2022-0727 Why You Can Never Stop Practicing Law for More Than a Few Weeks Once You Start
[00:00:00] All right, so let's start it. I will start the webinar and then after we will take questions after I delivered this part. It's a live webinar. So we'll answer everyone's questions live.
This webinar is, it's actually a pretty important topic, I think in a lot of respects.
And one of the reasons I wrote this article originally, and then also doing this webinar today is, I've had so many experiences with attorneys that have decided to take breaks from the practice of law to stop practicing law to that have gotten fired and all sorts of things.
And and then have these gaps on their resume. And it's not always catastrophic. It depends on the type of firm you're trying to work with. But one of, one of the big problems with having a gap on your resume is it often looks like for a lot of people when they look at that is they think there's a reason you have that gap.
It's either that there's something wrong with you. Meaning, you quit your job. You have psychological problems, drug [00:01:00] problems who knows, or many times that you got fired and you got fired for doing something wrong. And there's really no rating agency for attorneys. One of the problems with that because there's no way other than the bar, is that there can be all sorts of things in people's backgrounds that look bad and if they see that gap, it's just one thing that they're gonna hold against you. And so that can be very problematic. And I bring this up because, I always see very talented people that quit jobs or get fired and then they have these kind of gaps and most of the time, anybody can get a job if you have a gap on your resume. But the problem is you're not gonna be able to get a job in most cases with a firm that's prestigious probably is the one you're coming from, or a more prestigious one, and it will take you longer to get jobs.
And there's definitely a preference for people that are employed when they're hiring attorneys versus unemployed. A lot of people do dream of taking time off. They want to take [00:02:00] breaks. They they may work in a major firm for several years and then wanna take a couple months off.
And it's very common for attorneys at big firms and all size firms, but to quit and do things like become ski instructors, go on extended trips, write novels and, do all sorts of things. And a lot of people do this. And, they do so with the idea that they can go back at any time and that it's not gonna be a problem.
But the truth is, that when you do take time off like that, it can be very bad. And because most of the time, what happens is you either go back to, to the practice of law and it can be very difficult to do or you don't. And a lot of people once you've taken time off make the decision that they don't want to go back, or they just lack the enthusiasm so forth that they may have had when they were practicing.
And that, but the big thing is that the legal profession really is a general rule. Doesn't[00:03:00] look kindly upon people that take extended breaks. And that's what I'm gonna discuss in this webinar. It's not that you can't get hired. It is because it's something that they hold against you.
The firms that receive the most applications and so forth are gonna use that as a negative thing and we'll hire people most of the time that aren't doing that. And your odds, by the way, if you are working at a big firm that gets a lot of applications for each job, are very low.
Once you've taken more than a few months off, it's not necessarily a black mark in a lot of respects, but it's a negative factor. It's trying to apply with something else negative in your background. I dunno, but it's just something that they're gonna hold against you.
So the odds are that people that are currently employed with a big firm are gonna get those jobs or trying to move to a big firm from a smaller firm. So there are major life events that people have, which are things like your spouse may get sick and you may need to help them, or you certainly having a child is [00:04:00] another big one where time off from your current employer is acceptable, not quitting your job.
Same thing with the death of a family member and so forth. But if any of those things happens, meaning you have a child, which obviously half the attorneys are women do. And another half of men do. It's really pretty normal, but you don't quit your job when these things happen. You don't quit your job when someone when someone close to you dies, you take time off.
But you don't quit. And you certainly can come back later. So there's very few justifications, if you're trying to when you have a gap on your resume to try to come back to the practice of law and in a law firm of the same caliber and regardless of whether or not you think it's fair or unfair I'm just delivering this news because I see what happens with thousands of people that do this and that.
And it's not always the gonna be the best choice for you. And and in reality if you leave a very good firm[00:05:00] you can always go and get a job at a many times a lesser firm or in a smaller market. So it's not that these things are hurting you and you may even get a job in another major firm.
If There's reasons. If if the firm doesn't have a lot of applicants or you're in a very niche practice area, but for the most part it's not, it's very difficult now. There are people that, and there are a lot of them that are at the absolute end of the ropes, meaning they're at the end of the rope from a health standpoint they're at their end of the rope from a psychological standpoint.
