The Art of Career Cushioning: Future-proofing Your Legal Career

Posted September 21st, 2023 by Urban Legal Recruitment

After a long, challenging day at work, the evolving legal landscape might leave you pondering your next move. Perhaps you've peeked at opportunities in other firms. Intentionally or not, you might be inching closer to a job switch. If so, you're not alone; many professionals today are exploring a strategy termed "career cushioning." While this approach is gaining popularity in many industries—particularly in tech—the legal profession is no stranger to it.

What is Career Cushioning?

Simply put, career cushioning is the act of seeking a new professional opportunity while still employed. It's like having an insurance policy for your career.

Reasons vary. It could be rumors of layoffs, feelings of stagnation, or a shift in career aspirations. For instance, after dedicating many years to demanding hours, you might be seeking a role with a better work-life balance. Career cushioning offers professionals a sense of security in a dynamic work environment.

Why Cushion Your Career?

Miriam Groom, an industrial therapist and career coach cited in a Canadian Business article, links career cushioning to the concept of keeping one's options open. She correlates this trend with the Great Resignation of 2021, when a notable percentage of Canadians transitioned between jobs, driven by factors like inadequate pay, perceived lack of growth, or feelings of undervaluation.

Now, professionals are proactive. Rather than disengaging, they remain committed to their current roles while scouting for better prospects.

Consider cushioning your career if you notice:

  • Burnout
  • A sense of unfulfillment
  • Evolving career objectives
  • Organizational culture clashes
  • Layoff concerns

Factors like a lengthy commute, subpar compensation, or sheer monotony are also catalysts for career cushioning among lawyers.

Job Searching While Employed

Feeling guilt over seeking new opportunities? Don't. It's feasible to explore other roles without neglecting present commitments. Here's how:

Clarify Your Goals: Reflect on your aspirations. Envision the ideal law firm or corporate counsel position you desire.

Refresh Your Resume and LinkedIn: Dedicate time to update both. Highlight your milestones, and network with peers in the legal community.

Stay Updated on Job Listings: Even if you're not immediately ready to transition, monitor vacancies. Understand market shifts and role prerequisites.

Embrace Interviews: Should you be approached for an interview after an application, accept. While your current role remains a priority, it's beneficial to expand your connections.

You might not be able to serve two roles simultaneously, but prioritizing your growth is paramount. For lawyers, career cushioning is a pragmatic approach to achieving this.

Enhance Your Legal Journey Today

Contemplating your next step? As the founder of Calgary's Urban Legal Recruitment, I specialize in aligning partners, associates, and in-house counsel with firms and corporations that best fit their expertise.

Choosing where to channel your legal prowess isn't straightforward; every individual's journey is unique, and weighing the advantages and drawbacks of varying firm sizes can be intricate.

Reach out and let me guide you. I'll introduce you to firms seeking premier talent and aid in your smooth transition between employers.

For further details, please contact me at for more information, or submit your resume to get started on your search. I look forward to hearing from you!