I am considering leaving my firm, but I was recently asked to be the main associate on a major case. I have worked hard, and I do not want to burn the firm. How should I proceed? Cont. below.

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Are you thinking of going to another firm or just leaving altogether? Because if it’s another firm, the search might take awhile so you can still be on the matter until you have an offer in hand.

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I am interviewing with other firms. I definitely agree with working as diligently as possible and waiting until I (*hopefully*) have another offer in hand.

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IMO, leaving a firm is like ending a relationship. Sure you can be “just friends” after if you end it right, and maybe you’ll get back together one day and/or stay cordial and benefit each other’s lives. But generally speaking, it’s best to end the relationship and notify the other person at once and just move on.

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I agree with associate 1. Accept the project and diligently search. The project completion could give you great interview talking points. You can do it.

likeuplifting

Thanks for the encouragement- much appreciated!

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I also feel like I cannot decline the opportunity without raising a red flag and possibly losing my job. I have been miserable for the last few months, and I need to make a change for my quality of life. Reaching out to a partner to talk about my next steps is not an option without receiving backlash. Thoughts on how to handle this in a professional way without burning this bridge?

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Do a great job and take the client with you to the new firm.

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It’s so much more common these days for an associate to leave mid-project. I work on a massive case and the opposing lead counsel lost their star associate two years into litigation. It happens. Lives and opportunities change. People will choose to react however they want, even if you make your exit the “right” way.

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Do what's best for YOU. Never forget that no matter how great a firm treats its associates, at the end of the day it's a business and they would downsize you if doing so would be better for the firm (e.g., during a recession or downturn). Don't bail without notice, obviously, but don't feel like you owe them more than what's standard (2-4 weeks' notice, depending on where you are career-wise).

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Facts ^

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