Following are some issues to address before accepting an offer.
- What is the reputation of the employer? Is it known for having high standards regarding its quality of work and ethical decisions?
- What are the specialties and major areas of practice?
- If a private firm, is the firm's financial success tied to many clients or just to a few large ones?
- Will you enjoy working with the members of the legal staff and support staff?
- Does the administration of the office seem to be sound and running smoothly? Are there signs of cliques or dissension?
- What do new attorneys do? How is their work determined and assigned? How do attorneys' responsibilities change over the years?
- When do new attorneys become specialists, if ever? Who decides? How?
- What are the methods of compensation? (salary, bonuses, raises, fringe benefits)
- If a private firm, what emphasis is placed on attorneys bringing in new business to the office? How does this affect compensation? Retention?
- How is performance judged and by whom?
- What is the relationship between younger and older attorneys? Are the channels of communication formal or informal?
- What are the office's attitudes and practices regarding pro bono work, bar association involvement, community service, and government service?
- Does the office have a friendly atmosphere? Is it a place where people laugh and seem to enjoy themselves? Is there a spirit of cooperation among the lawyers or one of harsh competition?
- Is the geographic location a good one for your interests and needs? What are the cultural and recreational opportunities, the sense of community, the quality of the school systems, the affordability of housing?