Career Advice for Legal Professionals: Quitting with Class (Part Two)

You just accepted a new legal job -- but you’re nervous about telling your current managing attorney. Earlier this week, I offered some tips for exiting a legal job with grace and tact. Regardless of the circumstances of your resignation, you can -- and should -- exit professionally. By doing so, you’ll leave a good impression and also strengthen your network that can serve you throughout your legal career.

Here are some additional pointers on what to do -- and not to do -- when announcing your resignation:

Mind your manners on the way out. Even if you’ve been unhappy with your current position, don’t use your final days on the job to air your grievances. That won’t do anything but damage your reputation. Be gracious in your comments about your current employer; let co-workers know you’ve enjoyed working with them and that you've appreciated their support.

Although your colleagues may ask about details of your new legal job, resist the temptation to boast about the salary increase you may be getting or any great perks your new employer may be offering. Also, remain productive once you’ve given notice. It’s not the time to take long lunches or leave early if you want to have colleagues remember you positively.

Resist any counteroffer that may be extended. This strategy rarely works in the long-run -- for either the employee or the company. See “3 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Legal Job Counteroffers.”   

Participate in your firm's exit interview. If your employer conducts exit interviews, take advantage of this opportunity to offer honest feedback. Be candid but don’t use the meeting to complain about your boss or colleagues. Even if your work experience wasn’t always positive, your comments will be taken more seriously if delivered professionally. Constructive suggestions on improving policies and procedures, corporate culture or organizational structure are almost always welcome. In a survey our company conducted, more than three-quarters of senior executives polled said they “always” or “somewhat frequently” act on information gathered during exit interviews.

Don't burn your bridgesRemain professional throughout the process. Colleagues may forget the improvements you made in office procedures or the significant results you delivered on a recent case. But they will remember the impression you left in your final days on the job -- so leave them with a positive one.