And they're in a very bad environment and taking a leave may in fact save their life or their marriage, or, and if you're in that situation then you know, then you have to do what's best for you. It's just, all it means is you're probably not gonna get back into a firm of the same caliber or if you quit or you can always take time off and talk to the firm about that, and then look for a job in a [00:06:00] less stressful environment while that's happening.
And and I really. Don't think there's anything wrong with that? I think that a lot of jobs are just not good for certain people. It could be for, it could be working in a law firm, could be the wrong environment for you. It could be working with the type of people you're working with.
It could be your practice here. It could be all sorts. It could be the size market and the stress is there. It could be the commute. There's all sorts of reasons that you could leave. You may wanna leave a job, but just realize that if you do that, it's going to have consequences. And and and you need to understand what you're doing because when you do this it's it can be very harmful.
So I've seen attorneys that have lost jobs and spent months or even over a year, trying to find a new one and not able to get interviews at places of the same caliber. Many times they've come to me after trying for a long time and not understanding what's happening and why no one's interviewing them.
Many times they've been my candidates and have insisted on trying to go to firms with the same [00:07:00] caliber and firms will just, not be interested for the most part, if they have other options, once you've done something like that, because most people that leave a firm and take a break.
Even if they do come back to the same firm, usually end up leaving again. It's just something that's the firms understand cuz they've seen it a lot of times, so here's what I'll, I will talk to you about. I'm gonna talk to you about how firms will look at your candidacy and and and these are the reasons that I think I could be wrong about some of them I'm not certainly right about everything, but a lot of these have to do with what I've observed and what I've talked to firms about.
So a law firm is, when I use the word middle class institution, it's not a pejorative term or something that's meant to be negative. But and, but really there's certain ways that people think about people that work for bosses and so forth think about their jobs.
They lawyers for the most part not all of them, but they they have obligations which are [00:08:00] student loans, maybe mortgages, car payments, and other things. And and they're really pretty much is part of the bargain with society or how things work. They may also support families and and their families may also be dependent on those paychecks and so forth in order to support a lifestyle.
And so most lawyers, not a halt of course, but most, you simply not have the option of not being dependent on their employer. Especially younger ones the student loans, it could exceed 500,000 it's not clear but it's, most lawyers are for the most part leveraged and the longer you practice, the more obligations most people take on.
And and and as you do that that you're expected in order to support those obligations to work. And that's pretty much the situation of most lawyers as you get older, you may have kids and have to support them and pay for the colleges and so forth. So you're really pretty much expected to be on this [00:09:00] kind of treadmill paying off your loans as a start and then getting a house or getting cars and support kids, all that is just how it works.
And that's how it works for most people in most professions, whether you're a doctor or lawyer, an accountant that's how things kind of work and you're expect and how the people you're working with. Think about work and it's not certainly all of them, it's not by any stretch of imagination, but the idea that someone would choose suddenly to stop work with all those obligations and stresses is not something that almost all attorneys, not again, not all attorneys, but the majority of attorneys couldn't imagine at least until they retire or and so forth.
And and if you do have those obligations, they are good from their perspective of the law firm that they're going to make you continue working. They're you're not gonna be dependent on the law firm. You're going to be dependent on the law firm. You're gonna do better work. You're gonna have a family support and everything like that.
It's just, this is [00:10:00] how or yourself or your obligations. This is how law firms are. They want you to buy houses and have families and all those sorts of things, because it's good for them. If you think about it, why would that be good for them? It's good for them because the odds are that you're not gonna walk away from your job and that you're gonna do the best work you can, and you're gonna try hard and every, all, every, all.
Boats and the firm rise. So if someone leaves and if a partner is confronted with someone that has gone off course and has taken extended leave the person looking at the resume isn't going to understand how they could do that. Even a partner making a couple million dollars or more per year, probably couldn't afford to stop work for very long and because they have all sorts of things, go along with that.
So the explanations that they think in their mind are either that there's something wrong with you. I, that you have some problem that you've done this, that that you maybe you don't buy into the model of society and you [00:11:00] must admit, or you must have been fired. You must not be committed, or you must just not be part of these values.
Maybe you're independently wealthy. You don't wanna practice who knows or maybe you're not you're not motivated. This is how they think. And and this is how you would think also if you had been, if you're younger in watching this after just put yourself in the shoes.
So the people reviewing your resume after you've been practiced so long, so most attorneys believe, and this is not again all attorneys, but they believe that that they need to work for others and work very hard for others. And and by doing so they will get value in the eyes of the world.
