Leaving early for mental health issue

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Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:35 pm

I know it's not good and heavily frowned upon in leaving a clerkship early, but I want to get your opinions.

I am currently a 2 year clerk in a place that is not where I want to be ultimately. I am 8 months in as of now. I have some serious mental health issues (not new, but a continuing diagnosed disorder), and I thought I could pull through moving somewhere new. I was mistaken. I've had some very serious symptoms, worse than before. I was actually very stable before. Let's just say that I was actually happier and more stable while studying for the bar exam. I thought I would adjust eventually to here. I'm 8 months in, and it's only been getting worse. I was having a hard time finding a doctor because this place does not have good healthcare. I saw one now. After speaking with him, I have come to the conclusion that I need to be closer to a support system and should not live here on my own. The reality is (as much as I tried to suppress it) that I'm not doing well. I think I could make it four more months here to make it a year. There's no way that I'm willing to stay an additional year beyond that. I'm just not willing to live my life in an unhealthy way to make it through. I have several coping mechanisms in place and have tried lots of new things. I'm still not doing well.

1. What should I say to my judge and when? How far in advance?
2. How specific should I get? I haven't told anyone here what's been going on out of fear of stigma. I have a therapist and a doctor, but that's it.
3. I'm supposed to train and work with the incoming clerk in August. What should I do to approach that issue?
4. Finding a job... How should I go about looking for a job? What could I realistically set up in four months? How could I deal with job interviews, etc. I know where I want to be. It's a larger city (but not huge like SF, or NY, etc.). I'm from there. I'm barred in the state.
The hiring season is a little off. I can't really move back until I have money and health insurance... so I need to set that up so I don't have too long of a gap in between. The reality is that I need to keep this job for the healthcare if I can't find another job.

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Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:04 pm

Only responding because you haven't gotten any yet and you're obviously in a rough place. I'm no expert—on any of the matters. My predecessor at one clerkship apparently took a mental health leave where he was getting therapy and working from home and it doesn't have seemed to affected his standing. But that was not fully leaving the clerkship.

I think just about everyone will say that you should tell your judge as soon as possible. Only you know the real answer, and it certainly matters how they will react (which again, only you can reasonably speculate), but if they are understanding its best to tell them as far in advance so they can try to make up for your absence. A co-clerk of mine in the past left a position early for other reasons and while I think the judge was upset, the long runway (and willingness to wrap up projects) allowed him to salvage the relationship. The same probably goes for openness, although I'm not sure what your actual mental health issue is. Like it or not, and right or wrong, there's obviously differing levels of stigma. You probably don't want to divulge anything that will make the Judge feel like you might be putting yourself or others, particularly those in chambers, in danger—or, of course, the work.

As to number 4, it doesn't sound like you are actually committed to leaving unless you can find other employment. Which throws all of this up in the air. If that's truly the case, you probably need to try and find a job first, then address leaving with the judge. You certainly don't want to say "I'm in a really bad place, I legitimately cannot do this job in this city...but will stay if I can't find anything else."

Hope you get the help you need.

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Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:12 pm

Sorry to hear you're feeling bad, hope things get better for you. Judges would rather you stay for your full term, but it's not the end of the world if you don't stay. There's not really much else to say, you'll have to figure out how you want to leave it with your judge, but if you really need to leave, you just let her know when you need to do so, as respectfully as possible. Obviously, it'd be much better to get to that one year mark, or close to it, because then you're less likely to get any questions about the clerkship. But if that's not possible, it's also not that big of a deal. Good luck to you.

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Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:08 pm

I was in a similar situation to the point it affected my work. You are doing better than I did then if the work is not affected. My judge could see I was not happy at work and because of the lack of productivity, my term was reduced and everything. But I found a job though before I leave, also money
isnt an issue for me.

Hang in there OP if you can still work you can make it. Deoends on the nature of your clerkship the job prospect differs but

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Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:59 pm

Not sure there are many good options here. Normally, I'd say you'd be best off finishing out a year, speaking with the judge at that point, and then departing. That said, it sounds like you may be in a chambers where the judge staggers his clerks so there is always an overlap and a clerk with a year's of experience trains the incoming clerk. If so, your judge may prefer putting a new clerk in your place before a year is up. Thus, if you talk to him now, don't be surprised if he decides to make a switch before August.

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Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not sure there are many good options here. Normally, I'd say you'd be best off finishing out a year, speaking with the judge at that point, and then departing. That said, it sounds like you may be in a chambers where the judge staggers his clerks so there is always an overlap and a clerk with a year's of experience trains the incoming clerk. If so, your judge may prefer putting a new clerk in your place before a year is up. Thus, if you talk to him now, don't be surprised if he decides to make a switch before August.


Yeah, I'm wondering if that's what he'd do. Yeah, the options here suck. I'd be willing to leave earlier, but leaving that soon may very well result in more strife than I'm currently in. I don't have anywhere to live unless I bum it with friends for awhile, but that's a lot to ask. and without health insurance, I would end in a worst spot than I already am. It's just very tricky.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Leaving early for mental health issue

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar situation to the point it affected my work. You are doing better than I did then if the work is not affected. My judge could see I was not happy at work and because of the lack of productivity, my term was reduced and everything. But I found a job though before I leave, also money
isnt an issue for me.

Hang in there OP if you can still work you can make it. Deoends on the nature of your clerkship the job prospect differs but


OP here. I'm so sorry that you struggled. It really sucks. Luckily I can keep working, and I've made my current situation as easy as I can. I can walk to work, etc. I don't have any place to live (that's a healthy situation) if I go back without stuff lined up. I can bum with friends, but can only do that so long. Also, without that health insurance, I'll be in way worse shape. It's a tough spot. thanks for the response.



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