Giving Notice

At this time of year, associates either start to make resolutions to strive for greatness in big law, or, more often, resolve to leave big law the second their year-end bonus appears in their bank account. If you choose the latter course, it’s important to make sure you exit gracefully. By way of example, years ago, a fellow associate walked into my office unannounced and said that he was done with the practice of law and that, in January of the New Year, he would “transition into business”. He did not want to waste time, so he immediately started walking the halls looking for a partner he could deliver the news to.  But it was during this dead week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so he was having trouble finding someone actually in the office. He finally knocked on the door of someone he thought was a partner and stated that he was giving his two week notice effective immediately. Turned out that the recipient of that information was not a partner, but a senior associate, who told him he needed to find someone else to quit to. He continued walking the halls and found a corporate partner he had heard about but had never met before. He knocked on the door and entered the room. The partner was on a call but muted the line.  The associate stated that he was there to put in his notice. The partner said he was shocked the associate would want to leave, but he would let the proper people know and he then quickly returned to the call.  After a year “transitioning into business”, the associate returned to the firm. He wanted his previous office, but it was unavailable.