And and meaning you should be representing your clients. You should be working firm and so forth. And and that's really why if you do leave, you're diminishing that idea with this in the eyes of your peers. And most attorneys honestly do not want to be judged poorly by others for taking time off.
And don't so this is one explanation. It's a class based analysis. [00:12:00] It's not saying that middle class is better or worse than upper class and so forth, but but a lot of people are very uncomfortable with this. And and I've certainly written a lot of articles about this. But but a lot of people do not care what others think about them.
And you typically have upper and lower class people that are less concerned about that than middle class people. It doesn't really, I'm not judging any of this, but but for the most part when you're middle class and working for other people, you're really defined by what others sink you.
And and that includes what kind of neighborhood you live in your cars. Colleges your, how you did in college, your law schools and all this sort of thing. In the legal profession lawyers typically will represent people that are wealthy and have especially at the hub levels or companies that have a lot of money and you're dependent on their good will and so forth.
And lawyers are expected to fall into the parameters of what it expected them. And and so the idea of picking [00:13:00] up and leaving is something that often is not expected of them. And and that's one of the things that should just kinda keep in mind, it's not conducive with the values just as I don't know if you were social media influencer doing certain things wouldn't be considered appropriate to the values of a social media influencer.
It's just whatever your profession is. It doesn't everybody has different things that go along with expectations for the profession and working and being concerned. What others think about you is very common for attorneys because they. They're dependent upon what the clients and others think about them and younger attorneys, what partners and so forth think about them.
So here's why you shouldn't take a hat. So if you're thinking about it, meaning leaving for an extended period of time, without another job lined up or plans to get one. The first thing is future firms will think you got fired. When you, even if you do it voluntarily they're gonna believe this because they believe that very few people would leave without a stable [00:14:00] paycheck and so forth and all these obligations unless they got fired.
Meaning I, I knew one of the funniest things I ever saw not funny, but one of the most impressive things I ever saw was I had hired I in-house counsel and a recommendation of someone this rabbi that I knew. And and he had and I hired this guy and he worked for me for not more than a year and a half, but he lived extremely cheap.
Meaning he, I don't know, he, lived in a room in someone's house and drove an old car and saved every dime he made. And and and then after a year and a half or so of working for me spent the next several years traveling. And and I don't think he ever went back to practicing law, but the point is that, there's nothing wrong with with that doing something like that or living very inexpensively and then leaving the practice of law or paid off your loans and quitting, there's nothing wrong with that.
But the problem is, if you do wanna go back, a lot of times, future firms will believe that you got fired [00:15:00] and and and the resume and their gap they'll believe it's for that because there's no, again, there's no rating agency for attorneys. There's no way for people to know your, how well you did and so forth.
The only thing they have, they can base it on is looking at your employment, stability and your schools and how well you did, and types of firms you worked on. So the, this is how people evaluate your resume. So if they see a big gap many times law firms will think you were fired or asked to leave, and we'll think that you might be problems in the future.
Now, it doesn't matter three years from now or two years from now after you've gotten a job, not really, but it matters for you getting the next job. And and so law firms are business and they have especially large law firms that pay these, massive salaries. They've always had lots of applicants for each job.
They have. Lots of people coming to try to work with them, especially in major cities and where there's a lot of people trying to live. So you just have to put yourself in their situation. [00:16:00] If they're if they're evaluating two resumes one with someone that's unemployed, it's one of someone that's not unemployed.
You can talk about them instead. You say you left because whatever reason, but the point is that if they do see that gap they're gonna have a choice. They can select someone who may have been fired for reasons that they don't understand or they can select someone that hasn't been fired.
Now, what are the risks when you hire someone that's been fired? And I just, I want you to put you in the shoes of a firm for a little bit, and people get fired for stupid things. I saw a girl get fired once from a major law firm. She thought she was doing great. And one day someone just walked into her office and said, we don't think this is a good fit and made a relief.
And she was in the middle of, and that's pretty scary. Now. I haven't heard of that kind of stuff happening really hardly ever. And it rarely happens, but when someone gets fired, typically they're getting fired [00:17:00] because. They're either not doing good work. They're not showing up.
They're lazy. They're they're I they're confrontational. They talk behind people's back and they undermine people that they're working with. They're negative they're they cop corner, who knows, but again, there's all sorts of problems that, that people that get fired are reasons people are get fired.
