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Waiting on a Bonus Before Making a Lateral Move

Should you make the leap to a new opportunity and forego your bonus, or stay put until December? Here are five factors to consider in your decision making.

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Posted On Dec 14, 2023 

Big picture

Always consider the big picture of a potential move. Don’t focus entirely on the immediate future; consider what a move could mean in the long term. You don’t want the anticipated bonus to keep you from exploring a new position that could be more lucrative and fulfilling for years to come.

Know the numbers

What type of bonus is likely on the table? Is the bonus a guarantee or is it speculative? What indication has been given by the partners during reviews or feedback? If the bonus is not a known quantity, is it worth the risk of passing up a great opportunity?

Market conditions

This is still a buyer’s market in many respects, with plenty of attorneys looking for a change. When the market is tight, it sometimes pays to take the right opportunity even if it means sacrificing a bonus. The right fit can be rare so best to snatch it up when it appears.

Signing bonus

Will the hiring firm pay a signing bonus to offset all or part of an attorney leaving before their bonus period? This should always be a talking point with the prospective firm. For the right candidate that fits their timeframe, firms are often willing to offer a signing bonus that covers all or part of what the attorney is leaving behind.


Does the prospective firm offer a more attractive 401K match or additional health insurance benefits? Perhaps the hiring firm offers an attractive cell phone reimbursement plan, provides commuter benefits, gives employees the option to work remotely or have a more flexible schedule. All of these offerings could help offset what the candidate is leaving behind at the current firm.

Take the time to consider these five factors before shutting the door on any opportunities that arise between now and year’s end. When you’re ready to consider new possibilities, start with LHH.