Top 5 Reasons Attorneys Leave Law Firm Jobs Voluntarily |

Top 5 Reasons Attorneys Leave Law Firm Jobs Voluntarily


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Summary: Learn the five most common reasons attorneys choose to leave their law firms and what these choices may mean for their future.
Top 5 Reasons Attorneys Leave Law Firm Jobs Voluntarily


There are many reasons that attorneys leave law firms, just as there are many reasons they choose to stay. The reasons you choose to leave (and how you explain these to other firms) can make it harder or easier to get a position at another firm. Here are the five most common reasons attorneys choose to leave their firm:
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
  1. You left to start a business. This suggests a lack of commitment. If you have done this, the odds of you reentering a major law firm again are extremely limited. You will have an almost impossible time because firms will believe that it is close to certain that you will leave again to do something similar. Running most businesses is far different than working in a law firm. If you left to start a business once, the odds are pretty good that the day-to-day hassle of working in a law firm is not going to appeal to you. Moreover, if you were running a business and now want to return to the practice of law, this suggests you failed. That is not good. Law firms want to hire people who have succeeded and not people who have failed. Also, law firms will wonder why you did not go back to your original law firm.
  2. You had a life event that made you leave. If this is true, why not go back to your original law firm? There is nothing wrong with having a life event, but law firms will want to understand how serious this event was and whether the seriousness of this outweighed your commitment to your law firm and practicing law.
  3. You left because of the commute. This is becoming a more and more common reason for attorneys leaving firms. This also suggests a lack of commitment. Your job is expected to take priority over everything. If you have issues with your commute, what will happen if you firm moves offices, or expects even higher hours out of you?
  4. Hostile work environment. If you are in a hostile work environment (and many attorneys are), then your best bet is to get another position while you still work there (as quickly as possible) and not leave before you get another job lined up. You are expected to handle the environment (within reason).
  5. Hours are too much. This suggests the same lack of commitment. Law firms think that you will leave again due to the hours. There are few “lifestyle” law firms in big law. Most law firms will be concerned that when “the peddle gets to the metal” you will not work hard.

See the following articles for more information:
About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

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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