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Partner Retires from BigLaw to Write Novel, Chooses Progeny over Lucre in Farewell Memo

Posted Jan 3, 2012 10:35 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A litigation partner at Sidley Austin in Chicago has decided to give up his job to finish writing a novel, but not before sending out a farewell memo that caught the attention of legal bloggers.

The lawyer, David Johnson, told Above the Law that his book is about a series of murders in a small town in Depression-era Kansas. Here is his memo, reproduced by Above the Law and the Constitutional Daily:

“I have realized that I cannot simultaneously meet the demands of career and family. Without criticizing those who have chosen lucre over progeny, let me just say that I am leaving the practice of law.

“My epiphany may have come a bit late as my youngest child—I believe his name is Erik—is 24. But as I always said after missing a filing deadline, better late than never.

“I have made friendships at Sidley that I will treasure well into the first quarter of 2012. But a career based on the perception of untapped potential, rather than on actual production, has a limited shelf life. I frankly would have expected management to have caught on years ago. I trust that my longevity will serve as a beacon of hope for underperforming lawyers of all ages. No need to name names: you know who you are.”

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