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Question:

I am a third-year litigation associate in a mid-size law firm and was recently told that I should start looking for a new position. The reason I was given by the partners is that although I am a valued attorney and have done good work, there is not enough work to sustain me at this point. The partners specifically told me that they would help me find a new position, keep me on the firm's website, give me good references, and also suggested that I not tell potential new employers that I was asked to leave. Should I volunteer information regarding the reason for my job search during the interviews or not? I am getting conflicting advice.

Is voluntary disclosure during an interview a good idea?

Answer:

This is perhaps one of the most difficult (and grayest areas) that comes up in attorney job searches. Thus, I'm not surprised at all that you are receiving conflicting advice. Many people feel strongly that you should volunteer this information, while many others feel strongly that you are under no obligation to voluntarily disclose this information. I will explain some of the common arguments on both sides and then provide my personal opinion at the end.

1. Common Arguments Made by Those in Favor of Voluntary Disclosure:

Although you were asked to leave because of a downturn in work, the fact that you were laid off should be considered material information that a potential new firm would certainly want to know when evaluating your candidacy.