Rob Parks, former assistant chief of the DOJ’s criminal division’s fraud section joined the boutique law firm of Murphy & McGonigle following the new trend of government lawyers making a beeline for boutique law firms. It seems, both clients and seasoned lawyers are trying to avoid big law firms of late. This is a departure from the established train of lawyers leaving federal agencies and joining large corporate law firms.
Park admitted that a small law firm would provide a more supportive environment for developing his practice than big law firms where the pressures to generate business quickly would be more intense. Also, at present, big law firms are experiencing smaller profit margins and would be piling on more pressure for ready money.
Park said, “Large law firms have such a voracious need for new business that it makes the pressure all the more intense … I looked at several [larger firms] and I had some interest, but I didn’t get the sense it was going to be as supportive an environment during the period I was developing business. I thought I’d be on an island by myself.”
Justin Shur, former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, and who left the agency this year to join boutique law firm MoloLamken, echoed the opinions of Park to the Washington Post. Shur said, “More and more in-house lawyers are interested in hiring boutique firms for certain of matters that they previously looked to big law firms to handle … The value proposition is greater. I think experienced lawyers, including lawyers coming out of the government, are realizing that.”
Obviously, large law firms have higher overhead and in a market where money is scarce and businesses desperately restructuring themselves to optimize costs, boutique law firms have a greater appeal to both clients and veteran lawyers than big brands.