I grew up on a small town (6,000 people), graduated from a small, liberal arts college (my four-year college had fewer students than my law school), and practiced at a small firm (fewer than 20 attorneys). All of these “small” experiences had some positive impact on my life so it’s no surprise that I love Small Business Saturday—there’s something special in all things small!
In the spirit of Small Business Saturday, I began to think about why a law student or lawyer would choose to work in a small firm over a large firm; here are my top 5 reasons:
- Family. You are not a number at a small firm; rather, you are part of a family. I haven’t practiced law since 2006 yet each year since, I’ve received an invitation to my former firm’s holiday gathering at the managing partner’s house.
- Entrepreneurial. You are encouraged to be creative and use your business mindset. From brainstorming sessions in a room with whiteboard walls to rewards for originating clients of any size, you’ll find these entrepreneurial incentives at small firms.
- Sophisticated Clients. An increasing number of sophisticated clients are choosing small firms over Biglaw as outlined in General Counsel Increasingly Dumping the top Biglaw Firms.
- Lifestyle. You may not work fewer hours at every small firm but you have more control over the hours you work. There’s less “face time” and more opportunity to “fit” your personal obligations in your professional schedule.
- Responsibilities. Finally, you assume more responsibilities at small firms. You communicate with clients, appear in court, and participate in key meetings.