Resigning from your position at a law firm can be daunting, especially if it’s one you’ve worked hard to acquire. However, circumstances do change, and not every role works out. So, if you decide to resign, here’s how to do so in a way that will preserve your professional reputation.
Wherever possible, you should strive to leave your position on good terms. A lawyer’s character and conduct are key markers of their professionalism, and, more practically, the manner of your resignation may influence whether or not you can ask for a reference in the future.
Be prepared to supply a resignation letter when you inform your employer of your decision to leave the firm. In the letter, state the date from which your resignation is effective, your notice period, and your last day of work at the firm. If it is appropriate, you can also include a brief positive statement about your time at the firm, referencing things you’ve learned, valuable experiences, or meaningful professional relationships.
It is useful to prepare a list of issues that you may need to discuss with your employer when you resign. This could include how to complete any outstanding projects, manage an efficient handover, and notify colleagues of your decision. You will more than likely be asked reasons for your resignation. Being prepared for these questions will help you respond with constructive and thoughtful comments.
No matter how negative your experience with the firm, do not insult your employer or spread rumours about them or the firm. This behaviour will only reflect poorly on your own character.
For more information on how to stay healthy and succeed during your first few years of law, consider reading the NSW Young Lawyer’s free guide titled ‘How to Survive and Thrive in Your First Year of Law’