Time, time, time, see what's become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities.
I was so hard to please.
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.
—Simon & Garfunkel, "Hazy Shade of Winter"
My posts have been a bit sporadic the past couple of weeks, and they are likely to remain a bit sporadic into the near future. However, let me explain. No, wait, there's no time. Let me sum up.
After nearly 16 years as a lawyer—ten of them as a full shareholder—with my current law firm, I am leaving for another career opportunity. Yes, I have finally been offered a spot as a Wall Street hedge fund manager and international playboy.
Naww, it's nothing that exciting. Instead, I've gone corporate, taking a spot as "Vice-President and Assistant General Counsel—Litigation" for a regional insurance company. Essentially, my job will be half management (monitoring complex or high exposure claims, overseeing outside counsel, and supervising in-house attorneys), and half litigation (defending first-party claims against the company). The job will offer a lot of variety and interesting legal issues, which is nice, considering my current practice rarely offers much in the way of intellectual challenges. Also, the pay and benefits are much better, and the long-term financial prospects are substantially better than remaining at my current job. Plus, the commute is all of five minutes.
Now, there will be some downsides to the new position. I won't have near the flexibility in terms of taking time away from the office, and my first year or so will require a ton of work getting my feet wet. Also, I will miss all the good folks at my current firm, where I have made many friends over the years. But, in a way, as the firm has grown, it has of necessity become more corporate, which inevitably leads to changes—and tensions—in relationships. It's kind of like a home poker game. It starts out as a few friends having some drinks, laughing, and pushing chips around. Then a few more people start joining in, and eventually, you have 30 players, house rules need to be written down, people focus more on money and less on camaraderie, petty disputes morph into long term grudges, and other players look less like friends or neighbors than another guy with an ATM card that resets at midnight (never mind that he probably can't afford to lose any money). Don't get me wrong, business and poker are about money. But never kid yourself—when the stakes get high, money can be corrosive to even the best of friendships.
Thankfully, this opportunity knocked at a great time. I wasn't looking for a different job, but this position is an amazing career opportunity and an interesting challenge. More importantly, I'm able to leave my firm while still on great terms with all my friends. After another five or six years in the firm, I'm not sure that I could have guaranteed such a happy outcome.
I don't believe in fate, but sometimes, things do just happen for a reason.