Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

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Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:55 pm

I'm a first year associate who passed the bar in November. I've been working at my current job for 6 months only. I love working at this firm, despite the fact that I make very little money - $50,000. I'm comfortable and the experience is good.

The reason why I'm looking into other jobs is because I am afraid the work is going to eventually dry up and I'll get laid off. I work for a solo practitioner that has one major client that brings in all of the money. My boss has made it clear that without that client, he wouldn't be able to afford me. This client has a history of changing lawyers. In fact, if we lose this upcoming trial, I don't know what is going to happen. I don't feel secure at all.

I've been applying for the past two weeks, and I get quite a few interviews scheduled. Once I was asked why I wanted to leave my current job, and I had no idea what to say.

Any thoughts? Also, am I making a poor decision by looking for another jobs under one year?

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a first year associate who passed the bar in November. I've been working at my current job for 6 months only. I love working at this firm, despite the fact that I make very little money - $50,000. I'm comfortable and the experience is good.

The reason why I'm looking into other jobs is because I am afraid the work is going to eventually dry up and I'll get laid off. I work for a solo practitioner that has one major client that brings in all of the money. My boss has made it clear that without that client, he wouldn't be able to afford me. This client has a history of changing lawyers. In fact, if we lose this upcoming trial, I don't know what is going to happen. I don't feel secure at all.

I've been applying for the past two weeks, and I get quite a few interviews scheduled. Once I was asked why I wanted to leave my current job, and I had no idea what to say.

Any thoughts? Also, am I making a poor decision by looking for another jobs under one year?


I'm taking a crack at this because no one else has, but take anything I say with a grain of salt, because all my real work experience is non-legal. If you're applying to a different kind of firm, you say you want to practice in a different area. If you're applying outside the city, you say you want to live/work in a different place. Don't say anything negative about your old job or your boss.

BUT... I think less than a year is a little short to be changing jobs early in your career. While it's better to leave than be laid off, you don't want to make new employers think you're likely to leave early. If you were more experienced, you could leave it off your resume, but that would look bad in your position. I know it's a balancing act, but do your best to walk the line between protecting your employment status and looking flighty to other employers.

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sundance95

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby sundance95 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:13 pm

The answer just needs to make sense to the interviewer, and the obvious one here is that while you like your current job, you need to make more money. Or are these other jobs just as low-paying?

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby lawhopeful100 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:04 pm

sundance95 wrote:The answer just needs to make sense to the interviewer, and the obvious one here is that while you like your current job, you need to make more money. Or are these other jobs just as low-paying?

I just switched jobs from a small firm to a larger one where there would be a substantial pay increase. When asked why you are switching jobs try to turn it into an opportunity to say something positive about the new firm where you are interviewing. Maybe you could say that while you enjoy learning from your current attorney, you would rather work for several attorneys where you can learn from each of them. The people interviewing you likely know a large part of leaving is you want more money, but I think it can be poor form to say that. I would just go with some other reason that makes sense, even if they know money is a motivating factor. Just my opinion.

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:07 pm

Anon because I'm in the process of leaving a job I've been in for under a year. I've interviewed around at a few places and gotten a couple offers, so I must be doing something right. As long as you hold fast two two things, you should be good. (1) Factors beyond your control, such as location and family matters, and (2) desire to do something else, more in line with what you're interviewing for.

For me, it's clear from my resume that my current job is something out of the norm for me, so I usually say something like this "I took my current job because I thought it'd be interesting and it was close to my SO. Now however, my SO is relocating to your city, and we're settling down there, and I'd like to get back into my main focus area of law."

If job stability is a real concern, I wouldn't hesitate to mention that if you could do it delicately.

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby sparty99 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anon because I'm in the process of leaving a job I've been in for under a year. I've interviewed around at a few places and gotten a couple offers, so I must be doing something right. As long as you hold fast two two things, you should be good. (1) Factors beyond your control, such as location and family matters, and (2) desire to do something else, more in line with what you're interviewing for.

For me, it's clear from my resume that my current job is something out of the norm for me, so I usually say something like this "I took my current job because I thought it'd be interesting and it was close to my SO. Now however, my SO is relocating to your city, and we're settling down there, and I'd like to get back into my main focus area of law."

If job stability is a real concern, I wouldn't hesitate to mention that if you could do it delicately.


At what month did you start applying? Is this your Attorney first job?

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:00 am

sparty99 wrote:At what month did you start applying? Is this your Attorney first job?


Sort of; I did a clerkship after law school, so this is my first job actually practicing. I started the job in September and started applying to jobs around the New Year when it became clear that (a) my SO wanted to work in our home city next fall, not where I moved for my current job (~ 3 hour drive away), and (b) my current job is not at all what I expected, and I came to realize that I really, really miss my area of focus from my law school internships and post-grad clerkship.

FWIW, I expect to leave at the 8 or 9 month mark.

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:35 pm

OP here. This is going to be kind of a silly question because several factors are involved. But what should my salary expectations be as a first year associate in Texas? Will I look crazy if I ask for $65,000? Other than the 6 months experience, I worked at a civil litigation firm for one year during law school.

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Re: Excuse for wanting to leave job in less than a year?

Postby sparty99 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. This is going to be kind of a silly question because several factors are involved. But what should my salary expectations be as a first year associate in Texas? Will I look crazy if I ask for $65,000? Other than the 6 months experience, I worked at a civil litigation firm for one year during law school.


I think $65 is the bare minimum. Don't tell them your salary in interviews. I would want $70 to 85k based on the fact that you would probably be looking at mid size law firms coming from a solo attorney. You might even try being a prosecutor, city attorney, etc. if you only make $50,000 now. Better training, in court experience, etc.



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