Attorneys are not the only legal professionals that have to decide whether they’re built for life in a big law firm or a small firm. Paralegals must face the very same issue. While it typically gets uniquely resolved based upon the specific paralegal, a good argument can be made for why the big firm experience should get chosen. The truth is that there are advantages to working at a large law firm that are just not available, or less apparent, when compared to smaller firms. Five quickly come to mind.
Paralegals will learn how to become better paralegals no matter if they work at a small firm or a large law firm. However, big firms are structured so that paralegals learn more quickly and perhaps learn more. Depending on the size of the firm, large firms have dozens, if not hundreds, of paralegals. There are senior paralegals, junior paralegals, and paralegals in between. Given this, there are mentors and supervisors ready to help paralegals become better at their job. Training is also readily available to help paralegals catapult their career.
If you imagine the stereotypical small firm, it comes with little amenities. Paralegals in this setting do their own copying. They likely deliver documents. Computers may be outdated, and office space is often limited.
This is not the case at larger law firms. Resources are everywhere. There are numerous copiers and printers. Internal copy centers are often available that manage copy projects. Courier centers are also present that prepare shipments, deliver documents, and handle filings. Further, paralegals at large firms also have their own office. Resources of this nature are just not present at smaller firms.
Large law firms are highly organized and structured. They’re divided into different departments and run by committees and boards. Big firms have supervisors that help assign work and keep track of how work responsibilities are met. Attorneys, supervisors, and managers hold reviews in which they meet with paralegals and discuss how work expectations are/are not getting met. Granted, some paralegals may find this type of structured environment haunting. However, structure often brings a more organized system that’s conducive to better learning, clearer expectations, and more efficient operations.
This is an easy one. Big firms bring in larger revenues when compared to smaller firms. This means they have more money to spend on talent. Talent here means employees – attorneys, legal support staff members, managers, administrators, AND paralegals. Big firms are just better situated to pay paralegals more than small firms.
More Relaxed Work Attire
Surprise, surprise. It might not make immediate sense, but large firms often have more relaxed work attire standards in comparison to smaller firms. Small firms typically opt for business casual attire. Big firms, however, often go with casual attire. The goal at a large firm is to get the job done, and done efficiently, effectively, and in the best interests of the client. This type of focus means less time is spent worrying about wardrobe issues.
All paralegals are different. They are all legal professionals, but they will all have their own unique expectations and requirements when it comes to work environments and atmospheres. With that said, large law firms offer specific advantages that are just not found in smaller firms. A large firm might not be for every paralegal, but paralegals should take them into account when searching for employment opportunities.
Please know that LAW DAWGS works with paralegals and other legal professionals to find their ideal job – in both small and large firms. Please do not hesitate to contact us for help in your employment search. With almost 30 years of legal placement experience, we can definitely assist.