Q: I am an associate who recently informed my firm that I had just accepted a position at a competing firm. My firm told me they were “devastated” to learn that I was planning to leave. They then offered me more money, “better” work and a “much greater” chance of making partner if I changed my mind and stayed. Should I accept my firm’s counteroffer?

(PART II) In my prior essay (Part I), I discussed why accepting law firm “counteroffers” is virtually always a bad idea. Of course, job changes create uncertainty, and the natural inclination is to stay with the “devil you know.” In fact, that's why firms know they can keep departing attorneys from leaving for a while -- they manipulate this common fear of having to “prove” oneself again in a new firm. I argued that you should resist this emotion and focus on the facts, which demonstrate that counteroffers are a sucker’s ploy.

I explained that the number one reason why you should not accept a counteroffer is that at the moment you reveal you have an offer from another firm, your whole relationship with your firm changes. Regardless of how big of a “star” you were before, you will now forevermore be seen by your firm as a disgruntled and disloyal attorney who now wants to work for a competitor. No matter what the key partners promise or how much they praise you, the real purpose of the counteroffer is to help buy precious time until they can replace you. I compared accepting a counteroffer to “putting down your gun (the other offer) to hug (trust) the bear (current firm).