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Boutique Life Is the Right Fit for Some Attorneys
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Summary: Some attorneys will find happiness and success working for a small law firm that is not possible in working for big law firms.

Trying to figure out where you best belong as an attorney can be a struggle. Not everyone belongs in a law firm, in-house, or in a boutique but figuring out which place is the right fit is not always straightforward. Harrison Barnes explains who fits best in a boutique in the article, “25 Reasons Why Boutique Firms Are the Best Choice for Many Attorneys and Can Be Much Safer Than Larger Law Firms.”


Everyone wants to fit into a big law firm because of the glamorous and prestigious lifestyle they think comes with it. The idea of living high in the “big city” is exciting but when it comes down to it, the life isn’t what most attorneys actually want to live. These attorneys change themselves to fit the job, morphing into someone they are not. Attorneys that come out of smaller law firms are often able to maintain more stability in their career and life.

Attorneys that specialize in a particular practice area may find more success in a smaller law firm. They are able to focus on their niche such as tax, healthcare, ERISA, plaintiff’s work, patent prosecution, family law, employment, sports law, fashion law, white collar criminal work, entertainment, appellate law, and more.  Smaller law firms often develop into the best in their specific practice area. This gives those firms amazing reputations, pricing power, and access to the best work, which are all desirable things for an attorney.

This is especially true for attorneys that practice in areas that are not necessarily profitable for large law firms. Specialties like insurance defense, family law, criminal law, trust and estates, public interest, entertainment law, and most plaintiff’s work will do better in a small law firm setting.

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An attorney wanting to work with small businesses will have to work in a small law firm. Small businesses cannot afford the high rates that big law firms charge. The flexibility to cater your business to what you want it and need it to be can only be achieved in a small law firm. Senior attorneys often get squeezed out before they are ready to be done working. The option of moving to a small law firm to continue working is great for attorneys with over eight years of experience and not already striking it big in a large law firm. A small law firm is also a good option for those attorneys that have large books of business but don’t feel they are getting the proper compensation for the business they bring in.

Making it to the level of partner in a large law firm can take years and is not a guarantee. For attorneys that are desperately seeking the title of partner in a law firm, they will find a better chance of being given partner status in small law firms.

When an attorney has gone through all their options in big law firms, they will find they will be better off in a small firm. Attorneys have to stay employed to remain marketable. An unemployed attorney will have an almost impossible chance of getting employment as an attorney. If the only job an attorney can find is with a small firm, the position is better than being completely shut out of the industry.

Small law firms offer the flexibility that many need to keep working, if even just part-time. Female attorneys wanting to spend more time at home raising their children will find better options with small law firms. Many of these firms will allow this attorney to use the title “counsel” even when they only work part-time so that it appears on their resume that they have maintained continuous employment throughout their career.

There are many more reasons that attorneys might find a better fit in a small law firm compared to large law firms. Attorneys should weigh the pros and cons that relate to their career goals. Being happy in their job is critical for an attorney to last more than a few years. Attorneys should not become discouraged if large law firms are not the right place for them.

To learn more about what it takes to be successful as an attorney, read these articles:




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