Big Firm Burnout

Most non-profit general counsel are familiar with the term "big firm refugees." It describes the burnt-out lawyers from big law firms who give up the grind of law firm life for the challenging and rewarding legal jobs in non-profits. A good number of non-profit general counsel fit this description.

The phenomenon is widespread. While the big firm exodus remains a boon to the non-profit sector, it also indicates a serious problem confronting big law firms. As managing partners place unremitting pressure on their colleagues to increase profits per partner, many lawyers chafe at the negative effects the need to bill more hours has on the quality of their lives. This isn't a new gripe, but lately the complaints are getting more attention.


Bruce D. Collins

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