How do you start the conversation when giving notice? My practice group leader and I are in different offices and she’s rarely in so I plan on giving notice by phone. Im anticipating a negative reaction (I’ll be the 6th associate since March). Any advice is appreciated!

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This was me yesterday and I just went for it. “Hi, how are you?…good, me too. Is this a good time? Called to let you know that I am giving notice of my resignation…[I called all 3 of my managing partners and the response here was different for each]. Please know that I truly appreciate the time I’ve spent working with you all and this was not an easy decision to make but I believe it’s right for me…”


I emailed my practice leader and asked him if he had time to talk. After initial pleasantries, I let him know that I was resigning. He's the primary partner I work with (after half of the partners from our group left) so I also let him know that I enjoyed working with him and hoped that we stayed in touch. No one is back in the office yet so in person wasn't an option.

My last day is this Friday. After the initial anxiety, it was quite liberating to have that conversation over.


I’m of the mindset I may meet these people again in my career so I move from that place and always try to be respectful while maintaining professionalism regardless of how they may react. I would set up a video call, if you can, and say “I’ve loved working here at X firm for the past Y years, but I wanted to let you know I’m tendering my resignation.” Some firms may require you to pack up and go immediately so be prepared for that from a financial and work standpoint. Other firms may give you two weeks. It will largely depend where you’re headed. If to a competitor firm, they may say goodbye same day. If you’re heading in-house, to the gov’t or to work for a judge, they’re more likely to give you the time. In any case, be direct, firm, but kind and professional in your approach to the convo. G’luck!


Ditto what everyone else said - ripping off the bandaid is the way to go. Also, 6th associate since March? Why are so many people leaving?


I think everyone’s individual reasons are different (some went in-house, others to bigger firms). In general though, it’s the lack of focus / care being placed on retention and the absence of strong leadership. There’s no mentoring, training, development; high performers aren’t awarded well with compensation; a lot of nonbillable expectations; absence of intentional staffing; unequal work distribution (a handful of associates billing over 200 with others billing in double digits). I’ve raised my specific concerns and they’ve been downplayed or largely ignored them


I contacted HR first, then the department chairs, and then my supervising partners.

HR and the chairs were emails. The supervising partners I called.


Our “HR” group includes not only the traditional HR roles, but also several lawyers managing the “lawyer” HR, including the Firm COO. There weren’t any policies in place for who should be notified first, so I asked for guidance on how I should handle from there.

I also didn’t know if they would walk me out the door immediately or let me finish my two weeks, hence why the order.


I had to give notice by phone for reasons I won’t get into and I found it best to just rip off the bandaid. “I’m leaving the firm effective X date. I appreciate all that I’ve learned here but I’ve decided to move on to a new opportunity. I will do everything I can to assist with the transition.”


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