var googletag = googletag || {}; googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || []; googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); });
device = device.default;
//this function refreshes [adhesion] ad slot every 60 second and makes prebid bid on it every 60 seconds // Set timer to refresh slot every 60 seconds function setIntervalMobile() { if (! return if (adhesion) setInterval(function(){ googletag.pubads().refresh([adhesion]); }, 60000); } if(device.desktop()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [468, 60], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if(device.tablet()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if( { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } googletag.cmd.push(function() { // Enable lazy loading with... googletag.pubads().enableLazyLoad({ // Fetch slots within 5 viewports. // fetchMarginPercent: 500, fetchMarginPercent: 100, // Render slots within 2 viewports. // renderMarginPercent: 200, renderMarginPercent: 100, // Double the above values on mobile, where viewports are smaller // and users tend to scroll faster. mobileScaling: 2.0 }); });

How to politely turn down a job offer

( 400 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Not too long ago, I was forwarded the following email, which probably circulated among tens of thousands of attorneys. I will quote it in full below, since it is so instructive:
How to politely turn down a job offer
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
From: ###
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 p.m.
To: @@@
I have thought about this email numerous times since I received it and believe it is very useful for framing any discussion regarding how to turn down an offer. Invariably, most attorneys and law students eventually find themselves in positions where they receive offers from employers and decide—for a variety of reasons—to turn down those offers. When you receive an offer you are going to turn down, there are several things you need to remember.

First, regardless of what city you are in, the legal community is small. Even in a city as large as New York, you are likely to come across attorneys in your practice area again and again throughout your career. You will run into them at bar events. You will encounter them in the course of your practice. Some of these attorneys may join firms or companies you are with in the future. Numerous encounters will happen. You always want to have good public relations on your side.

If you burn bridges or anger people when turning down an offer, they will resent this, and they will most likely get back at you in some way. You need to be very careful. No one is omnipotent.

Second, if you received an offer, there was most likely some sort of connection between you and the employer—something clicked. You received an offer because someone liked you and believed that you could do a good job with his or her firm. You need to embrace people who believe in you and treat them well. Not doing this is a huge mistake. The most important people to you in your career are the people who believe in you. Do not forget this.

I remember hearing a very famous and successful lawyer address a group of people. I would estimate that this particular attorney had a book of business in excess of $10,000,000, and he was very impressive, personally and professionally, on numerous levels. This attorney stated that the biggest mistakes he made in his career were not being better friends with people in law school and not getting closer to attorneys he met when he was younger. I thought a lot about this and realized that one of the biggest mistakes people make is not having better relationships with people. You never know who can help you along the way to success in your career.

Third, in the future you may need a job at the firm whose offer you turned down. The marketability of an attorney in a given practice area or firm can change at the speed of light. One day corporate is the hottest practice area; the next it is the worst practice area, and attorneys are forced to change careers because it is so slow. You simply never know, and you need to be very careful. Do not overestimate yourself.

Throughout my career as a legal recruiter, I have seen many an attorney receive an offer and turn it down for a job at a larger firm, a higher-paying job—you name it—and then several months later lose the job or decide that the job is not what he or she wants. You need to understand that where you are today in terms of your marketability may not be where you are tomorrow. Regardless of where you went to law school or what firm you are currently at, everything can change in an instant. Do not forget this.

Fourth, if you conduct yourself well, the employer may come back with a counteroffer. I have seen associates offered partner positions after turning down less desirable offers from the same firms. I have seen salaries increased and all sorts of other great things happen. You do not need to give specific reasons for turning down an offer—but you need to remember that, if you conduct yourself with class, you do not know what sorts of good things may happen. Be very alert that something that seems like a negative could turn out to be a real positive if handled well. You just never know.

This brings me to my answer to the question. When you turn down an offer, you need to make the party whose offer you are turning down think it is the hardest decision you have ever made. You want that person on your side. You want turning down the offer to be a positive experience for both of you. You want that person to be your advocate in the future—you want him or her by your side, regardless of what you may believe at this moment. You need to create a positive aura around you and your career; use the offer as an opportunity to do this.

Submit Your Resume to BCG Attorney Search and Get Feedback

Click here to contact Harrison

Want to continue reading ?

Become a subscriber to LawCrossing's Job Seeker articles.

Once you become a subscriber you will have unlimited access to all of LawCrossing Job Seeker's articles.

There is absolutely no cost!

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

Featured Testimonials

Your website helped me find a new job for which I am very grateful.
Ernest G.


LawCrossing Fact #127: Don’t be caught off guard by getting stuck in a rut. Our experts tell you every week what the latest trends are in every job sector.


Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

Let's Do It!

Only LawCrossing consolidates every job it can find in the legal industry and puts all of the job listings it locates in one place.

  • We have more than 25 times as many legal jobs as any other job board.
  • We list jobs you will not find elsewhere that are hidden in small regional publications and employer websites.
  • We collect jobs from more than 250,000 websites and post them on our site.
  • Increase your chances of being seen! Employers on public job boards get flooded with applications. Our private job boards ensure that only members can apply to our job postings.
About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

Success Stories

LawCrossing is fantastic! When I am looking for a job, it is the first place I come to. The service is very good and I enjoyed the emails. LawCrossing has more jobs and it is more tailored. Other sites gave a lot of irrelevant results. Your site may have a great algorithm, but it felt like an actual person choosing jobs they felt would be good based on my search. I will always recommend this site!
  • Ann Harris Harvey, LA