And these aren't obvious things. These are things that you would only discover once you've had the person working for you for a long time, they may over bill and write down fake hours. They may, you just never know. And so that's the problem from the employer. The employer doesn't have time to investigate the hundreds of reasons that you may have been fired.
And they cuz they're only going to really realize that once they start once they once they start working with you, I've seen some just crazy stuff in my career of people that weren't even weren't even fired. I saw one guy that was had been an engineer in a [00:18:00] major company, since he was out of college.
Then he had stayed an engineer there and gone to law school. While he was an engineer there, then he had been working in a major Silicon valley firm as a attorney. For three years and had told the firm that he needed to take Tuesdays and Thursdays off to take his wife to the doctor every week.
But in reality he was going into this engineering job and collecting two salaries. I've seen some bizarre stuff. So the point of this is that I think you've been doing it for years and getting away with it and probably overbilling the firm's clients and so forth. So law firms really don't know if you've been fired and the reasons why, but just, if you look around you, there's all sorts of people that may have all sorts of issues that you're working with.
And they may not be the good, a good fit now. Sometimes a personality conflict. Isn't a reason for a firm to get [00:19:00] fired for doesn't make someone a bad attorney. If they really dislike someone they're working with, there's, some people they're working with it, doesn't just means they're in the wrong environment.
But if people get fired from a lot of firms, it's because of very bad reasons. There, there are people that have serious drug problems that are substance abuse problems that, that will only surface once they've been at the firm for a couple months there's all sorts of people and those people just move around between employers and you have to be very careful and and that's how firms are.
And so they're just trying to protect themselves. The other thing is many times if you leave a firm like the future firms will think you might have had psychological issues. So if they really do believe that you left on your own they may be thinking that maybe something will happen with you in the future.
And and that's not that you'll have some sort of psychological issue there. And that happens to a lot of people. Sometimes there are some people that have. Lots of [00:20:00] issues and it's nothing to but it's nothing serious. For sometimes, but sometimes it is very serious.
And so law firms may think that you left because of that. And and they want that won't necessarily come up. When when law firms interviewed, I saw, I saw one girl that I. Anyway there's lots of people that have problems and it's nothing wrong with that.
But if you suddenly will leave a firm, they, this is what they're gonna question. And then, but the big thing, I think, more than anything is people are pretty, some people are very good judges of characters, so they can interview you and you can tell them I left because I wanted to do such and I wasn't happy.
And I wanted, and they will maybe not think you got fired to have psychological issues, but what they will think is that your law job is not your focus and it's not your whole consumer focus. And in order for the most competitive firms to operate, they need people there that think like that.
They need the most competitive [00:21:00] people. Now that's not to say that there's not firms that will hire you, but if you wanna work at a high level in these firms that's what you need to think about. Lawyers by their nature are, especially in the largest firms are competitive. They're trying to go to the best schools.
Then when they get there, they're trying to get the best grades and they're trying to get the best jobs and the most honors. And then when they get the jobs, they're trying to go the most hours and get the back, get the best assignments and. And they want to get better clients and get a bigger share of partnership profits.
And that's just the way it works. It's how the business works and if you don't play and either you play that game or you don't, but law firms really do expect you to play that game. And and that's how that benefits them. It's I'm not saying the game's right. I'm not saying that you have to play that game.
I'm not saying that the decision to go camping for six years, which people do. Again, I knew someone that did is not a good decision because it's why not live your life and do things like that. That's perfectly acceptable. But if you want [00:22:00] to do well in a law firm and you wanna get hired by a law firm, they do need to believe that you buy into this whole game for the most part, otherwise it doesn't benefit them.
I talk about this every week, but a lot of times there are people that are very smart that. Go to, the best law schools and do things like get appellate clerkships and Supreme court clerkships and all sorts of things. And and think this is just a bunch of crap and they become teachers and they may, who knows there are law professors or go into politics.
And so there's nothing wrong with not liking this stuff. And some of the most successful people in the world are not into this. They may want to even become president or something who knows or do something else, but but in order to work in a law firm, this is really these sorts of things are what people do.
And especially in the most competitive, it's just the at atmosphere. In order to thrive in these kind of environments, lawyers need to really you need to care about your reputation and and [00:23:00] how you your competitors and all that. Because once you drop out of the race, it just shows the firm that the person doesn't really care about winning anymore.
