Transition from private practice to government — part two

Here are some additional items to consider if you are thinking of leaving your law firm for a stint in government:

Consider how your move could help the firm in the long term
  • How can your move to x part of the government help with the firm’s current practice?  For example, the firm has thriving tax practice but does not have a strong tax lobbying presence.  Your move to the Hill and subsequent return could help the firm attract clients in that area.
  • Always have a long view and articulate that view even if at this point in time you believe you will not return to the firm.  You never know and you could be missing out on some valuable assistance for getting to that next step now.
  • This is not BS.  Before you approach folks at the firm (especially the partner who supervises you), be sure you have thought about and are prepared to talk about the reasons why your move will help the firm.
  • Related to this point – be open to feedback from partners about opportunities you may not have considered and optimal timing for you to leave.
Consider leaving even if everything going well
  • You may want to consider adding public service experience to your resume even if hours are strong and you are in line to make partner.
  • You constantly want to differentiate yourself from the competition.  Going to government is one helpful way to do that.
  • There are other ways to distinguish yourself.  Speaking and writing (frequently) is another way.  Going in-house is another.

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