After nine years of practicing law at Webster Henry, it’s time for me to do a new thing. I have been really proud that I was one of just a handful of people in my law school class to have been at only one firm since I started practicing. But over the last eighteen months, the past became less important as I turned my focus to the future. So when an opportunity came along with Gordon Rees Scull Mansukhani, in which the future was dazzling, I made the leap.
Gordon Rees is the place where I’m going to do my new thing and further develop my law practice with their commercial litigation group.
Leaving with Relationships Intact
Leaving behind the personal relationships that I’ve built at Webster Henry over the past nine years was difficult. I am pleased to say that true to the character of who they have always been, the people at Webster Henry made the transition smooth. No one wanted to burn any bridges. Everyone understood that sometimes the sun sets on one opportunity and rises on another.
That’s not always the case in law firms when a partner is leaving and taking business with them. Horror stories abound about the poor behavior of both departing lawyers and those being left behind. But I’m proud to report that wasn’t my experience. When I announced to my old firm that it was time for me to do a new thing with a new firm, no one produced any torches or kerosene.
Risk Aversion and Searching for the Right Opportunity
My risk aversion runs strong. I am a lawyer after all. My vein of loyalty also runs strong. As a consequence of these things, I’m not a job hopper. I did not easily or quickly arrive at the decision to leave Webster Henry. So when I finally acted on it, I did so just in time to be counted among the millions of other mid-career professionals who are changing jobs, in what has become known as The Great Resignation.
Over the last year-and-a-half several opportunities presented themselves to me. Some, I explored. Others, I dismissed outright. I had some criteria that any new job would have to meet. Chief among them were flexibility, autonomy, and opportunity for growth. Fortunately, I was in a position where I could be picky and take my time. I wasn’t grossly unhappy or in a toxic business relationship.
I was looking for an opportunity that could be a career move, not a stepping stone. I didn’t want something short-term that would have me in the job market again in the next five years. I wanted a landing spot where I would have the potential to expand my skillset, continue developing and growing my business network, and could reasonably see myself working over the next couple of decades. That’s not too much to ask, right?
That sort of thing takes a while to find. When Gordon Rees came calling, I had some things to consider. I already knew Stacy Moon, the partner I’d be working with in Birmingham; we got to know each other through our involvement in the Law Practice Management Committee at DRI (which has been the best professional network that I’ve been a part of over the last four years). And the more I met with partners and staff at the firm, the more comfortable I got with envisioning myself practicing somewhere other than my current firm.
As I considered the future, without allowing the past to cloud my judgment, it became clear that Gordon Rees met my criteria and would become the place where I would do my new thing. After I made the decision, it was just a matter of doing the next hard thing … acting on it.
But now I’m here, and I’m ready to jump into the deep end without a life jacket because it’s the right time and the right place, and we’re going to see what the future holds for us.