Raj M. Nichani 2015-01-24 00:02:07
You’ve accepted a job offer at another law firm. Now what do you do? First of all, you should be courteous, and give your current law firm at least two weeks notice. Since the legal world has grown to become increasingly interconnected, there is a chance you may run into previous employers on any given day or even have to work with them (as co-counsel) in some capacity in the future. You want to uphold your reputation as a respectable attorney and never want to burn a bridge, so keep that in mind through the entire process. Even though you are excited to take a new step in your legal career, it’s important to remember these tips when resigning to make sure it goes smoothly and professionally for everyone: What is the best way to give notice? Be discreet with your formal notice to your current employer. You should keep any offers you have accepted quiet to ensure that your boss does not hear of your new job through the grapevine. You should give your notice of leaving to your immediate superior and always in person. You should never give your notice through email or phone unless it is a last resort. From there, you should ask him or her if you should inform others and whom. After that, you should follow-up with a resignation letter if a written statement is required of you by your firm. Setting a start date is very important. You want to balance being fair to your current employer while taking into consideration the new firm’s need. Be sure to assess your current workload to better determine how much time you should allocate to your current law firm to ensure a smooth, easy transition. If you have a case or deal that cannot be passed on to another attorney without interfering with the client’s needs, then you may have to stay at your current job long enough to finish your duties. Your obligations to your client come first. Explain everything to your new employer. If you do have important matters to handle before starting, be sure to inform them as soon as you know. This will help to determine a good start date for both you and the new firm. Your new employer should understand that you want to take the utmost responsibility for your clients and current employer. Give your notice as soon as possible. But not before you have made sure you cleared conflicts and passed all background checks. Preferably soon after you have accepted the position officially is when you want to give notice. However, you should make sure that all conditions of your offer are fulfilled and satisfied between you and your new law firm. How much notice is acceptable? This is an age-old question for attorneys moving firms. The normal two weeks notice does not always work well with attorneys. Sometimes, law partners sign an agreement to give an even longer notice than two weeks. What holds true for attorneys of all levels is that client interest always comes first. No firm wants to leave clients hanging on a limb with open deals and trials looming ahead. Because of this, make sure to check your agreements with the position, especially if you are partner, to make sure you avoid any penalties or forfeitures. Also, just because it says you have to stay 90 days, this is not always the case as long as you work it out with your current employer. What should you say when you give notice? Keep it sweet & simple. Don’t go into a lot of detail about why you’re leaving or provide suggestions or complaints at this time. If you do have constructive criticism, save that for a later date when your employer will probably be more receptive to hearing it. Tell your employer that you have accepted another offer and that you hope they would never suggest for you to rescind an offer. In a resignation letter, you should describe your decision to leave your current law firm in the most positive manner possible. You can also speak of various career goals you plan to pursue, advancements, geographic moves, etc. Never complain in your letter of resignation. Only after your superiors have been notified then you can tell your colleagues about your move. A short email is sufficient. Once again, keep the email positive and upbeat, and express your appreciation for the support, hard work and friendship that everyone has given to you during your time at the firm. Leaving a law firm to move to another is an exciting time for all attorneys. However, don’t forget about the important skills you have learned at your old firm and great acquaintances you have made. Making sure you remember the positive parts of your previous law firm will make leaving much easier for everyone. You never know when you may run into your past employer or co-workers, and you want them to remember you as a hardworking attorney with positive energy. Raj M. Nichani, Esq. is the president of The RMN Agency. For more information, call (678) 842-5855, visit www.thermnagency.com or email raj at raj@ thermnagency.com.
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