And and this lack of competitive edge is really considered a detriment to law firms. They either think you're dropping out because you don't have the stamina or the drive or whatever, but but the law firms need to be able to use your your interest, your competitiveness to their advantage.
Why do you think the partners in a lot. Major law firms work more hours than the associates and they have more responsibilities. They have to bring in clients, they have to do, and they're continually competing and it's probably more competitive to be a partner in any major law firm than it is to be an associate.
So it's just the, you have to buy into this game to be good at it, and it's just how it works. And and if you decide to step out of this competition then the message you send is not your number one priority, or this isn't where you get your strength. And again, there's nothing wrong with this.
Like certain people like do not it's [00:24:00] not important to them to work on the biggest matters or to build the most hour, to be, get the highest titles or to do any of this. None of that's important to them and that's okay. But if you send signals that's not important and why would an environment where that's important really want you and so you have to put yourself in the shoes of the employer.
Would you if you had a, if you owned a big company would you want. Or you ha had someone representing you, would you want someone whose focus was not on being the best they could be as a attorney, if you had a serious medical problem, would you want a doctor that has just taken three years off and is coming back and doesn't care about it?
Just think about your position if you were hiring you and that's always a good way to think about it. Law firms will always talk about things like that. They're collegial or they're they have reduced hours or the quality of life there's better. But the reality is if the firm is gonna stay in business for any period of time [00:25:00] and get good clients and good people are gonna hire it, they're gonna hire people that wanna win that are very good at their their their jobs.
And and that's just really what will, what you need. It's funny. Like I I hired this law firm once. I'm not gonna say where it was. It was a small law firm in a Southern state. And it was about six or seven attorneys. And maybe a few more than that, but I think maybe six or seven, and it was all the attorneys had these just incredible academics, meaning they had, If they had gone to duke, they were ordered the co and had, done all this stuff, but they were, I was like, why are these six guys practicing together.
And then, and and they were referred to me cuz they were supposed to be good attorneys and inexpensive in the market they were in. And and these guys were, some of the least hungry least aggressive people you can imagine. And they and there were some women attorneys there too, but they just didn't have the, they didn't care.
And so that, and that's probably why they were all practicing together and [00:26:00] in such a small firm and, in the couple years they were working with me, their names changed a couple times and then eventually they were gone. The point is that. That mentality of wanting people to win is what makes a good firm.
And it makes, people that are competing with each other and so forth is necessary. In most cases to have a good firm. It's not to say that there aren't firms where it's collegial and you can, but think about it from the standpoint of a client's gonna wanna have the better the client that they're gonna wanna have attorneys that are hungry and you would too, you would wanna have a doctor who wants to do well.
You would wanna, and anybody would. So other thing is fruitier firms will think your skills that are curated. The legal mind, I think that there's truth and to this, but not completely, but the if you're not constantly utilizing your skills and challenging yourself you're going to have problems in the long run.
And and there's a thing about a lot of times when people leave the practice of law and try to come back, they hardly ever stay very long. The longer [00:27:00] they've been gone, the least amount of time they stay when they come back. There's a thing about airline pilots.
Like there, there's this famous story of, this pilot that landed on the Hudson river or something when his engines failure took off, I don't know. It's not too long ago and he never flew again. And the same thing with pilots, like they take too much time off, they stopped flying. And and so the point is that a lot of times when people leave, if you leave, people will think your skills are deteriorated.
It's typically you're the longer you practice law, you should be getting better and better at it. And the longer away it away from it the longer, the less you should be the less good you'll be at it. And the point is that if you've taken a lot of time off and and while you were taking time off, you weren't really interested in what you were doing in your practice here and so forth.
And you have to think about why would a law firm be that interested in you. It's just kinda what to think about. And again, I'm just giving you the negatives. And certainly there, there are things we can talk about in terms of how to market yourself, if you have taken time off or what to think about.
So one [00:28:00] of the first ones is if you have taken a leave of absence from the practice of law the law firm is going to wonder why. And and there's a lot of reasons that are acceptable for leaving which are things are beyond your control which are again death in the family something very serious happens, serious health issues all sorts of things but things that can give the firm the idea that you weren't fired that you're completely of sound mind and you're committed and your skills are fresh and up to date.
Health problem is one you can say I got this horrible health condition and and that can be one. You can say that someone in your family had a serious problem and you had to help them. You could say all sorts of things. Now think about it from the employer's standpoint.
