Firms do this in three primary ways. First, they allow you to “cross-market.” Say that you are a solo commercial litigator. Whenever you obtain work in a different area, such as corporate, RE or ERISA, you have to refer it out to some other attorney who can do the work. As a result, you are unable to get any credit or compensation for the work. But if you are in the right kind of firm, you could send such work to your partners in the appropriate departments. You get credit for it, and you get paid for it. Plus your partners get more work. Everybody wins.
Second, you can get additional clients and work by using the flip side of cross-marketing. Again, if you are a commercial litigation partner in a firm, you can be introduced to the many clients serviced by other lawyers in other practice areas. This allows you the opportunity to market your services and obtain more work from other clients of the firms. This is also a huge advantage over being a solo. As the saying goes, it is far easier to get business from a client you already have than from a stranger client that is being solicited by numerous other lawyers.
Third, even with respect to soliciting “stranger” or prospective new clients for business, there are major advantages in doing it as a partner of a reputable firm. Not only are there the cross-marketing opportunities, but there is also the greater prestige, reach and resources that the firm offers to prospective clients.
The bottom line is that for solo practioners now is the perfect time to contact a top notch recruiter and investigate firm opportunities. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If you find the right firm, your work and your income will substantially increase. If you don’t, you have lost nothing and still have obtained valuable knowledge. Perhaps soloing really is best for you. But can you be sure without investigating the alternatives?