Work + Growth
Quiz: Big Law or Small Firm?

I do not mind working long hours.

I am willing to be on call on weekends and work seven days a week during busy seasons.

I work well in high stress situations.

The prestige of a firm is important to me.

My work-life balance is more important than having a high salary.

I value having strong personal connections with my colleagues.

I seek out and look forward to challenges at work.

Efficiency at work is one of my strengths.

I want to work in a high stakes environment where I will be working for big clients.

I prefer working in faster-paced environments.

I am always looking for the best job opportunity out there regardless of my current situation.

I value long-term continuity and stability at a single firm.

When looking for a job, I prioritize long-term benefits and security.

I do not mind doing administrative or clerical work.

I like knowing everybody in my office.

Maintaining my personal life is as important as my career development.

Based On Your Answers, A Smaller Firm is Right For You

If you value your career but also want to have a life outside of your professional one, small law firms offer less grueling hours and more manageable billing. While smaller firms may not have the same brand recognition as a Big Law powerhouse, they are usually less stress-inducing and impersonal. You will have the chance to really know the people you are working with as well as make connections with the partners at your firm. You’ll also likely have easier access to mentors who can provide valuable career advice and guidance. Promotions often move more quickly in small firms, given how much responsibility you’ll have in managing caseloads as well as the ability to develop individual relationships with your clients.


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You Are in the Middle

You like elements of both big law and smaller firms, but neither perfectly aligns with what you want. A midsize law firm can offer a combination of both and may be the right fit for you.

If you want a work environment that is challenging and demanding but less pressurized than Big Law, a midsize firm can provide that. Midsize firms may not always offer the sky-high salaries as Big Law, but the billing requirements tend to be lower and the hours generally better. You still will have to work hard, of course, but there will not be nearly as many late nights in the office or weekends spent working at home. Like in Big Law, you will still have the opportunity the work on a diverse caseload and work with big clients, but you’ll likely be given more independence to run your own cases.

While working at a big law firm can make you feel like you are just another cog in a machine, midsize law firms often provide the opportunity to make personal connections with other associates as well as with partners you work for. These firms are aware of the packages and benefits offered by their bigger competitors and are often more committed to retaining attorneys; this translates to job security and an ability to get on a partner track at a young age. This happy medium might just be the right choice for you.


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Ambitious, Driven, and Career-Oriented: You’re Big Law Material

If you are excited by the possibility of working in a demanding, fast-paced environment, not to mention a guaranteed six-figure salary and attractive benefits package, Big Law provides an unparalleled opportunity to work with big clients and do meaningful work on important cases. While you may not have as much as independence as you would have at a smaller firm, you will have the opportunity to learn from the best and receive some of the best legal training possible. Big Law will not only instill in you a great work ethic, but also ensure you develop the necessary attention to detail that allows all great lawyers to succeed.

If you do end up at a big law firm, make sure you take advantage of the unbelievable networking opportunities that come with being at a widely recognized, prestigious firm. Partners at these firms are often authorities in their practice areas, and working with them will give you access to mentors who can set you up for long-term career success. If you determine that big law is not right for you long term, small or mid-size firms will be eager to hire you once you’re ready to move on. Although working at these firms can be stressful and the hours can be insane, success can provide you with lasting connections and experiences that will make your career.

 


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