Most of us will need the services of an attorney sometime in our lives. From handling wills to real estate transactions to traffic violations and criminal offenses, law firms come in all sizes and shapes. In our culture, Americans tend to believe bigger is always better. However, in the case of law firms, this may not always be the case. In many cases, the most important legal decision a client must make is choosing the proper law firm to represent them. This can be the difference between a customized approach to your dilemma to a run-of-the mill plan with a foregone conclusion.
Today, many large law firms are in trouble. The larger the client, the better deal they are expecting and the lower the profit margin is for the firm. Large firms have huge overheads and many partners to feed. Thus, there is a limit to their ability to be flexible on billing solutions. Large firms have increased their fees substantially over the last few years to address this problem and many large customers are justifiably upset with this billing tactic. The very fact that the Association of Corporate Council has developed over recent years is a definitive indicator of this unease on the part of corporate customers.
Whenever the economy is tough, there are additional opportunities for smaller firms to steal away customers fed up with being bilked by larger firms. The work ethic of larger firms can be debilitating. Eighty hour weeks are more the norm than the exception. The lure of a unique practice with varied duties and opportunities can be very appealing to many large firm partners. Clients understand that there is a distinct advantage to the personal service many smaller firms can offer. Customer service is always in style and it is difficult to overstate the importance of these benefits to clients.
Attorney’s working in smaller firms tend to have a more relaxed and personal relationship with their clients that also reflects in their work. They can afford to care more about the outcome of their work. While large firms do have certain advantages, it is perhaps the most important client decision to determine what type of service will work best for them. More and more people are finding that the smaller law firms are fitting the bill.