This is just a point I wanna make to you is that if you end up taking time off because someone got sick will you do that the next time? If you take time off, because you had to move with a spouse to [00:29:00] another area of the country, what if that spouse leaves again, then you're gonna leave, to, to the next employer whose career is more important.
These are the kind of questions that law firms ask and that they're thinking if you got sick, That's fine, but they're gonna ask, I wonder, hope this person doesn't get sick again. So they're just you have to remember that the law firm, you have to play devil's advocate with all these reasons.
And a lot of times the law firms will be very understanding of the reasons that you left. Going into politics is a good one, many times. They'll they like that'll help them because they'll have a politician or someone with that experience. If they think that you one of your children was very sick and needed you at home, of course, they're gonna look at that positively, but they're gonna also hope that doesn't interfere with your job in the future.
The other one is they're gonna ask, is, are you likely to be stable? So the leaving the big thing about when a law firm looks at your resume, is there, a lot of them are asking, this is very common. They're asking[00:30:00] if you can do the job, but they're also asking, will you do the job long term?
And this is how you would hire too. So if you were looking for someone to. I'm just thinking yeah. To work for you and you didn't wanna have to keep hiring people over and over again, you would look for someone that had some demonstrated stability on their resume. So maybe you worked at your employer for three or four years before something happened.
That's good. Maybe, and maybe the employer before that you worked out for 10 years, law firms love when they see stability, because that means they're likely to see that stability in the future. So if you work for someplace for seven or eight years, and then you take some time off and want to come back you have a lot of street credit at that point and that's really good.
And law firms are gonna potentially be very interested in you. And if that's the reason and if that makes sense. So you can convince people that a hiatus is likely to be was with a one time thing. But if you show you've never changed jobs [00:31:00] and have a lot of stability is very important to all employers.
If you showing that you're likely to be stable that that you can, I dunno that you wanna talk about it, but you can say I have kids and I'm married and all these sorts of things and or all I'm part of these professional organizations and I'm doing all this that will connote stability as well.
So anything that shows stability is important, if the firm thinks you're gonna be stable in the future you're gonna get a chance. Really what we're talking about when we talk about stability is the law firms having predictability. So the law firms wanna be able to put you on cases or matters with clients and have the clients have stability.
Have you become an expert in your field and get better and have your work become more and more efficient, which gives them a competitive edge. And then they don't want to have to go through the expense and of interviewing people, they don't want drama. They want people that are gonna where they're at and all that sort of thing.
So that's. How the employer thinks, and that's just how you would think too. The other thing that they're asking [00:32:00] about is what kind of experience you have. So they, sometimes people have very unique experience and and they're, if there's not a lot of people like you, then that's really good.
You may have very specialized skills that are very rare in the market, or you may be moving to a market where there's not a lot of people like you, and that can help you too. So people will always evaluate your resume. And in terms of what their needs are. Now, they have all sorts of games are gonna play.
If they don't think you're gonna be stable. What they'll typically do is they'll hire you as a staff attorney or a contract attorney or something until they believe that you're gonna stick around. And many times when you see contract attorneys and staff attorneys working in big firms with the qualifications to work there, that's basically just like a mark saying, we don't think this person's stable.
I knew a guy that was He couldn't believe it. He he was working at a major firm in Washington, DC, ma he graduated, I think from it doesn't matter, but a top 10 law school. And he was, and then he decided to leave [00:33:00] there and go in house. He went in house and when he lost his in-house job, which most people do without a lot of experience.
But in-house jobs are very difficult to hold onto for not everyone, but for a lot of people depending on the in-house job because management of in-house companies changes and when it changes, they typically will replace the legal department. But not always, but, and a lot of places, but, and companies also go out of business all the time.
There's all sorts of reasons that in house departments are risky, but he went in house after a couple years, working in a major Washington DC firm. And the only job he could get this is, was working as a contract attorney for a small, a mid-size law firm in Ohio, where he had better qualifications than everyone.
But that was the only job he could get. And they called him a contract attorney. And the reason was because that was the only job was because no one believed he would stick around cuz he'd already shown you went in house after two years. So why would you hire someone to make them an associate when they're probably just gonna leave again?[00:34:00]
And sure enough he was looking the second, he, within very short time getting there. So if an attorney has taken a what happened here? Let see here. Gimme one second. I why? We should get some help. Why this went out one second. I lost my PowerPoint. Gimme one second. Fix it.
