"What are some things I can say to a smaller firm, from a top-10 graduate, to convince them I'm a good hire?"
So the thing with smaller firms is, in every market, there's smaller firms. If you went to a top 10 law school, in almost every market there's gonna be smaller firms with other graduates of top 10 law schools. It doesn't matter where you are. You could be in Upstate New York. You could be in a suburb 45 miles outside of a major city, where there's not a lot of people. But there's top 10 graduates at firms all over the country. So if you want to work with other good top 10 graduates or top 20 graduates, you can always find a position in a firm where there's other people like you. And you can say that I'm looking forward to working with a smaller firm, to less stress, to a more collegial environment, to everything. And you have to think about why you'd want to work in a smaller market.
But if you can come up with good reasons that are gonna appeal to that firm, then that's good. Your reasons for working with a small firm shouldn't necessarily have anything to do with not liking large firms. They should have to do with conscious decisions that you've made, that you want to have more client contact, for example. So smaller firms will have more client contact. That you wanna get more individualized training with attorneys as opposed to working with a lot of different people. And you shouldn't go in trying to convince people that's really what you wanna do, if you don't. But if you do want to do something like that then you have to come up with the reasons and get yourself psyched up to do that. And think about how you can do that.