Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

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Anonymous User
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Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:34 pm

I accepted the offer from the consulting firm I was a summer associate at this summer, but now I am having second thoughts. I would rather find a law firm (even a small one) to work at. I know it's frowned upon to back out of an accepted offer, but this is my question: people discreetly look for new jobs all the time, so what is the difference between backing out of an offer v. staying there for a year and then finding a new job? It seems that the latter is much more socially acceptable. But what is the essential difference between those two?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

gulcregret
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby gulcregret » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:52 pm

Why are you having second thoughts? Consulting is so different than law firm work. How did you go through a summer, knowing what kind of work you would be doing, and then accept an offer knowing that you would rather do something else? I guess you were just being conservative accepting a job to make sure you weren't jobless, so I can understand that.

Your priorities should be your first concern. This is your first career move and it should mean a great deal to you and will shape your future. You will have a difficult time getting into any law related job if you consult for a few years or even a few months, probably. I think it is bad form to accept and back out, but in my opinion, I would get out as soon as you can. Your wasting everyone's time if you stay there.

Good luck with this difficult decision.

ResIpsa21
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby ResIpsa21 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:03 pm

EDIT: I'm wrong... see TLS's shellacking of this post below.

The difference is that, when you have worked at a place for a while and THEN started looking for another job, you have done exactly as you promised, and though your employer may be disappointed, they cannot expect you to stay with them if you don't want to.

Backing out of an offer is COMPLETELY different. You have made a promise to do something and then you have quite literally broken that promise. This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar. As lawyers, we are bound by our word, and breaking a promise is not only unethical, it goes against the foundations of our profession.

Not to be a nonconstructive jerk, but you should have thought about this before accepting the offer.
Last edited by ResIpsa21 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

crazyblink653
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby crazyblink653 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:11 pm

i think reslpsa21 made some good points, but i don't know if your hands are that tied..i might go to the employer whose offer you accepted and explain the situation to them. just be honest about how you really liked your time working there, and would be happy to continue doing so in the future, but that after further reflection you actually think it might not be the best path for you at this point in your career. apologize profusely and ask them nicely if they would consider letting you off the hook. they might be a little pissed, but they'll probably let you go, since they don't want someone working for them who doesn't want to be there and might split at the first opportunity. if you handle it tactfully you might even be able to leave on good terms.

ResIpsa21
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby ResIpsa21 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:22 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:i think reslpsa21 made some good points, but i don't know if your hands are that tied..i might go to the employer whose offer you accepted and explain the situation to them. just be honest about how you really liked your time working there, and would be happy to continue doing so in the future, but that after further reflection you actually think it might not be the best path for you at this point in your career. apologize profusely and ask them nicely if they would consider letting you off the hook. they might be a little pissed, but they'll probably let you go, since they don't want someone working for them who doesn't want to be there and might split at the first opportunity. if you handle it tactfully you might even be able to leave on good terms.


Totally agree.

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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:28 pm

ResIpsa21 wrote:The difference is that, when you have worked at a place for a while and THEN started looking for another job, you have done exactly as you promised, and though your employer may be disappointed, they cannot expect you to stay with them if you don't want to.

Backing out of an offer is COMPLETELY different. You have made a promise to do something and then you have quite literally broken that promise. This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar. As lawyers, we are bound by our word, and breaking a promise is not only unethical, it goes against the foundations of our profession.

Not to be a nonconstructive jerk, but you should have thought about this before accepting the offer.

Well he didn't. That should not mean a life sentence doing something he clearly no longer wants to do.

The idea that this person should stick to something he no longer finds fulfilling, with huge, career-long consequences, because of a "promise," is silly in the extreme. As he sits at his desk miserable for years, is he supposed to find solace in that fact that at least he is a man of his word?

OP, it's YOUR life. Do what is best for you. Between sacrificing my rerelationship with this consulting place, and years of an unsatisfying career, the choice is ridiculously easy.

