When a Lawyer Has to Leave a Law Firm: Reputation and Other Issues

As this recent article indicates, lawyers are more than a little nervous about job security today (I take the stats with at least a grain of salt, but the trend is definitely interesting). That’s no surprise in a time of shaky (or worse) economic news.
As Carolyn Elefant notes, there is far less guidance for lawyers on how to leave a job – and to leave it professionally – than there is on how to find a job. Her new article, “Don’t Neglect Your Reputation When Leaving A Firm,” is an excellent addition to the resource list and especially timely in this environment. It also gives me another chance to recommend her book, Solo by Choice.
The money quote from the article:

Last impressions matter as much as first ones. Whether you’re moving on to better pastures or you’ve been forced out, take care to leave your job with your most important asset intact: your reputation.

Carolyn’s post about the article kindly mentions the chapter on leaving a law firm I wrote for the most recent edition of the ABA’s Flying Solo book and reminds me how surprised I was at how well-received that chapter was and the nice comments about it I got after the book was published. At the time, there definitely was a dearth of helpful information on the topic, especially on the issues that can arise even in the normal friendly departure from a firm.
Leaving a firm, especially when it’s not a voluntary decision, but even when it isn’t, is a hectic, confusing and disorienting time. There are a lot of issues that arise in the best of situations. In a down economy where there are layoffs and firms in economic difficulties, these issues can become quite complex and difficult. You have to be prepared to land on your feet. Carolyn’s article will introduce you to the types of questions you need to be asking yourself. Highly recommended.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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