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  • Writer's pictureFrederick L Shelton

GET OUT! Why You Should Leave Your AmLaw Before It's Too Late.


"Every week, I talk to 60+ year olds, working 60+ hour work weeks. It's sad."

I see this all the time. Attorneys have a solid stable of clients and the skills to keep bringing more in. Then their firm starts raising rates. Up market, down market, it doesn't matter. Raise those rates, baby!

It's like the parable of the frog in the pot of water, who doesn't try to jump out because the temperature of the water is increased very slowly. He doesn't realize he's dead until it's too late.

The same thing happens with AmLaw attorneys. They find themselves doing more and more work for Firm Clients because no one else can afford the $1,000 - $1,500+ hourly rates that are imposed upon them.

Then it's too late. Of course, there are exceptions. Partners who generate or manage five million dollar books of business in impervious practice areas, for corporate giants, will be fine. At least when it comes to preserving their client base. But everyone else?

Every week, I talk to 60+ year olds, working 60+ hour work weeks. It's sad. They can't leave because they no longer have a book of business. Like the frog in the parable, their clients slowly disappeared as the rates kept creeping up. Because they don't have a book, they're expected to work more hours. They're trapped. It's no secret that multiple divorces & estranged children, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental health issues are pandemic in AmLaw's. Get out. Just leave. There are more modern alternatives available. We work with small, mid-sized and even a few of the more modern and progressive AmLaw firms, where billing 1,500 hours a year and taking two week vacations are considered (Gasp!) normal. There are plenty of attorneys making deep into the six and even seven figure incomes, who are enjoying healthy lifestyles, great relationships and who have real control over their practice and rates. Seriously. That's out there. But it won't be if you wait until your AmLaw has price-gouged you out of options. Get out.

Frederick Shelton is the CEO of Shelton & Steele, a national, legal recruiting and consulting firm. He is a nationally recognized and published consultant on modern law firm business management, rainmaking and legal AI. He can be reached at


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