• Taking an extended absence from practicing law can have some serious implications for your law career, particularly when searching for a new law firm job.
  • In fact, you may not be welcomed back into the practice of law at all.

Summary: This is a must-read article for any attorney who is considering taking an extended leave of absence from the practice of law. This article discusses how firms view extended leaves, the potential ramifications of such leaves on an attorney's career, and the factors firms will use to evaluate whether to hire you when and if you want to return to the legal profession.

Why You Can Never Stop Practicing Law for More Than a Few Weeks Once You Start

Are you an attorney who daydreams about “taking time off” from the practice of law? Do you think you can go somewhere and “decompress” or “get perspective” or simply “take a break” and then come back when you feel like it? More and more, it is becoming common for lawyers to quit their law jobs—often very good and prestigious law jobs—and do things like become ski instructors, travel through the Far East, start bakeries or write novels.
 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

You may not be alone in your musings, but you might be in for a troubled future—financially and otherwise—if you follow your fancy. It may turn out that you have the adventure of a lifetime or fill a hole in your soul, but the downside is (whether or not these good things happen) in all likelihood you will not be welcomed back into the legal profession with open arms when and if you decide to return. The legal profession does not look kindly upon people who take extended breaks, and I discuss the reasons why in this article. Once you have no longer practiced for a major firm for a few months, your odds of getting back in at a high level are severely diminished.