Also, it's an employers market, and it is infinitely easier for them to find a replacement than for you to find a job you like.

Last, that consulting place would get rid of you in a heartbeat if it was no longer in their interest to hire you.

ResIpsa21
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby ResIpsa21 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP, it's YOUR life. Do what is best for you. Between sacrificing my rerelationship with this consulting place, and years of an unsatisfying career, the choice is ridiculously easy.


I am not saying OP has no choice but to work for this consulting firm (and I don't know where "years" came into play). I just believe that it is selfish and violative of the ethos of our profession to accept an offer and then back out the moment you see greener pastures.

Sure, the consulting firm will probably be fine, and may not care at all that OP is backing out. They may even find a replacement within days. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's a very serious ethical difference between leaving a firm after working there for a while and breaking a promise by backing out of a commitment to accept an offer of employment.

schooner
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby schooner » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:50 pm

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Last edited by schooner on Sun May 03, 2015 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:51 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:i think reslpsa21 made some good points, but i don't know if your hands are that tied..i might go to the employer whose offer you accepted and explain the situation to them. just be honest about how you really liked your time working there, and would be happy to continue doing so in the future, but that after further reflection you actually think it might not be the best path for you at this point in your career. apologize profusely and ask them nicely if they would consider letting you off the hook. they might be a little pissed, but they'll probably let you go, since they don't want someone working for them who doesn't want to be there and might split at the first opportunity. if you handle it tactfully you might even be able to leave on good terms.


+1.

I know someone who did this in reverse (renenged on a law firm offer for business), and nothing bad happened. I agree you should have thought of this before hand and it's very bad form, but it's not like you're totally screwed.

If you do end up reneging, approach it maturely - as awkward as it is, call them up and explain. They're unlikely to bind you if they know you would be unhappy working there.

schooner
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby schooner » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:55 pm

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Last edited by schooner on Sun May 03, 2015 12:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby IzziesGal » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:56 pm

If you have no desire to do consulting work, you shouldn't have to stay there. This isn't the same as someone backing out of one firm gig only to go to another firm. You no longer want to stay in this line of work - that is *completely* different, IMO. As someone else stated, approach it maturely. Call them and explain that while you are thrilled you had an offer and really enjoyed your experience there, over the past X days/weeks, you've decided that you want to pursue an entirely different career path and unfortunately have to withdraw your acceptance. Apologize for the inconvenience, but don't dwell on this too long. There is no reason why you should have to stay working in consulting if this isn't what you want to do.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I accepted the offer from the consulting firm I was a summer associate at this summer, but now I am having second thoughts. I would rather find a law firm (even a small one) to work at. I know it's frowned upon to back out of an accepted offer, but this is my question: people discreetly look for new jobs all the time, so what is the difference between backing out of an offer v. staying there for a year and then finding a new job? It seems that the latter is much more socially acceptable. But what is the essential difference between those two?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.


Law firms wouldn't hesitate to rescind your offer if they no longer needed your services, and you shouldn't feel any kind of ethical obligation to work for the consulting firm you accepted an offer with. This is America. Employment is at-will for both employers and employees (barring contractual promises).
Last edited by Julio_El_Chavo on Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby IzziesGal » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:00 pm

Also, I know someone who accepted at a V50 firm and then unaccepted in the same day. Nothing bad happened to this person whatsoever. Nothing. He still has an offer open from the firm, etc. TLS tends to exaggerate things when in the real world, it's really just not that big of a deal. People withdraw acceptances for legitimate reasons all the time - people have to move because of family (i.e. spouse got a job in TX so I can't work in PA anymore), people change career paths (I want to go gov't instead of private), etc. Your reason is legitimate. Handle it like an adult, and you'll be fine.

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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:00 pm

ResIpsa21 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP, it's YOUR life. Do what is best for you. Between sacrificing my rerelationship with this consulting place, and years of an unsatisfying career, the choice is ridiculously easy.


