So if you’ve made a decision to go, if you’ve made a decision that you’re going to make a change, that you’re going to leave your job, that you’re going to start a new law firm, I want to give you two essential pieces of advice that I found to be so important in making my transition from big law firm partner to solopreneur work for me. I want to talk to you about the importance of leaving on good terms, on leaving with integrity. Now, this is the blinding flash of the obvious, right? Everybody’s like, don’t burn your bridges when you go, but it goes beyond that, right? I mean, if you’re going to stay in the same city and you’re going to maybe be thinking about referrals from some of your old colleagues and you’re going to want to socialize with them just to maintain a sense of community, you know, it’s really important for you to do go above and beyond, you know, a, a, a, a, a minimum level and making sure that you are leaving in a way that is above reproach. You know, I was actually all set to leave the big firm partnership. It was a little bit less than a year before I actually did. I had done all the planning that I needed to do. I absolutely made the decision that it was important for me to make this change in my life. But I was handling some, some very substantial litigation with maybe about like a half dozen lawyers who were involved in it. It was sort of a joint effort of our Chicago and Manhattan offices of spending a ton of time in New York. You know, and I was running point, you know, I was not the most senior lawyer on the team, you know, but I was, you know, one of the more senior partners, and I was really crafting the strategy. I was, you know, doing implementation. I was managing the associates, and if I decided to leave when I was ready to go, I would’ve absolutely left that team of colleagues in a terrible situation. It would’ve disadvantaged the clients, it would’ve made the more senior partners have a real challenge. It would have made it harder for the associates to do their work. And so I said that in spite of my need to, you know, make this change for myself, I’m just going to wait until this piece of litigation gets to a point where, you know, I, I’m at a logical stopping point, a logical transition where I was able to, you know, transition this thoughtfully. I spent a couple months at my old firm between the time when I said I wanted to go, and when I told my practice group leader that I was leaving until the time that I actually resigned from the partnership, you know? And so I spent months before even telling anybody that I was leaving, just making sure to get my files to a place where nobody would be disadvantaged on my team when I was gone. And then after I said I’m officially going to leave, I stuck around to make sure that every dot was connected and every ball was caught. You know, because I was appreciative of all that these people did for me over the 14 years or so that I was at that firm, you know, seven years as an associate and seven years as a partner, you know? And when I left my group, the construction law group, they threw a party for me. You know, my wife came, all my partners and the associates came, some of their spouses came. It was a fancy lunch. You know, they made little construction hard hat cookies that had icing on it that said, you know, good luck, Jeremy. And, you know, it was just wonderful. It was wonderful because I remained very close with my former colleagues. They didn’t lose a step in the litigation. The clients that I was leaving behind at the old law firm didn’t leave a step, you know? And so, you know, you absolutely want to go above and beyond the point of, of bare minimum when you’re making your move, right? And because I’ll never forget something that I heard somebody say, I wish that I could attribute the quote, but I’ve long since forgotten who said it. But I heard somebody say that the only thing that people will remember about you when you’re gone from the big law firm is how you left. And I think that that is so true. You know, I, I was at this job for almost 14 years, and I had so many highs and lows and, you know, good times and, you know, great talks around the water cooler and so many wonderful partner meetings that had, you know, a dinner afterwards where I had a chance to sit around and chat with some of the smartest, nicest people ever. And, you know, I really enjoyed that time. But in a moment of honesty, I think that probably all those people who I was talking to at all those wonderful moments, all those times around the water cooler, like all the times that we are in the foxhole together, you know, and I’m talking about hundreds of different people, partners, and associates over a long time, I bet in a moment of honesty, if I really wanted to tell you the truth, I bet they don’t remember anything about me other than the fact that, you know, you know, I’m a aged, you know, gr gray hair kind of guy that practices in construction law that left on good terms. You know, I would bet that they don’t remember many of the things that we experienced together over those nearly 14 years. I think that the only thing they’re going to remember is I’m the construction law guy, and that I left on good terms. So when you’re gone, it may be the case that all you’ll be remembered for is how you leave, right? So you have to leave with integrity. Certainly, I was cognizant of the rules that were set out in the partnership agreement about what I could do and what I couldn’t do. I observed those rules, you know, scrupulously, I was very careful to study, you know, the ethics opinions in my state, the case law about what I could do and what I couldn’t do