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Golden Parachute

Dear Dave
I have been an associate with a 30-person civil consulting firm for 12 years, responsible for bringing in and managing 70% of the firm’s billings. I will be leaving the firm and would like an idea of appropriate severance compensation. I am told in other industries 3 to 4 weeks per year of service is appropriate.

Dear MD
Short of a specific agreement between you and your employer to the contrary, there is no universal standard for severance pay. Based on my experience, how much (if any) severance is granted is usually based on the circumstances surrounding each particular separation. The more “mutually agreed” the parting, and the larger the firm, the more likely significant severance will be available. When someone is forced to leave a firm, for cause, severance is usually limited to a couple of weeks at best.

Based on your self-described value to your firm, assuming you’re leaving of your own volition, I can’t imagine your firm would be in any sort of position (or mood) to pay you much severance. They’ll need to conserve every bit of their financial resources to fill the huge hole your leaving the firm is going to create.

Wahby and Associates