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5 Reasons You Should Love Working in a Small Law Firm

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

For a long time, the track to success for lawyers was to get into a BigLaw firm and make one's way to partnership. Fortunately, attitudes about this have changed recently.

Still, it would go too far to say that lots of lawyers are falling over themselves to work in smaller firms because of perceived drop in prestige. But dogged refusal to work in a smaller firm forecloses a lot of real value to the practicing attorney. There are a lot of benefits to working in a small firm. Here are just a few.

1. More Litigation Experience

One consistent advantage to working in a smaller firm is the increased chance that you'll get to experience actual courtroom time. At the larger firm, you're more than likely just an associate who pushes papers and puts together memoranda and briefs. The firm will first place you in a position where you will do maximum work and do as little damage to a case as possible. Think doc review. If you're lucky, you'll move upward.

2. Varied Work

For attorneys who do not know what area of law they'd like to focus on, having exposure to multiple areas of practice can be a real eye opener. Personal experience has steered me clearly away from family law, for example. But many people still continue to hold erroneous beliefs about particular areas of law when real exposure would cure those incorrect perceptions quickly.

3. Flexible Hours

Smaller firms generally are more flexible with how attorneys spend their time. This can also be looked at as a mixed bag too. "Flexible" could mean "not busy" as in "not billing." In either case, the expectations and requirements of billable hours usually falls with the size of the firm.

4. Shorter Partnership Track

In many smaller firms, partnership is only a couple of years away. Once that happens, it becomes much easier to arrange perks and benefits as the fruits of your hard work.

5. Less "Corporate" Politics

Finally, and perhaps no less important, is the fact that smaller firms generally tend to be much less cut-throat and greasily political. No doubt about it: there's a lot of empty smiles and brown-nosers at large law firms and there's pretty much nothing you can do about that. Even though expectations about old school law firm traditions are changing, some things continue to stay the same. At the smaller firm, there's much less politics to worry about.

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