5 Reasons Why Working In A Small Law Firm Is Awesome

//5 Reasons Why Working In A Small Law Firm Is Awesome

I recently came across this highly entertaining and informative response to a post on Quora about the trappings of working in a big law firm. The comment thread is just as interesting and worth the read if you have 10 minutes to spare.

Many of the follow up comments suggest moving out of BigLaw into a smaller practice, with people citing their own experience as the best reason to make the switch.

My own working experience is somewhat similar. After moving from my first marketing job out of university to a global media conglomerate, it didn’t take long for me to realize working in a large, traditional corporate wasn’t for me. I simply didn’t find the sense of purpose or ownership that I craved. Since moving on I’ve been much happier working in a smaller, more progressive environment, where I get to speak to other entrepreneurial types and see the difference my work makes – within our company and with our small firm clients.

So, here are five reasons why bigger is not better when it comes to Law Firms.

1. See the difference you make

Working in a small firm means you get to spend your time with people in need. It’s not just about documents… you get to build relationships and see the human side of legal work.

2. Own your work

As an attorney in a small firm you are responsible for your firm’s success, and your own success. The fewer people there are in a firm, the greater the accountability and the rewards for each person.

3. More time for you

A career in law doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to your weekends. Working in a small firm allows attorneys to get off the “billing treadmill” and often provides greater flexibility. It’s much easier to set boundaries with clients when you have a strong personal relationship with them, and it’s easier to be flexible on working hours in a smaller, more collegiate work environment.

4. No two days are the same

A job in a small firm may not be as stable as a job in a big firm, but its more varied. Solo and small firm attorneys often receive exposure to many different areas of law, even if the firm has a  narrow specialization. You can also get stuck into practice management, from IT to marketing to staff management. Some people love the challenge of running a business, and a small law firm provides that opportunity.

5. Shorter track to partnership

For ambitious young attorneys, being hands-on and self-sufficient in a small firm means a faster rise to the top, with less competition and politics in the way.

These are just some of the benefits of “working small”. If you’ve taken the plunge and started your own firm, or are part of a small team of legal practitioners serving your community – congratulations. You’ve got plenty to look forward to, and you might just be doing better than you think!

(Want to make your small firm more awesome? Check out Smokeball’s case management software.)

By |August 27th, 2013|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.