What Factors Should I Consider When Thinking of Moving from a Big Downtown Firm to a Smaller One? | BCGSearch.com

What Factors Should I Consider When Thinking of Moving from a Big Downtown Firm to a Smaller One?


Print/Download PDF

Font Size

Rate this article

28 Reviews Average: 4.8 out of 5

Question:I work downtown, but I am considering an opportunity at a firm closer to my home in the suburbs. What factors should I be considering?
What factors should I consider when thinking of moving from a big downtown firm to a smaller one?

Answer: I talk to many associates in large cities who have to commute long distances in order to reach their large firm's location downtown. Living in the suburbs has its appeal for many attorneys, but large firms still tend to be located in the city center in most metropolitan areas. Therefore, a move to a firm in the suburbs requires careful consideration for several reasons.

First: Firms in the suburbs tend to be smaller in size and often service a more local clientele. This means several things for you as a lawyer. It means that the type of work will be very different, and it also means that your role may change significantly. You will not be working for the huge clients that you have perhaps grown accustomed to in the large firm.In addition, the level of sophistication may also be reduced. Similarly, smaller firms are almost always more leanly staffed than large firms, so you may get more responsibility earlier in your career. If you are a junior attorney, you may find yourself thrown into the fire. If you are an attorney seeking more hands-on experience, then a suburban firm may be just what you are seeking. However, if you find that you need more experience under your belt before you truly have the confidence to run with the ball, a small firm in the suburbs may overwhelm you.

Second: As a suburban lawyer, you will likely be required to cultivate your own business sooner rather than later. Smaller firms tend to operate on a much more hand-to-mouth basis than larger firms. This means that, unlike large firms, you will probably not be able to make partner while servicing someone else's clients for your entire career. If you are the type of person who naturally has many connections and wants to cultivate business, you may be extremely successful at a small firm. It also means that if you show an early aptitude for cultivating business, you may make partner much sooner than at a large firm. It is important to ask yourself what kind of lawyer you are or hope to be before you make this transition.

Third: You may find it challenging to transition back to a large firm after working at a small suburban firm(for the same reason as it is very hard to go back to a large law firm after working in-house). Choosing a small firm in the suburbs sends a clear signal that you want a steadier, more predictable, and perhaps more comfortable life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this choice, but you should do your best to ensure that it is the right choice for you in the long term. It tells the large firms that you chose your position in part for the lifestyle, a choice which large firms tend to frown upon. Once you leave a large, downtown firm, it is unlikely that you can ever go back.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

AGREE/DISAGREE? SHARE COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY! We Want to Hear Your Thoughts! Tell Us What You Think!!

Related Articles

We've changed thousands of lives over the past 20 years, and yours could be next.

When you use BCG Attorney Search you will get an unfair advantage because you will use the best legal placement company in the world for finding permanent law firm positions.