about, you know, making sure that I continue to work super hard, you know, for the clients that I was serving while I was there, keeping my mouth shut about my plans, you know, as was appropriate, you to the clients, to my colleagues at the firm, you know, and, you know, I can’t, there’s nothing that I’m more grateful for now that I’m almost four years into my practice, that I can call up the phone with my old partners and, you know, and, and we can have a laugh and we can get lunch. And when I see them, I get a hug, not, you know, a nasty look. So, you know, the only thing people are going to remember about you is how you left. And so if you’re concerned that, oh, maybe I’m not going to get enough business, you know, maybe I’ll bend the rules a little bit and maybe I’ll whisper in the ears of some of these clients that you’re leaving, or, you know, whatever temptation that you may have to not leave on good terms, to not follow the rules, to not follow the partnership agreement. Anything that you might be feeling is a shortcut that you want to take that would see you leaving with a little bit less than total integrity. I would just urge you not to do it, particularly if you’re tempted by some of those shortcuts out of fear that you’re not going to be able to get clients for yourself. You will be able to get clients for yourself, and you don’t want to leave with the stain of, you know, burning the bridges, you know, in any way possible. But another important piece of advice I would give you is you may not, you know, want to burn the bridges, but you burn the boats, right? I don’t know where the analogy comes from, but you know, when the explorers show up on the shores of the new land, you know, the leader doesn’t want them to think about going back to the old world. And so they light the boats on fire. So there’s no way, you know, to get home. That’s an important piece of advice. Don’t burn the bridges, but burn the boats. I was not leaving on good terms at my old firm because I had any thought at all about coming back. No thought. I made the decision to go, I was going to launch this firm, you know, in one way or another. I was going to make it a success. And I was not leaving with integrity. I was not leaving on good terms with the thought of coming back in a year later with my tail between my legs, after my, you know, misadventures and starting a law firm unwound. I was committed to making the change. I was committed to making it right, making it successful, but I was committed to also doing it in the right way to preserve those relationships, which has given me many professional as well as personal, you know, wonderful things. You know, there’s been a lot of upside to the way that I left. So leave on good terms, leave with integrity. That’s the only thing people are going to remember about you. Don’t burn your bridges, but burn the boats. ’cause if you’re going to go, you should think about nothing other than serving out the rest of your career, having success in your new venture. Next up I’ll, in the series, I’m going to cover the importance about being curious and open-minded, because if you’re anything, like I was a couple years ago when I was at the big law firm thinking about making a change, I had no idea the number of blind spots that were all about me, but there were a ton of ’em. And so, being curious and open-minded, you know, as you sort of look around and try to, to size up the challenge, you know, and how would you actually go about leaving your old firm, launching your new firm? How would you manage it? Being curious and open-minded is the key to not getting stuck, you know, in, in your blind spots. So if you only remember one thing from this video, remember that nobody will likely remember much about you after you’ve left your current job other than how you left. You know? And if you want to think about an action item, if there’s something that you want to consider in order to further the chances that you’re going to successfully be able to make this leap out on your own, you know, you may wish to consider, what would it look like for you to leave on good terms? You know, what files do you have that you’d want to park in a safe harbor so that you don’t leave your, your current partners and associates and clients in the lurch? If you’re anything like me, you had enough going on that it was, you know, six months, nine months, a year out. And if you can sort of identify where that optimal timeframe is to leave everybody that you’re associated with at your current firm in the best position to pick up the pieces when you leave as simply as possible. If you could figure out when that moment is based on your current caseload, you can calibrate how much time you have to think about the decisions I talked about in, in the previous episode in the series about, you know, are you going fast? Are you going slow? So when, how much time do you have to find that safe harbor to hand off your files? Nicely? Can, if you go slow like me, if you’re a planner, can you take that amount of time to make the no the know or the go? The go or the no-go decision And to accomplish what you need to accomplish to be ready at that point. If not, you may wish to consider, you know, what is it that you would need to do if you’re not going to be ready at that first moment to think about when is the next logical off ramp for you? And to try to calibrate your caseload and your commitments now so that you’re able to kind of hit that, that next off ramp. Because leaving on good terms and with integrity is probably the most important thing that you can do as you make your break from being a big law firm attorney and striking out on your own.