Which Type of Law Firm Is Best for You and Your Career: Main Offices of Large National Firms, Branch Offices of Large National Firms, Midsized Firms, Boutiques, or Newer Fast-Growing Firms?
  • What is the difference between working in a Big Law firm and a Boutique Law firm?
    Working in a Big Law firm typically provides attorneys with higher salaries, more sophisticated work, and access to highly important clients. On the other hand, Boutique Law Firms offer young attorneys more exposure to clients and hands-on experience but often come with a lower salary and a less talented workforce.
  • Are Fast-Growing Law Firms good for attorneys?
    Fast-Growing Law Firms can offer associates access to work, responsibility, and rapid advancement opportunities. However, they also lack managerial skills and can be vulnerable to mergers which may lead to firm collapse.
  • What can lead to an attorney's long-term success?
    An attorney's long-term success depends on their ability to choose the right firm that offers access to work, responsibility, and rapid advancement opportunities. They should also look for firms with supportive staff and top talent.
  • What factors should attorneys consider when choosing a law firm?
    Attorneys should consider the firm's size, reputation, type of work, salary and benefits, access to clients and mentors, and growth potential when selecting a law firm. They should also assess the working environment to ensure it suits their career goals.
  • What can happen if an attorney chooses the wrong law firm?
    If an attorney makes a poor choice of law firm they choose, their legal career could be negatively impacted. This could lead to lost opportunities, damaged reputation, and impaired professional growth. Poorly managed firms may also be prone to mergers or collapse, damaging an attorney's prospects.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

When attorneys are looking for positions or making career choices, they typically choose among the following five types of law firms:
The firm an attorney selects will likely significantly impact that attorney’s career. Yet even though firm type selection is so critical to an attorney’s success and happiness, most attorneys make job choices without understanding the key differences in firm type and without appreciating the impact firm type will have on their careers. These issues affect partners and associates alike, and unfortunately, more attorney careers fail because of improper firm-type selection than for any other reason.

The differences in firm types primarily revolve around power dynamics and how firms distribute power among the lawyers who work there. Other issues also come into play, and the differences impact compensation, job security, job satisfaction, training opportunities, future options for lateral movement, and more.