Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

Should I stay or should I go? The Pros and Cons of working for Big Law

Who doesn’t like to be their own boss? When you work for yourself you make all the rules,you gotta love that. As a small law firm there aren’t layers and layers of management to approve changes. Small firms usually have a good work-life balance which means their office has a more relaxed atmosphere.

Being the boss is a twenty-four / seven  365 days a year job. Health insurance, self-employment tax, and income tax will eat you alive. You become a slave to your business, you wear all the hats.  Sure you can outsource some of the work, but if anything goes wrong, you own it.  Being a small firm means you have a limited budget, as such most of the administrative work and research is done by you.

Then there is malpractice, there is no safety net.

Leverage the expansive network a big law firm offers. Keep your client’s dealings within the firm, often aspects of a case may require specialized legal expertise. Big firms retain specialists for that very reason.

Big firm’s today don’t focus on training or mentoring, it’s all about billable hours. All things being equal, there is ample opportunity to align yourself with colleagues who will help make you a better lawyer.

Either track demands hours and hours of your time, it’s stressful. Big firms do offer paid vacation. Face it, if you’re not bringing in new business you can’t afford to take the time off anyway. Lawyers at the larger firms earn a respectable salary, and with that wage are high expectations. Measure up or you’re out the door.

Just because you’re billing hours means you’re safe, when you work for yourself or for a large firm, it can get nasty out there. Often your boss will take credit for your work. Solopreneurs face large firms trying to lure away your biggest account that keeps your boutique firm afloat.

Working for a big law means you report to several partners, it’s often difficult to discern the every changing, policies and procedures. Every boss wants things done a certain way, it can get damn confusing. Those who discern the bull from the business thrive, the world is your oyster.

Don’t get comfortable, it’s a highly competitive, demanding field.

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About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Tobak, S. (August 19, 2014). 10 Pitfalls of Being Your Own Boss. Self-Employment, Entrepreneur.

MacMillan, K. (February 25, 2014). A Lawyer’s Guide to Working for Small vs. Large Law Firms – 36 Tips. R. Johnson Legal Recruitment.

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