Sam Vincent
Sam Vincent
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

What are the most important things to do before you hand in your resignation?

People leave jobs more often than you realise; every day around the world. But how do they leave them? What’s best practice when it comes to a departure?

Even although we’re in a candidate-driven market, you should always consider how you 'part ways' with a law firm. If you don’t get it right, it’ll have negative career repercussions. 

As you’re well aware, it’s your reputation at stake, and as we grow more connected and the world gets smaller, word spreads quicker than ever. Therefore, don’t go about it the wrong way. Let's avoid regret.

A lot of this might seem like common sense but you'd be surprised at how many lawyers fail on one or more of these musts.

Below are the MUSTS on how to tackle what for some people is a very huge deal: your resignation and exit.

  1. Before you resign, find out if you signed a non-compete agreement and check what your restrictive covenants say. If you’re unsure if they’re enforceable or not, get some advice.
  2. Once you’re happy with the position and you’re ready to resign tell your boss first and in person. You might be tempted to shout about your resignation from the rooftops, but your boss should be the first person you tell. In a world where news travels faster than Usain Bolt runs 100m, this will help to manage the process smoothly, without causing too much of a stir.
  3. Ensure you give the right length of notice and be prepared for them to ask you to leave immediately, especially if you’re going to a competitor. Use foresight to make sure you have all your personal items e.g. photos and documents on any work-related devices.
  4. Have an official letter of resignation ready and make sure it includes an ‘end’ date in line with your contractual notice period. Keep your letter short and sweet and straight to the point.
In addition and most importantly:
  1. Keep your emotions in check, even if you hated your job or your boss; keep your cool during the exit process. The legal profession is small and you don't want to burn any bridges. In the end, the only person it’ll hurt is you – no one wants drama to come back and bite them.
  2. Don't slack off. You might have one foot out the door but you’re still required to show up to work on time. Avoid extended lunches and most fundamentally, get your work done. Nobody likes a slacker, how do you want your co-workers to remember you? This might be the last interaction with these people, so you want them to think of you positively.

Related blogs

'I don’t understand my notice period, can you help?'

'How to hand in your notice and manage the pre-departure period'

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