Writing your law firm departure memo: there’s an app for that? Well, not yet. (But you can certainly download the Above the Law app and read past farewell memos for inspiration.)
For now, the closest you can get is by starting your departure memo with a quotation from the late, great Steve Jobs. Like this one: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers….”
Yes, that’s how one fairly senior associate at a top law firm began his good-bye email. We received it from a few tipsters, one of whom called it “the best departure memo ever.”
We sometimes keep the authors of departure memos anonymous (and sometimes our sources send us the memos with the authors’ names already removed). In this case, though, we have the permission of the author to use his name. (It will become clear later why he has no problem with being identified.)
Meet David J. Tayar, a corporate lawyer at Paul Weiss and a McGill graduate. Sometimes Above the Law readers respectfully dissent from my aesthetic judgments, but I think you’ll agree with me that Tayar is pretty hot. Admire his piercing blue eyes, plus a jaw that could cut glass (or at least a law firm conference table). What more could you ask for?
Sorry, back to the memo. After kicking things off with the Jobs quote, Tayar writes:
Peace out, guys, or, as every other departure memo goes: “Today is my last day at Paul, Weiss.”
There’s a big stereotype about lawyers, and an even bigger one about Jewish lawyers. As many of my co-workers have said, I am the poster boy for these stereotypes. Me with a credit agreement, I was told, is like a pit-bull with a bone. The analogy isn’t perfect (they never are), but you get the bloody picture (pun intended).
By way of background, David Tayar was a financing lawyer. We’re not going near the ethnic joke.
After nearly 10 years of going to work in squares’ clothes I can now reveal to everyone that those “grown up” clothes made me unhappy in the sartorial sense. I’m much more comfortable being the d00d in Dquared2 running shoes, Diesel jeans, and ripped Michael Bastian t-shirts. I could only stifle my creative clothing choices for so long; today I sent all my button-downs and slacks to Good Will. So long PW nerd clothes! My new job has no dress code; every day is casual Friday.
Some law firm attorneys dress like fashion victims, but not this one. According to one of our Paul Weiss sources, Tayar “dressed like a rock star — white or black jeans, and shirts barely buttoned up. Quite a contrast to the other clothes around here.”
Back to the memo:
It’s common knowledge around here that in 2005 I founded Assara Laser with Will Shuman, a former Paul, Weiss associate. Assara Laser is in expansion mode and potential franchisees have been knocking on our doors with increasing frequency. I’ll be rejoining the company on the cusp of a powerful upswing (more on that later). From bank financing to a soon-to-be laser hair removal giant operating across the US . . . a logical transition, no?
Actually, it’s not that crazy; we’ve written frequently about lawyers turned entrepreneurs. Indeed, many of the richest lawyers in America made their fortunes after leaving the practice of law to plunge into business.
In the next three paragraphs of the memo, which we’ve reprinted in full on the next page, Tayar gives special shout-outs to three of his mentors at the firm. They’re wonderfully crafted portraits of partners; with a few details about each, Tayar gives the reader a sense of what they are like, both as lawyers and as people.
Here’s how Tayar concludes his colorful missive:
Let me stop the ink with some info on what happens from here on in. Tomorrow I return to Assara Laser as its President and General Counsel. Assara Laser is the go-to place in Manhattan for laser hair removal, laser spider vein removal, laser facials, and microdermabrasion. Many Paul, Weiss employees are already long-time clients of ours, but to thank the Paul, Weiss community at large, I have personally authorized a 50% discount on any single treatment or package of treatments to the first 25 Paul, Weiss partners, associates, and support staff who call 212.956.2691, and mention code: “PW 50.” This promo code is active as of today. Learn more about us at www.assaralaser.com. I can always be reached at email@example.com, and will be (most of the time) at our flagship Fifth Avenue location….
Oh, just one last thing. The late and great Steve Jobs reminded us that good artists borrow, great artists steal. So let me end with a stolen phrase: “If one million angels sang a chorus of praise from the peaks of the Himalayas, it might just begin to match the gratitude that I have for you all.”
We reached out to Tayar to find out how his unorthodox memo has been received. Here’s what he wrote:
[T]he feedback I’ve been receiving has been phenomenal. Honestly, hundreds of emails from supporters at PW. I wonder if they’re liking the discount I’ve authorized or if it was the memo that really inspired them. It seems like its a combination of the two.
Even if Tayar’s leave-taking sounds logical — despite his praise for “the crazy ones,” departing a firm to join a successful and growing business seems far from insane — some of our tipsters expressed surprise. “People were never expecting this associate to leave,” one told us. “He was one of the top financing guys in the group and one of the few associates who brought in clients. So everyone was floored when he announced his departure in such a cool way.”
Said a second:
It’s such a shock to everyone because he didn’t tell anyone he was leaving…. He was one of the top financing associates coming out of PW…. Was surprising he left, but on the other hand, we all expected David to do big things.
It’s nice that he’s offering some of us a discount at Assara. I was caller #22 and I’m going to do laser hair removal on my back. There are some hairy lawyers at PW, so this is a sweet deal!
Generous humor, genuine sentiment, and a discount for laser hair removal. What more could you ask for in a law firm departure memo?