Attorney Goes to Business School After Losing their Job and Wants to Return to a Large Law Firm in New York City |

Attorney Goes to Business School After Losing their Job and Wants to Return to a Large Law Firm in New York City


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It is quite common for attorneys to drop out of the practice of law and go to business school and then decide before the end of their second year of business school that they would prefer to return to the practice of law. This does not happen often, but it is something that I see at least a few times a year. An attorney will leave a large law firm in New York City, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Chicago or another large city in the United States and will attend a prestigious business school. I’ve placed attorneys recently that were graduating from the University of Chicago business school, UCLA business school, Michigan business school, Berkeley business school and Duke.
Attorney Goes to Business School After Losing their Job and Wants to Return to a Large Law Firm in New York City

Attorneys that go to business school most often are corporate attorneys. They go to business school because they are interested in the business side of things and believe that they may enjoy being in business as opposed to being attorneys in a law firm. In the few decades that I’ve been recruiting, attorneys that go to business school almost always realize when they get to the end of their second year that they can make far more money practicing law in a large law firm than they can as consultants and other roles inside of businesses. Moreover, most attorneys have a personality type that makes them more suited to working in legal environments than in corporate environments. Much of the work that students are taught in MBA programs is quantitative in nature, does not involve debate and is a different mindset than most attorneys are used too. Most attorneys go to business school to find they are more comfortable in the legal environment than they would be in the business environment. Moreover, many attorneys that go to business school did not perform well.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

That said, I have had so much success placing business school students that are former big law attorneys that it seems to me that law firms really like the experience. In addition, I think that going to business school is often a growing experience for attorneys because it gives them time to reflect on how they can be better attorneys once they get back into a law firm. In addition, I believe that understanding business is also something that is very good for corporate attorneys and it enables them to be better advocates for businesses and also more effective at generating business when they get out. I think getting a business degree is a good move for attorneys and law firms certainly are often happy to welcome them back.
When this attorney contacted me, they express reservations that a law firm would welcome them back after having left the practice of law. This is something that many business students say once they’ve left law to go to business school. While there is some truth to this, for the most part, I think major law firms will often ignore this. While going to get a degree in philosophy, marketing, English or something similar but certainly be very harmful to someone who wants to return to the practice of law. Meanwhile, receiving an MBA from a prestigious MBA program is a different can of worms. Not only is this a rigorous experience but it is related to the practice of law—especially if someone is a corporate attorney.
When this attorney contacted me they had such little confidence that they could return that it was almost humorous. The attorney was also worried because they had lost their job at their previous firm before going to business school because the law firm did not have a lot of work. I explained to the attorney that no one had to know they lost their job because there was only a three-month gap on their resume of unemployment prior to them starting business school.
I sent the attorney out to several openings in New York City and the attorney ended up getting hired by one of the largest and most prestigious law firms there. The attorney was concerned that the law firm would not like the business school grades but they never asked for a transcript. The attorney was concerned that the law firm would find out that they’d lost a previous job when they were laid off, but no one asked about it. The attorney was concerned that law firms would view their experience of going to business school in a negative light—but it was viewed positively.
While attorneys may often have a difficult time getting work if unemployed and not working in a law firm environment, there are exceptions to this. I’ve placed numerous business school students who are attorneys throughout the years, and this was a perfect example.

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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
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