After my last post (here), I have received a number of inquiries in person, via email and via text regarding yesterday's post. Here are answers to the most common questions. If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
1. Are you being forced out/let go? Absolutely not. The partners at the firm were quite surprised when I tendered my resignation.
2. Were there indications that you might not ever make partner or otherwise achieve long-term success with your firm? Again, absolutely not. The firm has roughly an 8 year track for associates to develop into partners, and (from what I understand, although I have no direct knowledge) a generous buy-in arrangement for incoming partners. 5 of the 14 partners started as associates at the firm, and another senior associate is on the cusp of being promoted to partner. All indications were that I was firmly on the 8 year track, and many of the partners have expressed their disappointment that I am leaving.
3. Did you have concerns with the firm (work product/ethics/etc.)? None whatsoever. The firm produced quality work in a timely manner and is extremely responsive to clients. I am proud to say I was an attorney at this firm, and would highly recommend them.
4. Were the hours bad? Yes and no. In January, I was frequently burning the midnight oil. In April, I was leaving at 5p.m. just about every day. But therein was the problem. I never knew what was in store for me. I could expect a day without much work and end up there till midnight. With my wife's crazy schedule, it was just too much for us.
5. How are you going to handle this financially? My wife's job will mean a significant pay cut for us. However, without getting into too many details, we have solved that difference by restructuring some loans and paying off a few others. The biggest savings though, is that my wife will receive free healthcare for herself, our child, and me. A savings of about $5,000/year over what we were paying. We also expect our debt payments to go down next year, and my wife's salary to go up. All in all, we actually expect to have a little more take home pay at the end of the day than we do now.
6. Was this a mutual decision? 100% yes. Without both of us being in total agreement about this, there is no way it will continue to work. I actually proposed the idea to my wife after talking with an attorney friend of mine about daycare and being able to stay home. My wife was receptive to the idea, but we had to sit down and take a long hard look at our finances first. After much discussion and many calculations, we determined that I could become a SAHD without having to financially sacrifice much of anything. Once that was decided, it was merely a decision of whether or not I thought I could handle being a SAHD, which I believe I can.