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Ann Israel is the legal profession’s Dear Abby. A New York legal recruiter since 1979, Ann is a past president of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants. Advice for the Lawlorn is updated every week.


Q: I am a fourth-year New York BigLaw associate, and I am considering an opportunity at a very small firm. There are a number of reasons I think that this would provide me with a better work experience. I am not looking at this as a lifestyle move; as the practice is still fairly intense, although maybe a bit more predictable than BigLaw.

I am in good standing at my current firm but not particularly happy. Would I be giving anything up other than some cash in my paycheck by accepting this opportunity? I am concerned with any effects on my career path if I don’t stay on with the small firm in the long run. Will this limit future opportunities to go in-house or back to another BigLaw firm?

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