How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house? Forum

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How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:38 am

I'm a senior associate at a big law firm and just received an in-house offer that I'll most likely take - I really enjoyed my conversations with the folks I'll be working with at the company and think the work will be interesting.

My question is how do I message my departure to the partners I've been working with over the past few years? The reason I'm leaving doesn't have to do with the type of work I've been doing or the people I work with. I find my practice incredibly interesting, but the client demands are just not sustainable, and I've been quite depressed. As for the people, the partners I've worked with have been such great mentors to me, and I love them dearly. They've been advocates for me and we've had a number of talks about my future at the firm and promotion. Ultimately, however, I feel I just need a change of pace. I obviously don't want to say all of this though and want to keep my relationships intact and the door open. I also don't want them to feel like I led them on. I just had a realization last month and realized I need to change my job. So, I'm looking for advice from people who have done this before (or have ideas of how to do it) to message this gracefully and with tact.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:29 am

Exact same position as OP. Added complication of wanting to signal I’m leaving more than two weeks in advance so as to not leave them in the lurch, but don’t want to come out and say it until bonus hits my account (which will only provide for a two week period…). Sigh.

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existentialcrisis

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by existentialcrisis » Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:55 am

I get it, but think you’re sweating it to much.

Partners like it when people go in house. This would be different if you were going to a rival firm.

Also partners will understand the lifestyle concerns.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:57 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:58 am

My concern is just that this is going to seem sudden to them (which it is, in fairness). I also don’t want to bring up the lifestyle concerns because I don’t want to suggest I can’t handle it and close the door on coming back.
existentialcrisis wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:55 am
I get it, but think you’re sweating it to much.

Partners like it when people go in house. This would be different if you were going to a rival firm.

Also partners will understand the lifestyle concerns.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Bramwell » Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:43 pm

Agree with all of the above. Do not give notice until bonus hits. And when it does, have a conversation about this wonderful opportunity and express gratitude for your positive experience at the firm and look forward to opportunities to connect in the future. All of the above would apply even if you were going to a rival firm, but doubly so to an in house role where the perceived backstabbing is non-existent.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by existentialcrisis » Wed Nov 23, 2022 12:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:58 am
My concern is just that this is going to seem sudden to them (which it is, in fairness). I also don’t want to bring up the lifestyle concerns because I don’t want to suggest I can’t handle it and close the door on coming back.
existentialcrisis wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:55 am
I get it, but think you’re sweating it to much.

Partners like it when people go in house. This would be different if you were going to a rival firm.

Also partners will understand the lifestyle concerns.
Again, I do get it, and quitting is a stressful and a delicate thing.

But ultimately, I think it’s helpful to remember that this is a way bigger deal for you then it is for them. They’ve had associates quit before and it will happen again.

Also tbh I don’t think bringing up the lifestyle point would really close any doors. If you wanna come back “I realized I’d rather have an exciting/interesting job than a stress free one”. But also you do you, don’t mention it if you don’t want to. My point was more that it just doesn’t matter if your bring it up.

Also generally just as a side note I think many lawyers, myself formerly included, are often too concerned with worrying about leaving all possible doors open and get decision paralysis because of it.

ETA: all of bramwell’s advice above is good too.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 1:13 pm

They are going to like that you are going in-house. Sending people in-house is how firms build client relationships. And if they like you, they'll be happy you found a good exit.

I'd just let them know that you've really appreciated XYZ that they've done for you, that it was a difficult decision given how much you enjoy the firm, but at the end of the day you just feel like it's the right move at least for awhile, and you're excited for the opportunity. All of this has the benefit of being (probably) true. And if they are at all good people they'll get it and understand won't think any less of you.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:38 am
I'm a senior associate at a big law firm and just received an in-house offer that I'll most likely take - I really enjoyed my conversations with the folks I'll be working with at the company and think the work will be interesting.

