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Career Advice for Law Firm Attorneys

By Harrison Barnes

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By Harrison Barnes, Managing Director

  • Why do some attorneys decide to quit their law firm instead of taking some time off to recharge themselves?
  • This is because, according to some attorneys, law firms frown on their attorneys taking large chunks of time off for anything other than a life-changing event.
  • This is also true for attorneys who take a hiatus from their entire law practice.
  • If you do this, you might find it difficult to get another law firm job.

It is becoming increasingly common for attorneys desiring more than a few weeks off from the practice of law to simply quit their current jobs and take a hiatus from practicing law. Unlike some other professions, most law firms do not look favorably upon attorneys' taking more than a few weeks off unless they are involved in "a major life event." In the calculus of most law firms, a "major life event" is primarily limited to such circumstances as the death of a close family member (usually a spouse), a life-threatening illness, or the birth of a child (only if you are a woman). Accordingly, practicing attorneys without such explanations often simply quit, explaining to flabbergasted partners that they want to take some time off for travel or reflection--they need a hiatus from practicing law. The logic most attorneys follow in quitting is that if they take significant time off from their current firm under any guise other than one of these life-changing events, they will harm their chances for advancement in their current firm's eyes, and therefore, they need to quit completely and find a new law firm once they are ready to return to legal practice. Given the way that law firm politics generally work, that logic is pretty accurate. READ MORE >

Article type: Harrison's Perspectives

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You Do Not Need to Escape to Get the Life You Want
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In this article Harrison discusses how happiness comes from within and not from objects outside of yourself. Each and every one of us is seeking something. The worst sensation is to strive for something and, upon achieving it, to discover that it is empty for us. We all want the superficial outcomes. However what happens is that in seeking these things our brain tries to convince our subconscious that the trivial stu...Read more >

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