What’s your type? Finding the law firm for you

Does the type of law firm that you’re working for matter? It’s a question that you may ask at some point during your career. Whether you’re newly graduated and figuring out your journey – or part way through your career and wondering about a change. There are some factors to consider with this question – so let’s get into it!

types of law firms

Practice area – what type of lawyer are you?

Perhaps the most defining part of this question – what area of law are you/will you be working in? This really determines your day-to-day reality. Different types of law firms will have different types of cases, clients and priorities.
For example, if you’re interested in commercial law and want to work on high profile cases – you’re better off in a large law firm with the scope for that.
If you’re more interested in local public legal matters like legal aid family law or residential property, a smaller high street firm is a great option for you.
Make sure that you’re happy with your practice area choice before pondering too much about types of law firms. That won’t matter if you’re unhappy with your practice area!

Large firms

Large law firms are attractive. They’re often national – sometimes international. They signify potential, opportunity, variety. However, this doesn’t suit everyone. Competition can be fierce in larger law firms and career progression may be slower. Large law firms are structured, well-oiled machines, so you’ll likely have a routine that doesn’t veer off course very often. (This is not always the case of course!)
You will have more chance of gaining work on international cases, quality of work is generally higher and there may be scope to move into operational/professional support roles, developing your career in different ways.
On the social side, you can expect charity work, planned social activities and some great benefits (both personally and professionally!).
Large law firms are challenging environments to find your footing in, but that may well be exactly what you’re after!

Smaller/high street firms

Smaller law firms are personable. They’re rooted in local communities, offering lots of client contact and opportunities for you to actually see the impact that your work is making. Developing your career and reputation can be easier at a smaller law firm, due to the higher possibility of hands on training. There is also less battle for career progression.
However, cases are likely to be lower profile and there may be fewer benefits or perks. You may also be expected to pick up work in other areas when work is particularly busy. Again, this is not always the case! Some smaller firms have great quality cases and invest in their staff where possible.
Smaller firms may also offer more flexibility in your daily routine and greater autonomy over your work. You can expect close working relationships with partners and other colleagues. There may be a better emphasis on work/life balance (unless it’s a particularly busy time for your small department!).
Smaller or high street law firms are often a real team effort – maybe you’re ready to get stuck in!

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Think about where you’d feel most at home. Culture and comfortability are highly important. Take your time and do your research!

Still can’t decide? Get in touch with us to chat more
Small or large firms – we have vacancies for both!
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