My question is how do I message my departure to the partners I've been working with over the past few years? The reason I'm leaving doesn't have to do with the type of work I've been doing or the people I work with. I find my practice incredibly interesting, but the client demands are just not sustainable, and I've been quite depressed. As for the people, the partners I've worked with have been such great mentors to me, and I love them dearly. They've been advocates for me and we've had a number of talks about my future at the firm and promotion. Ultimately, however, I feel I just need a change of pace. I obviously don't want to say all of this though and want to keep my relationships intact and the door open. I also don't want them to feel like I led them on. I just had a realization last month and realized I need to change my job. So, I'm looking for advice from people who have done this before (or have ideas of how to do it) to message this gracefully and with tact.
Stop viewing yourself as their employee/mentee and start viewing yourself as their client / potential future client because that's how they view you now. You don't need to massage or make anything gentle. The onus is on them to be overly gracious to you now.

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Lawman1865

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by Lawman1865 » Wed Nov 23, 2022 6:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:28 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:38 am
I'm a senior associate at a big law firm and just received an in-house offer that I'll most likely take - I really enjoyed my conversations with the folks I'll be working with at the company and think the work will be interesting.

My question is how do I message my departure to the partners I've been working with over the past few years? The reason I'm leaving doesn't have to do with the type of work I've been doing or the people I work with. I find my practice incredibly interesting, but the client demands are just not sustainable, and I've been quite depressed. As for the people, the partners I've worked with have been such great mentors to me, and I love them dearly. They've been advocates for me and we've had a number of talks about my future at the firm and promotion. Ultimately, however, I feel I just need a change of pace. I obviously don't want to say all of this though and want to keep my relationships intact and the door open. I also don't want them to feel like I led them on. I just had a realization last month and realized I need to change my job. So, I'm looking for advice from people who have done this before (or have ideas of how to do it) to message this gracefully and with tact.
Stop viewing yourself as their employee/mentee and start viewing yourself as their client / potential future client because that's how they view you now. You don't need to massage or make anything gentle. The onus is on them to be overly gracious to you now.
I see a few others, including the above poster, have brought this up, but just echoing that this is really accurate. Having heard partners talk about former associates in-house, your role as a potential client in the future is probably as valuable/more valuable than your continued role at the firm (even if you have positive partnership prospects, which often is not how it ultimately plays out).

Also, even if it weren't in-house, it's also true that they have people leave all of the time, and I don't think it's backstabbing at all for you to go somewhere else. As many have mentioned, the biglaw firm literally depends on this, and if not, then you get pushed out or outright fired at some point.

In summary, I would wait for bonus, and give two weeks notice, and other than a nice conversation about how much you appreciated their mentorship (and how you will look forward to keeping in touch), that's really all there is to it.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by nixy » Wed Nov 23, 2022 8:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:58 am
My concern is just that this is going to seem sudden to them (which it is, in fairness). I also don’t want to bring up the lifestyle concerns because I don’t want to suggest I can’t handle it and close the door on coming back.
existentialcrisis wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:55 am
I get it, but think you’re sweating it to much.

Partners like it when people go in house. This would be different if you were going to a rival firm.

Also partners will understand the lifestyle concerns.
I mean most people leaving is going to seem sudden to employers - no one expects you to keep your current job posted on your career plans, so no one expects you to have given them any more warning than this. Some people may seem miserable enough that their bosses aren't surprised when they leave, but good employees who seem to enjoy their jobs leave those jobs all the time. Your firm won't take it personally - they may regret losing you but they won't be hurt/shocked/offended.

It's not a romantic relationship, it's purely business.

As for explaining the change, you can just say that you were looking for an opportunity to try some new things or try out a new setting. No one will be confused or need a more in-depth explanation. Like everyone has said, this happens all the time.

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Re: How do I gently message to the partners I work with at the firm that I'm going in house?

Post by lonerider » Wed Nov 30, 2022 8:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:38 am
I'm a senior associate at a big law firm ...
My question is how do I message my departure to the partners I've been working with over the past few years?
Is this post a joke? How could you be a senior associate without reading a dozen farewell emails every Q1 of every year once bonuses are paid out.

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