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Four Mistakes Attorneys Make about Law Firms That Affect Their Long-Term Success
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Summary: Learn what mistakes even highly qualified attorneys make when selecting a law firm to work for so that you don’t make the same mistake.

Read Four Fatal Mistakes Highly Qualified Attorneys Make When Choosing Law Firms to learn more.


Succeeding as an attorney is often difficult because there are so many mistakes that can and are made along the way. If attorneys knew what mistakes they were making and how to avoid those mistakes, they would have much better chances of being happy and successful in their career. Harrison Barnes explains the four most dangerous mistakes attorneys make when selecting a law firm to work for and how to avoid them.

Read Criticism Can Eat Attorneys Alive, Diminishing All Happiness in the Job.

Large law firms are a unique place that not many attorneys can actually fit in to. Unfortunately, large law firms are where many attorneys want to end up because of the prestige and money involved. Large law firms want a perfect fit – someone who is hard working, qualified, motivated, a social fit, and able to contribute as expected. Law firms are not always able to determine if an attorney is weak in an area so they hire them but the situation does not last. Attorneys are more concerned with accepting any job offer instead of making the effort to make sure the fit is good.

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See Why Most Attorneys Are Unhappy.

The four things “qualified” attorneys fail to consider are the stage the law firm is in, where the firm is located, the types of clients the law firm serves, and the culture of the law firm.

  1. All law firms are at a stage in the life-cycle. They start off strong but may eventually die off. Each law firms reaches the stages at different times and stay at the stage for different lengths of time. Depending on where the firm is in their life-cycle will affect what they expect from their attorneys and how successful you will be with them.
  2. The geographic location of the law firm will affect its success thus affecting your chances of success. Deciding whether you want to be in a major market, smaller market, or mid-sized market is a big choice.
  3. Prestigious law firms are more focused on businesses and not individual consumers. Knowing who you want to work with will play a role in whether you will be happy as an attorney in a large law firm. There are pros and cons to working with businesses and individuals, it just matters what factors are more important to you.
  4. The culture of a law firm is extremely important in how successful you will be as an attorney with that law firm. If you are not a good fit with the firm’s culture, it will either end with the firm firing you or you quitting on your own. Either way, the relationship won’t last. Getting down and really researching what values are important with each law firm is critical for long-term success.

Do you think an attorney can be happy at a law firm they don’t fit in with? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about being happy as an attorney, read Be Happy as an Attorney or Find Something New.





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