I last wrote about my career situation here. I accepted an offer to return, but it would not be (seriously) burning a bridge if I changed my mind before my start date. (It would be seriously burning a bridge if I started for another term and then bailed.) That said, I'm not exactly advertising the fact that I occasionally look at job postings....
So... I am thinking of applying for a law firm job. A firm has posted an opening for a new entry level associate, and unlike most job postings I've seen, I am qualified. I am hesitant to apply for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their requirement that I provide my references (which I guess would include my boss) up front. I would do it, though, if I were sure it was worthwhile to apply.
What I know: Solid local reputation. Most would consider it a small firm, but with about 18-20 attorneys, I would call mid-sized in my market. My only other firm experience is with a similar sized firm, so while I
understand each firm has its own culture, I at least have some idea of
what its like there. Its office is minutes from my house. I am interested in the practice areas listed in the opening, and what the firm does generally.
Almost all of the lawyers graduated law school in the 1970s, or earlier, making them in their 50s or older. The youngest lawyer, it appears, is exactly my age (based on the year he graduated college), but went to law school right out of college and therefore has been a working attorney for 12 years. I don't think I have any connections there -- no one in my network, as far as I know at this point, knows anyone there who can give me more insight than I got from perusing the website.
What I don't know: A lot. Salary. Billable requirement. Culture. How they'll view the fact that I have three kids, two very very young. Can I generally expect to be home for dinner and put my kids to bed, and work in the evening if necessary?
More importantly, if the answers to those questions are "best case scenario (law firm edition)" am I ready to climb onto the law firm treadmill? Each position I've taken since law school has had an expiration date. And while that has given me no small measure of trepidation, its also been an escape hatch: if I hate this, I'm done in x months. I didn't hate it, but part of that was the "best case scenario" in hours / work-life balance, though the salary was always lacking. And then I went and had two kids, so... ack, I don't know if I am able to take on "full time" employment if full time means 60-80 hours a week and a blackberry tether and never being able to make weekend plans again.
Also, if I decide to apply, do I mention the fact I'm on maternity leave in the cover letter? In the interview?