When evaluating a firm’s culture by looking at its clients, it’s important to ask: Who is the firm representing? Is the firm representing young start-ups or large companies?
As firms become more institutionalized and dependent on their revenue streams from larger clients, they can become more conservative in their thinking, practicing, and advising, and certainly more risk-averse for fear of losing that client. This is when associates and partners, too, can become more conservative, and create and develop a culture at the firm where everyone is worried about saying the wrong thing. This type of culture can be good and comforting, though, for some people in that it carries a great deal of predictability.
The types of clients a firm has can help shape the culture and fabric of the firm. Of course, these observations do not apply to all firms, but it is only natural that the types and number of clients a firm has affects how it operates. The effects can be seen in the dress code a firm employs. Many law firms established a business-casual dress to attract the younger technology clients. To attract today’s dressed-down industries, some law firms encourage their lawyers to wear casual clothes to the office to “mirror” the environment of their clients so that they feel understood and “at home” when working with their attorneys. In other cases, only white shirts and ties for men are acceptable while meeting and working with clients from more hierarchical, established organizations.
See the following articles for more information:
- Will I Be Happier at Another Firm, or Are They All Just Basically the Same?
- Firm Culture Matters Most
- Zen, Gestalt & Law Firm Culture
- The Best Ways to Get a Reduced-Hour Position Inside of a Law Firm
- Why Do Attorneys in Large Law Firms Work So Hard and Bill So Many Hours?
- How Important Is It to Work at a Major Law Firm?