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Ex-Govt. Lawyers Shun BigLaw for Small, Boutique Firms

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on September 13, 2012 6:58 AM

Lawyers who leave government service aren't necessarily going to BigLaw anymore; many are moving to small boutique firms instead.

For a long time big corporate firms were the next career step for government attorneys looking to get out of politics. But the economy hasn't just affected recent grads.

It's also decreased profits for large firms which makes them less attractive, reports the ABA Journal. Now it's the smaller firms that have the perks to attract top talent.

One of the things small firms can offer more easily is flexibility.

Since they don't have the huge overhead of large firms they can be more flexible about client acquisition, according to The Washington Post. The support for gradually developing a solid client base is part of what drew Justice Department lawyer Rob Park to a smaller firm.

Boutique firms also have an opportunity to grow while larger multi-national firms are still trying to downsize or at least keep their numbers steady.

These attributes are also good news for clients who are looking to get the best service.

Small firms generally have more experienced associates doing most if not all of the work for a client's case. Companies aren't as interested in paying top dollar for junior associates to do the majority of the work so some are turning to boutique law firms.

This trend could be bad news for big firms that are only just starting to recover from the economic downturn. Experienced government lawyers who go private often have valuable insight and can be a great selling point for potential clients.

Whether this government lawyer trend will continue remains to be seen but it does signal a general move by some clients away from Big Law. Might be time to recalibrate your plans toward a small boutique firm.

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