I apologize for that. Let me get to the slide I was at. Gimme one second here. Let, just fix this.
One second, sorry about that. This is part of the problem with not being a professional broadcaster,
almost done this webinar,
Okay. So yeah, the reasons for the Hiat us. And then we talked about that stability in the next position, and then yeah,
talked about the type of experience. One thing I would say while I'm going through all this is these lessons like this lesson today, such an important one. Like I think cuz I cause, and it's smart for you [00:35:00] watching if you're, watching this because a lot of people make these mistakes and they, when they make them they make them like in an uneducated fashion and and knowing the way to make these mistakes or.
Knowing, what can do you can do to can, can really be major help to your career. A lot of times academic credentials many times can help pave the way to, to a job offer. If you've taken a break, if you have extremely good academic qualifications and other pluses such as having very good experience in an in good practice area or good firm.
So firms may to some extent look the other way if you do have very good educational qualifications, but honestly there's reasons that they'll do that. And there's and I'll talk a little bit about it. If you if the if you go to a very good law school, like a, top very top law school, much better than all the people you're working with, that looks really good on [00:36:00] paper.
Harvard is an example. Then the law firm can say, our person in this department actually went to Harvard law school. We have these great people especially if it's in the smaller market, they could, I've seen law firms that do nothing. Or, small law firms market, the fact that one of their attorneys went to this top law school in this department.
So that, and that can be very helpful people. The public doesn't know about things like commitment and that just because someone went to Harvard doesn't mean they're necessarily gonna be a good attorney. They don't and then we'll buy that so it can help. So law firms, a lot of times can market your record.
They can market the fact that someone was a politician and had some political experience as a way to get clients. It's just so they can always use your background many times and if the firm thinks they can market your background and use it something, it can also help the morale of a firm if they hire really good people.
But again, if the firm if someone comes into a small firm that went to Stanford law school [00:37:00] and and proceeds to stay there for less than a year by and talks about how much more money they made in their other jobs, how these clients are crap, how, and then that's not really good for the firm and the firm's making a bad decision.
Now firms do this all the time, hire people, they shouldn't, but that's typically the kind of stuff that happens. Not always but a lot of times. And a lot of times the attorneys that do take these long breaks from the practice, a law. And try to come back to the best firms often are the people the best qualifications.
And I think that gives them the impression and the belief that that's the most important thing for them is how strong their academic qualifications are. And the thing to think about, and with your academic qualifications and with your firm qualifications, are that's one aspect of what people are hiring you to do, but but the drive and the commitment is another aspect.
And so in the, and the interest in the subject matter interest in the working in a law firm, [00:38:00] those are all very important things as well. So just put yourself again. I hate to keep saying this, but in the firm shoes, if you had the choice of hiring a I don't know who would be an example of someone you might hire To work for you, a babysitter and one babysitter had I don't know, worked at gone to some fancy school in France where they learned how to be a really good nanny or whatever.
But thought the work was stupid and not, wasn't really committed. And then someone else who was very committed while you would probably be more inclined to hire the person that's committed but may not have gone to this fancy F nanny's goal. So that's how employers think. So they want people that are committed.
And so the idea that you would be interested in that a law firm would just be interested in you because of where you went to law school is really wrong. It's not, it has it's, it has nothing to, it's not the most important thing it's important for getting in the door and showing that you're have the ability to you were motivated in the past, but[00:39:00] it's nothing is more common by the way than someone that went to your Harvards or your.
All these great schools like years ago and just leads with Harvard educated attorney on their resume when they're in their seventies. It's just, it's not your motivation, your commitment, and so forth is really where a lot of the results come. And one thing the employers are working for and looking for, and and firms our businesses and they they do wanna hire people that make them look good on paper, but they don't wanna do so if the price is too great.
So if the cost of hiring an attorney looks good on paper is hiring someone that's flaky. They won't do the work that takes it's stupid. That's gonna undermine all their employees. That's going to leave that's, gonna cost some money to train and get up to speed, and it's gonna make them look bad to their clients when they leave.
That's a pretty high cost to pay. So just think about it and they can tell the source. They can't actually, they can't tell it most of 'em, but they, they get a sense that of it when they interview you and so forth. Academic success is a good thing. I certainly always [00:40:00] thought it was the most important thing when I was young and and it's good, but but really a lot of what comes down to is your commitments and your intelligence with the work, you're doing your ability to make a decisions and all sorts of things.
