5 Signs You Need to Leave Your Law Firm Job

By Andrew Lu on January 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Getting a high-paying law firm job was probably your main goal when you went to law school. That's why deciding to leave your high-paying gig can be so difficult once you've attained it.

At some point, however, all the money in the world isn't worth it if it means you'll have to be miserable.

Here are five signs that maybe walking away from your firm job is right for you. If you experience one or more of these signs, you may want to seriously reconsider your priorities:

  1. Muttering to yourself while doing the dishes. If you're shaving, washing the dishes, or doing any other mundane task around the house and find yourself muttering, "I hate my job" or "I gotta get outta there," that may be a good indicator to start looking for something else to do with your JD. Every job has its ups and downs, but if you find yourself muttering these things for no good reason for an extended period of time, that is not a good sign.

  2. Complete devastation if you don't hear back about a job. You may already be looking around for a new job. It's normal to feel disappointed if you don't get an offer, but feeling completely devastated and trapped if the phone never rings is not normal.

  3. Crying for no apparent reason as you write an "urgent" internal memo at midnight on a Friday. Well, there's not much more that needs to be said here.

  4. You can't keep your head above water. Many associates will describe their day as trying to keep their head above water. You have old assignments with pressing deadlines, and you have new assignments with pressing deadlines. Each day, you try to do just enough to placate everyone and stay afloat. Still, there will come times when the work will be too much and you'll feel like you're drowning. Literally, you will feel as if you are drowning. Once you experience this, it may be time to reach for a life preserver and go.

  5. Making zero dollars seems like a reasonable alternative. We all know how hard it is in this economy to get a high-paying legal job. So if you ever reach the point where the most reasonable and practical job decision you can make is going from six figures to no figures, that's certainly a sign that you may need to leave your law firm job.

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