Many legal professionals aspire to work for one of the big legal firms. The prestige of being employed by such a name combined with the higher salary levels that are invariably on offer can mean it’s very rewarding. However, many thousands of lawyers are employed by smaller firms and there are distinct advantages.
Why work for a small firm?
You’re likely to have a lot more visibility and influence in the firm and you can typically expect faster career progression potential, a quicker and easier route to a partnership and more contact with clients.
You may also find there’s a more relaxed atmosphere and that you can be more flexible in your working hours, however this is not guaranteed.
Moving to a West End firm
A West End firm is likely to have fewer institutional clients than a City firm so you’ll have greater scope for business development. When recruiting, these firms typically look for business rather than technical skills. As a result, you will have more opportunities open to you if you have a following.
Less support, lower salary
One of the main advantages of working for a smaller legal firm is the potential to work in some unique practice areas.
The disadvantages of working for a smaller law firm are that you will have to do more of the work yourself as there will be fewer support staff available to help you. You may also find your opportunity to network is more limited and you are likely to earn less – possibly considerably less – than professionals working for a large law firm.
Main practice areas
Key job areas include data protection, commercial and company law, outsourcing and technology. There is also notable demand for regulatory lawyers with a financial services background.
Opportunities to specialise?
One of the main advantages of working for a smaller legal firm is the potential to work in some unique practice areas. Specifically, we have seen roles specialising in music, online gaming, technology, pensions, funds and employment law.