And it's important. This is a pretty short webinar and I hope I made the points some helpful points but again, there's a lot of reasons to take a leave from the practice of law that can be considered legitimate. But you have to be very careful about ever quitting a legal job and think through it very carefully because it really what's going to happen is in most cases it's gonna be very hard once you're unemployed with any firm to get a new job, you're always better off getting a job while you're employed with your existing farm.
It's much easier. You're much more in demand when you're currently employed, you're much more. Likely to be hired when you're currently employed you're and and if you do need to leave for [00:41:00] psychological or whatever reasons or stress reasons, I would, the best thing you can do many times is take time off and then look for a job or allow the firm to keep you on their site and use your voicemail and so forth.
The longer you can do that, the better, but if you do leave and a lot of people do then, think through the reasons on your resume and that, that you're giving for doing that. One other thing that I would add, and I think this is just, I'm adding this for you because you may be in this situation right now.
I think a lot of people are is, leaving firms is really, it's not always just the law firm, environ law firm. You're in. Many times it's the market you're in or the and it's not just a law firm, many times, it's the market that you're in. It can be the the types of people you're working with and the culture of your firm.
It can be the geographic location of the firm. It can be all sorts of things. And and that can really impact your happiness practicing law. When you work many times in larger markets, the largest [00:42:00] markets, especially as a young attorney, you can be very far removed from the clients and feeling like you have any control over your career, because it's impossible to make partner, and you're not talking to clients.
And that can be a very alienating experience. It may pay a lot, but it can many times not be something that you enjoy working in smaller markets. You may have more client contact, you may have more control over the matters you're working on. You may know with reasonable particularity, if you do well, the good things are gonna happen.
You may have more predictable hours, and then there's different. There's different types of cultures. So the first firm I worked in people were walking around in shorts and sandals and t-shirts, and sitting on bean bags, talking about legal matters. And then the next one I worked in people were.
Calling each other, Mr. And miss putting that on the door and then dressing up in, three piece suits and stuff, and for work and bow ties and all that. So it's just, and being very formal and uptight. And one environment for me was preferable the other. So people can work in [00:43:00] different environments and feel comfortable in different places.
People can work in different markets and feel comfortable in different places. So a lot of times when you're thinking of leaving the practice, the law, what you've done is you've, you're just looking at the wrong firms to work in or the wrong markets. And you're working with the wrong types of people and that's not that's not satisfying to you, and that's nothing wrong with that.
I know some attorneys, oh, I know that one guy that was he was ATCA. And then he was there for several years and then he left and started a personal injury firm and it's and he basically bought the name to a preexisting well-advertised personal injury firm and called himself that and became extremely successful.
And he was in a business networking group and that and really likes it. This he doesn't consider what he's doing. It's more about, the, most of what they do is subtle cases. They don't even try cases. It's not about the. Writing and it's a different form of practice of law.
And I know lots of people that have done other things so many times when you're unhappy you may be in [00:44:00] the wrong practice area. You may be in the wrong type of firm. You may be doing the wrong type of work. You may be it's just depends. And so you have to your happiness many times will come from the group of people you're working with.
It'll also come from your practice here. It'll come from the location the way it is practicing there it'll become, come from all sorts of things. Cause there are locations around the country where I personally wouldn't wanna work. There's firms of different sizes, Rob. We don't wanna work and all sorts of things.
So you need to do what you're comfortable with, I guess is my point. And and if you're not comfortable with what you're doing many times, it's not a question of you need to leave. It's that you need to think about the different options and come do things that come to this webinar and get exposed to these sorts of ideas because this will ultimately help you make the right decisions.
And I'm just telling you from. My experience what's what, what works for people. And and and so you just, you really wanna do that because everyone [00:45:00] honestly should be happy and doing whatever job they're doing. And and many times you're unhappiness is because you're in just the you're working in the wrong type of firm, maybe you're in the wrong practice setting.
It's another one. Your practice setting is very important. And and in the wrong size firm in the wrong market and so forth. So I hope that helps I'll take a break for just like one or two minutes. And then I'll answer as many questions as people have about this webinar or just anything in particular with your career.
All these questions are anonymous.
So if you used your name and you logged in, I'll just cut and paste the question and you can and ask whatever you want.
I won't show your name, other people. And yeah, we'll go from there. Thanks.