5. Sit back – You have successfully answered one of the most challenging interview questions. On to the next!

Why does this answer work?

The sequence of answering this question works because it removes an opportunity to bad mouth your current place of work, reiterates you are not a job hopper, and proves you have done your research about the role. This then answers the question in a direct, professional and succinct way.

Let us know if you use this method in your next interview. Good luck!

The Counsel Network is a top Canadian legal recruitment firm specializing in lawyer recruitment. If you are interested in learning more about your career opportunities, reach out to a member of our legal recruitment team in your area.

Check out our Associate Career Resources page for more legal career tips.


Brynne Thurston, Recruitment Associate


Connect with me on LinkedIn