How Attorneys Can Cope With Losing a Law Firm Job: A Guide to Keeping it Together and Pushing Forward |

How Attorneys Can Cope With Losing a Law Firm Job: A Guide to Keeping it Together and Pushing Forward


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We regularly read and hear that 'jobs for life' are disappearing, to be replaced by a pattern of consecutive jobs and unpredictable career dislocations.
How Attorneys Can Cope With Losing a Law Firm Job: A Guide to Keeping it Together and Pushing Forward
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
We regularly read and hear that “jobs for life” are disappearing, to be replaced by a pattern of consecutive jobs and unpredictable career dislocations. When the time comes to face such a change on a personal level, these statistics take on a whole new meaning.

The emotions one experiences during a change of employment status are entirely normal. Although no two people react exactly the same way, most of us experience a range of emotions that includes shock, denial, anger, worry, depression, resistance, relief, acceptance, and the need to take action.

Fortunately, a change in employment status does not have to lead to a gloomy spiral of events. Your initial feelings of anger, frustration, and despair can and will be overcome and eventually replaced by feelings of acceptance and control.

By thinking positively, taking appropriate action and looking toward the future, this transition can become an opportunity to secure a more satisfying position. Throughout this process, your recruiter can help you take constructive and creative steps towards developing a positive job campaign, and moving to the next step of your career.

Facing the World during Your Job Search

Family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues may already be asking you “What happened with your job?” This is a question you will frequently hear as you begin your job search. It is important to handle this question capably, regardless of who asks it. Therefore, one of the first things you should do is develop a response that is truthful and acceptable to you and prospective employers. When creating your response, you should consider applying the following: (1) keeping it short and factual, (2) be as positive as possible, and (3) put your best foot forward, but remain truthful.
  • Keeping it Short: Generally, the more you try to explain, the more difficult your explanation becomes. You should prepare a short, to the point statement, and be prepared to answer follow-up questions, but only if they are asked.

  • Be as Positive as Possible: Negative statements about your former boss or employing organization will only hurt you. The last think you want to do is burn bridges, or give a prospective employer the impression that you are a disgruntled employee. By keeping your statement as positive as possible, you will only help to advance your candidacy.

  • Put Your Best Foot Forward, But Remain Truthful: There are a number of factors that result in someone leaving. Explain them to your recruiter, he or she will help you determine reasons that are most positive and easiest to explain, while remaining truthful.

What It Takes to Succeed

First, it is important for you to believe that you will succeed in your job search. In order to do this, you should take some time and determine your strengths, and clarify your objectives. The following steps will help you put together an effective plan for your job search, and help you create a strategic plan with your recruiter:
  • Take Stock: You should identify past successes, current strengths, overall work style, and personal preferences.

  • Refine Your Career Objectives: You should be clear, focused, and realistic about your career objectives, based on your past work experience and academic credentials.

  • Work with Your Recruiter to Make a Dynamic Presentation: Your recruiter will help you to draft an effective resume, and review interview skills, so that you may be at your highest level of effectiveness when approaching a potential employer.

  • Work with Your Recruiter to Create a Marketing Strategy: Your recruiter will help create an effective marketing strategy on your behalf, in terms of firm selection, and the type of presentation to be made to these firms.

  • Be Persistent: The job process can be a long and challenging one, but your commitment to the search and implementation of your recruiter’s plan will give you the best chances to ensure a successful outcome.

Job loss can be a very emotionally traumatic experience. In fact, it ranks among the highest of all stress-causing situations. However, rather than looking at a job loss as a horrible thing, you should focus on its positive aspects. Remember, this might be an opportunity for you to find a more rewarding position. Be open to opportunities. You never know what doors this turn of events may open for you.


Click here to contact Harrison

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. He is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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