in Changing Jobs, Interviews

Job Offers – how to decide

A recent dilemna arose for a solicitor looking to take a fairly senior post in the North of England. He had two offers, as well as an additional firm interested. One firm were very friendly, a reasonable size, good working conditions, excellent career prospects from the outset including possible partnership. Their location was not the most preferable for the candidate, as it was slightly further away than initally sought. The salary offered was good.

The other firm were business like, with the whole operation geared towards running a company – one head, the rest assistants, and all aspects of the company aimed at making money. New premises, advertising and marketing budgets, case management systems, larger size, and able to compete longer term.

Which one to go for?

The advice we gave him is the same to all candidates. Firstly get a pen & paper and write down the good points about each firm. Think of the location, the people, the offices, the position, the career opportunities, the financial package and overall impression. After this write down the negative points about each firm. Follow the same format.

After you have written a plan for each, add up their scores, allowing a point for each positive issue, and deduct a point for each negative one.


A solicitor relocating to part of the UK due to her partner’s work was looking for a firm offering a reasonable salary, easy access to her son’s school, and a fairly short commute of less than 1 hour. A crime solicitor, she was moving to a semi-rural area. We managed to secure her two offers. The first was with a firm based 45 mins away, with a national reputation, good quality work of variety and interest, an offer of support and further training as required, full computerised case management systems, medium size firm, job security, benefits as well as salary, career opportunities and progression encouraged. Salary slightly higher than the second firm. The second offer was within 15 mins drive with a sole practitioner based in poor quality offices in a run down & deprived area. The firm had no systems (computer or case management), very little administrative support, no career opportunities discussed and a salary offered lower than the first firm. The interview lasted for 1 hour with no offer of a drink, but a full and frank apology for the state of the offices. The partner had a good sense of humour and was pleasant, being described by the candidate as “quirky”.

Firm 1

  1. Location – 45 mins to 1 hour commute, not in nice area. 0 point
  2. The people – very friendly and clearly good to work with. 1 point
  3. The offices – nicely fitted out. 1 point
  4. The position – no positive or negative comment. 0 point
  5. Career opportunities – no positive or negative comment. 0 point
  6. Financial package – good with structure. 1 point
  7. Overall impression – good firm, poor location. 0 point

Total Score: 3 points

Firm 2

  1. Location – 10 mins commute – v.good. 1 point
  2. The people – very friendly. 1 point
  3. The offices – absolute mess. 0 point
  4. The position – no positive or negative comment. 0 point
  5. Career opportunities – no positive or negative comment. 0 point
  6. Financial package – good. 1 point
  7. Overall impression – reasonable firm with excellent location. 1 point

Total Score: 4 points

The candidate in this scenario opted for Firm 2, which scored higher despite Firm 1 having better prospects for her career.

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at