QI’m in the middle of my fourth year as an associate at a mid-size Chicago firm. Over the years, I’ve developed great relationships with the partners and with clients. I’ve been lucky in that respect, having been able to interact substantially with clients on some of my cases. In all honesty, I probably have a solid book of business I could take with me if I wanted to spin off and form a boutique firm or go out on my own. It’s not that I don’t like my firm and my work, and the obvious trust that the partners have in me. I would just like a bit more of my time to be my time. What should I do to pursue it?
AI’m laughing as I type this. No fourth year associate has a “book of business,” which makes me think you either made this up or do not work at a “largish” firm in Chicago, or both. Or that whatever imaginary book of business you have, it’s either (1) not portable or (2) not worth more than the severance package you’ll be lucky to get when you tell your trusted senior partner that “I want to go out on my own, y’know, see the world, form a boutique.”
Let’s use a baseball analogy for a better understanding. It’s the bottom of the ninth inning and your team of associates is losing 14-1 with a runner on first. You are up at bat with one out. Hit a home run and you’ll still be losing 14-3, with the bottom of the order coming up and your teammates suddenly complaining of soft-tissue injuries. But, being as arrogant as you seem to be, you act like Babe Ruth and point out to center field. The players out in the field see your gesture and crack up so hard that they can barely stand up and play. One guy pisses his pants he laughs so hard.
Not that they don’t take it seriously, which they do. They just put in a reliever, who throws a single 100-mile-per-hour fastball that you manage to hit weakly to second. It’s 4-6-3 double play, game over. You are then demoted to single A ball in Davenport, sitting on the bench reviewing pitching rosters and cleaning up sunflower seeds.
It will be that quick for you, thinking you have a book of business that you can take with you to some new boutique firm in Naperville. Book of business. I’m still laughing.