Trained hamster actors depict working at BigLaw and life afterwards.
An ex-Gibson Dunn associate has gone viral in a LinkedIn post stating that he turned down partnership offers from BigLaw firms, as he was becoming a stranger in his own home.
Eli Albrecht was an M&A lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, having previously worked at DLA Piper.
In his LinkedIn post, Albrecht says that he "stepping off the hamster wheel" and leaving Gibson Dunn, and had turned down "offers for partnership at other Biglaw firms."
Albrecht states that he had aspired to be a big shot lawyer from a young age: "As an inner city kid, I let my mind wander and pretended I was wearing a suit and tie and walking into a high rise, taking an elevator to my office".
After graduating, Albrecht's "dream came true" as he got his own office, progressing from the "interior office with no windows" to "an office with a view of downtown".
"But, I wanted more," said Albrecht. "I wanted the partner office, the corner office, and the title, Partner."
The former Gibson Dunn associate said that he threw himself into the work, bringing a sleeping bag into the office and not leaving "for days at a time", as he chased "the next bonus, the next review, the next promotion, and the next title."
However, the M&A lawyer was "losing touch with all life outside of that office" and his family were losing touch with him.
"My son took his first steps," he said. "My daughter cracked her first smile and said her first babbly words. My son was growing up and having crushes, and my daughters had dance parties I never saw."
He decided to change his career path one day, when he realised he was a "stranger" in his "own house". Albrecht said: "I crumpled on my wife’s shoulder and said, tell me we can do better. Tell me this is not my forever".
Albrecht has therefore decided to leave the so-called BigLaw firms of the US. But he has not packed it in as a lawyer, to go and work on a beach somewhere, as he is joining a boutique firm, SMB Law Group, as a partner.
However, Albrecht told RollOnFriday that his new firm will allow for a better work/life balance. He acknowledged that as an M&A lawyer, he would still work hard; but he can work remotely at his new firm so he can see his kids when they "come home from school".
Albrecht told RollOnFriday that he is now in control of his own life and wanted to have more family time to attend events like his daughter’s kindergarten graduation. "At some points" he acknowledged, this would mean "taking on fewer clients".
RollOnFriday asked Albrecht what tips he would give someone looking to leave BigLaw. The M&A lawyer noted that it is "really difficult...the money is very good and there is deep satisfaction to doing intellectually stimulating work."
"I had a hard time leaving because I didn’t want to give up the prestige," he added. "I was proud of my title and the reaction that people had when they know you are at a top law firm."
However, he concluded: "there are so many other things in life that are deeply meaningful over the long term. If you don’t feel BigLaw is right for you, you will not regret your move for one day."
Albrecht's LinkedIn post has over 10,000 likes and been reposted over 300 times.
He's also had support from some former colleagues: