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Large versus small Law Firms

Choosing between hiring a large or small law firm can be a difficult decision at times, especially with the plethora of advertisements that people receive every day that praise the accomplishments that large law firms can attain for their clients. Particularly, many clients tend to contact large law firms over small firms assuming automatically that the lawyers who work at large law firms are more qualified and experienced than lawyers who work at small law firms However, that is not always true because skilled lawyers permeate across the entire legal industry, whether they work in a large or small law firm. First, with the advancement of technology in the legal industry, small law firms have now been able to perform many of the assignments that only large law firms could tackle many years ago. As such, because many small law firms have now developed the capabilities to accept cases and projects that only large law firms could once manage, they are able to charge less for their services, thus increasing their chances of attracting more clients.

According to a study that was conducted by U.S. Consumer Law released in 2016, lawyers working at small law firms who have more than 10 years of experience will charge, on average, $377 for every billable hour compared to lawyers who work at large firms, who charge $473 an hour for the same services. Other studies have shown that attorneys who work for large law firms are usually more overworked. Thus, they stress more about how many clients they can manage at once. Attorneys in small law firms on the other hand will have more time to manage their time efficiently, devote their resources to assist their clients and provide the overall best outcomes for their clients.

Managing caseload and assignments is also connected to how attorneys operate their law firms because at small law firms, the attorneys are more likely to be monitoring the firm’s finances and profitability and thus this will help clients because clients are also dependent on a law firm’s financial success so that the clients are adequately compensated for their losses and injuries. Large law firms emphasize high billable hours rather than extensive client interactions, which causes large law firms to be less productive and thus lose their relationships with their clients. Small firms, however, place a higher emphasis on the client interaction, which makes overall client satisfaction with the lawyer’s work product better and allows small firms to generate more business in the process.

Additionally, one of the most important considerations is that at small law firms, the attorneys have a better chance of satisfying their client’s project deadlines rather than at large law firms. A survey conducted in January 2018 indicated that client dissatisfaction tends to be three times more at large law firms compared to small law firms. This is because smaller law firms treat their clients equally despite which client produces more money, whereas in large law firms the clients who generate the most money receive the most attention. Furthermore, whether or not the legal issue the client is dealing with is one that can easily be resolved or one that will take more time and resources to rectify, every client wants to know that the lawyer who has been assigned to the client’s case has the client’s best interests at heart and is working diligently to help the client prevail. Small firms tend to look for every technicality in a case that will help the client win, while large law firms tend to overlook these nuances which can negatively impact the client.

While large law firms claim that they have large teams working with them on a particular case, this can be a major disadvantage because often when large groups are working on one case for a client, there is a higher chance that there will be miscommunications and thus more mistakes when interpreting the client’s case. Another advantage that clients have when hiring a small law firm compared to a large law firm is that small law firms are typically more flexible and strategic in approaching the client’s case, so when an unforeseeable event occurs involving the client, the small law firm can adapt to it quickly. When it comes to push or shove, clients who employ small law firms to handle their case rather than large law firms have more confidence that the small law firm will perform the job successfully to the client’s standards which must be accomplished if any law firm wants to retain their former clients and bring in new clients.

 

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