Wake up, Mabel - it's time for your walk.

Reading law firm departure memos is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.

Sometimes you taste bitterness. Sometimes the flavor is spicy hot. Sometimes you get a little Costa Rica crunch.

And sometimes you get… this, which was sent to everyone at Sidley Austin yesterday by an associate leaving the Chicago office:

Today is my last day at Sidley. You may keep in touch with me at [email protected], through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tyler.coulson, or via Twitter, @ibuildnosystem.

Beginning next week, I am walking from Delaware to California with a tent and my dog, Mabel. I will have limited access to email, but will check messages frequently.

Geo. Tyler Coulson

The Forrest Gump translation: “Once was a time when me and Sidley was like peas and carrots — not anymore. I’m not a smart man, but I do know what quitting is.”

One Sidley tipster had this reaction: “[T]he greatest reason to leave big law ever. Please keep my name and email anonymous, as I have no ambitions to leave my firm to walk across the nation.”

Said a second Sidley source: “Coolest ‘f**k you I quit’ email…. Note the ‘High’ importance.”

But is it really a total “f**k you” message? We reached out to Tyler Coulson, and he had a perfectly reasonable explanation….

By the way, in case you’re curious, Tyler Coulson practiced in Sidley’s bankrutpcy/corporate reorganization group. Although Sidley has already yanked his bio from its website — it used to reside here — we saw it before it got pulled. George Tyler Coulson graduated from the University of Illinois in 2001 and from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2008, with distinction.

Posted by Tyler Coulson on Twitter: the view from his Chicago balcony.

Here’s what we learned from our communication with Coulson:

ATL: Okay, first things first. Seriously?

COULSON: I am really going to do this. I have always wanted to do an epic walk of some sort and now I am going to. The folks at Sidley are great, but big law just isn’t right for me right now. I need to get out from behind a desk, I need to move around, I need to have an adventure, and I need to meet some people. It’s too easy to forget who you are, sometimes.

ATL: True enough. So what’s your plan?

COULSON: I hope to start walking from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on March 10th, generally following the American Discovery Trail. With any luck, I’ll reach San Francisco in six months. I have always enjoyed hiking, but I’ve never done anything of this magnitude and, of course, it is a bit daunting. I might make it five miles or five thousand, but, in either case, I want to walk the country and maybe learn something about myself.

ATL: Wow — this is awesome. By the way, have you heard from other news outlets yet?

COULSON: No other media inquiries yet, but I heard that the email caused quite a stir.

ATL: You know, you should be sure to keep a diary of some sort doing this adventure. This is the stuff that book deals are made of.

COULSON: I am going to keep a travel journal and try to put it all together in a book. I know this will be life changing for me, but I had not quite realized what kind of response it was going to cause among other attorneys. It is humbling.

ATL: Well, thanks for taking the time to chat. Best of luck to you!

We’re planning to follow Tyler Coulson’s progress — and you can too, via his Twitter feed (January 30: “i am going for a long walk”). Right now he has only 11 followers (he’s no Charlie Sheen), but we expect this number to grow.

This ATL reader, a former Sidley employee who received the email after it went viral, will be tracking Tyler too:

No one believes it, but he starts his journey at Cape Henlopen, DE on Wed. and walks to SF. He hopes to arrive by September. I don’t know what he’s going to do when he hits the mountains out west, but that’s a delightful little wrinkle he’ll have to figure out.

Here’s hoping him the best and safe travels! I, for one, will be trying to follow his journey.

We join in wishing Tyler Coulson a safe and successful trip. If you’re in Chicago and would like to meet this Biglaw folk hero in the making, Tyler asked us to mention that there’s a (very unofficial) going-away party for him this Monday, March 7, at 8 p.m. (or so), at the Jezabels show at Schuba’s.

Bon voyage, Tyler! We’ll be rooting for you.

G. Coulson [Twitter]
Tyler Coulson [Facebook]

Earlier: Departing with Flair
When Paralegals Burn Bridges
Breaking: A Dramatic Farewell Email (And proof of Paul Hastings layoffs.)

SIDLEY AUSTIN — DEPARTURE MEMO — G. TYLER COULSON

From: Geo. Tyler Coulson
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 2:51 PM
To: +All Firm Lawyers; +All Firm Personnel; + All Firm Foreign Lawyers/Interns
Subject: Farewell.
Importance: High

Today is my last day at Sidley. You may keep in touch with me at [email protected], through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tyler.coulson, or via Twitter, @ibuildnosystem.

Beginning next week, I am walking from Delaware to California with a tent and my dog, Mabel. I will have limited access to email, but will check messages frequently.

Geo. Tyler Coulson


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