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Byebyebirdie

Articling: When and how to tell the firm I don't want to be hired back

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For a variety of reasons, I know I don't want to stay at my firm after articles. I think hire-back offers are made in March, but presumably the firm is already considering the matter now. I have a mid-articles check-in with my principal soon, and I wonder if I should tell her at that point, or if I should just receive the feedback and nod along when speaking of hirebacks, and then schedule a meeting in February to express my intentions. Any tips for how to have the conversation would be appreciated too.

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I really really recommend that you avoid slamming doors shut before finding out if they’re the only ones that would be open for you. Don’t run to cut off opportunities. You really can’t know how the next six months will go for you. 

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But if you really do know now, just tell them. And you can probably just tell them the reason, unless it's because it's a garbage place to work, in which case you should just tell them you don't think this is the right career choice for you long term and you're planning to look for something else.

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21 minutes ago, Byebyebirdie said:

I know I don't want to stay at my firm after articles

If the above is true, I'm really on the side of @Hegdis on this and suggest not closing any doors. 

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On 1/15/2021 at 8:33 PM, Hegdis said:

I really really recommend that you avoid slamming doors shut before finding out if they’re the only ones that would be open for you. Don’t run to cut off opportunities. You really can’t know how the next six months will go for you. 

 

On 1/15/2021 at 8:51 PM, LeoandCharlie said:

If the above is true, I'm really on the side of @Hegdis on this and suggest not closing any doors. 

Yea, that makes sense. I do feel a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place - I don't want to tell her too early and lose learning opportunities or get forgotten about, but I also don't want to lie to her about my intentions to stay if she starts discussing hirebacks. I am certain I will not stay at the firm, but it's due to personal reasons and not because of the firm itself.  I want to communicate that as respectfully as possible and hopefully not burn any bridges. To me it, seems worse to lead them along until they make me an offer (or not).

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You do not have to give them a hard yes or no now. Use subtlety in your response to imply your uncertainty about staying without "slamming any doors." 

When the time does come to give them a hard no, praise the firm and your experiences there but tell them that there is something that you want even more, whether it is a special field of law, a special area you want to live and commute from, etc. 

This will come in handy when your new employer asks your old employer for a reference. And it will give you a possible place to return if your other plans do not work out.

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