How to Leave Your Law Firm

Posted April 28th, 2023 by Urban Legal Recruitment

Leaving your job as a lawyer is a significant decision. While moving to another role can lead to great things, it is essential to consider several factors before giving notice. Resigning professionally preserves your reputation and fulfills your ethical obligations.

This article highlights how to approach leaving your law firm professionally. Here are some insights to consider when making the decision.

Give Plenty of Notice

The first step in quitting your job is to resign in writing with plenty of notice. While two weeks' notice is the bare minimum, it may vary depending on your employment contract. Notifying your law firm a month or several months in advance is always appreciated. It gives your employer time to make arrangements for your departure.

Consider the impact your resignation will have on your colleagues. Where possible, delegate tasks or cases to colleagues.

Reach out to Clients

Keeping your clients in the loop is a crucial component of quitting your job. You have an ethical obligation to protect your clients' interests, and it is essential to reassure them that they will be in good hands after you leave. You do not need to go overboard in sharing why you are leaving, but you should let them know what is going on.

Be honest and transparent about the next steps. Outline what each client can expect going forward. If there are pending cases or deadlines in the works, ensure your clients know what to expect.

Maintain Confidentiality

Lawyers are bound to their clients and to the legal profession. If you decide to leave your firm, you must fulfill your ethical obligations. Client confidentiality is a top priority. Even after your departure, keep all privileged information protected. You can only share it with those who are authorized to receive it.

When you leave your firm, help maintain confidentiality by transferring confidential information to your successor. In some cases, you may choose to return it to the client.

Safeguard Your Reputation

Giving enough notice is a great place to start if you hope to maintain your positive reputation. Provide a formal notice of withdrawal to the court when necessary. This shows that you are doing your due diligence in handling your clients' cases. In your next role, be proactive in avoiding conflicts of interest.

Leaving your law firm can have an impact on your reputation. Approach the situation with professionalism and tact, and you will be just fine.

Avoid Burning Bridges

Resigning does not mean you should throw your professional relationships to the wayside. Leave on good terms with your employer, and avoid unnecessary conflicts with your colleagues. Resist the urge to badmouth your firm or coworkers to third parties. This is a surefire way to burn bridges and create legal issues.

To foster honesty and trust, be open about why you are leaving. This will help your employer understand your decision.

Understanding is key. Resigning from your current position may seem daunting, but moving on to a new chapter is something to celebrate. Your next position in the legal field will bring great things.

Find Your Next Role in the Legal Field

Considering leaving your current position? Stacy Cowan, founder of Calgary-based Urban Legal Recruitment specializes in matching partners, associates, and in-house legal counsel with the best firms and companies for their needs and qualifications.

Choosing which firm to apply your hard-earned skills is no simple task. It varies from person to person, and the pros and cons of different size firms are somewhat complex. Stacy can help you navigate a range of firms looking for top talent and connect you with your next role. 

Contact Stacy for more information or submit your resume to get started on your search.