I am not saying OP has no choice but to work for this consulting firm (and I don't know where "years" came into play). I just believe that it is selfish and violative of the ethos of our profession to accept an offer and then back out the moment you see greener pastures.

Sure, the consulting firm will probably be fine, and may not care at all that OP is backing out. They may even find a replacement within days. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's a very serious ethical difference between leaving a firm after working there for a while and breaking a promise by backing out of a commitment to accept an offer of employment.

There is a difference, but I do not find backing out as big as deal as it clearly is to you. Perhaps I am just not a very ethical person.

Let me stress again that that employer would ditch the OP in a heartbeat the moment it made sense for them to do so. Amazingly, few would accuse them of ethics violation, and fully accept such actions as well within the employer's prerogative. Yet, employees get saddled with a host of ethical considerations when they want to think of themselves first. I refuse to buy into this one way ethics regime.

UCLAtransfer
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:01 pm

ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby IzziesGal » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:03 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:
ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.


+1.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:04 pm

ResIpsa21 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP, it's YOUR life. Do what is best for you. Between sacrificing my rerelationship with this consulting place, and years of an unsatisfying career, the choice is ridiculously easy.


I am not saying OP has no choice but to work for this consulting firm (and I don't know where "years" came into play). I just believe that it is selfish and violative of the ethos of our profession to accept an offer and then back out the moment you see greener pastures.

Sure, the consulting firm will probably be fine, and may not care at all that OP is backing out. They may even find a replacement within days. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's a very serious ethical difference between leaving a firm after working there for a while and breaking a promise by backing out of a commitment to accept an offer of employment.


WTF?

At will employment. If the consulting firm's (or a law firm's) needs changed, they would rescind your offer without a second thought (see: what happened to C/O 2010 people). What are you going on about?

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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:05 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:
ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.

Lol. +1! It's almost insulting, really.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:08 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:
ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.


+1

ResIpsa's post was really misguided.

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Sherwood2014
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Sherwood2014 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I accepted the offer from the consulting firm I was a summer associate at this summer. . . . .

This just isn’t backing out of a random offer you accepted, this is backing out from someone who is on your resume as your employer. How will you fill your summer employment hole? I suppose you could always go the “cross your fingers and hope they say nice things” route. Maybe buy a “let bygones be bygones” poster for the boss likely to be called on as a reference.

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wiseowl
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby wiseowl » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
UCLAtransfer wrote:
ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.

Lol. +1! It's almost insulting, really.


+~6 by now. The fact this isn't a legal employer makes it even less important. Do what's best for you, after giving it enough thought.

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romothesavior
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby romothesavior » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:40 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:
ResIpsa21 wrote:This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar.


This is just completely ridiculous, and has absolutely no basis in reality. Where the hell are you getting this shit?

OP, approach it as tactfully as you possibly can and as soon as possible, and you will be just fine.

Character and fitness . . . WTF.

+1. Res ipsa is being outrageous.

You think most employers bat an eye over no offers, deferrals, rescinded offers, or layoffs? Do you think they sit around in a board room and a bunch of Res ipsas say, oh noes! This no offer violates the ethics of our noble profession!

Op, just be professional and courteous and do what's best for you. But make sure you're making a smart choice.

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romothesavior
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby romothesavior » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:44 pm

Also, its only August. No way this is a big deal at this point.

Black-Blue
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Black-Blue » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:31 pm

ResIpsa21 wrote:Backing out of an offer is COMPLETELY different. You have made a promise to do something and then you have quite literally broken that promise. This isn't just "frowned upon," nor is it just "bad form." It is a character & fitness issue that your law school may need to report to the bar. As lawyers, we are bound by our word, and breaking a promise is not only unethical, it goes against the foundations of our profession.

LMAO at this response.

Anonymous User
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Re: Ethical dilemma: backing out of accepted offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:40 pm

it looks like a wrong answer on thr MPRE




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