When you compare law firms, you’ll see many claims that either a small law firm or a large law firm is best for handling your case. Which argument you hear will depend entirely on the size of the firm making the claim. To figure out which firm is right for you, consider the following factors.
Many small law firms heavily promote that their size allows them to give personalized attention to each case. This will often be true but isn’t necessarily so. In a small firm, each lawyer may have additional roles to play such as business manager, marketing director, or accountant that take time away from their ability to handle their cases.
In a large firm, cases often typically assigned primarily to a single attorney and support team so that the client always talks to the same people that have the best understanding of the case.
To find out if you’ll receive personalized attention, you can’t rely solely on law firm size. Instead, you’ll need to carefully interview each lawyer you speak to about their day to day activities and how much time they have to spend on each case.
Edge: Large Firm
Large firms frequently claim to have an advantage because they have more resources to handle each case. In a big corporate case with millions of documents, having multiple lawyers, paralegals, and other support staff working on a case might make sense.
A personal injury case usually will need additional help from in the expert witnesses and private investigators. These people rarely work directly for a law firm, and it would in fact be bad if they worked directly for a law firm because all of their work would be seen as being biased for the firm. Instead, they are independent contractors hired by a firm to give their expertise in cases that closely match their experience. Both large and small firms have equal access to these experts.
When hiring a lawyer, you are essentially hiring someone to negotiate on your behalf. The reputation of the firm can play a large role in this negotiation process. Of course, this reputation is not widely known publicly as it is between the insurance company and the law firm.
During the negotiation process, the threat of going to trial is a typical strategy employed by accident victim’s lawyer. In most cases, the insurance company will want to settle the lawsuit without going to trial. However, there are those times that the negotiations will break down and result in a trial. The firm’s reputation can alter the negotiations in behalf of the client greatly.
It is unknown what the reputation is for each firm, but the larger firms generally have stronger financial position to pressure the defense into a larger settlement by going to trial and ultimately resulting in higher compensation for the client.
Edge: Large Firm
You’ll often times hear a law firm state the combined years of experience of the attorneys at their firm. Like discussed above, your case will typically be assigned to one attorney and their staff. Large or small, you could be assigned with either an attorney with decades of experience or only years of experience. Typically, the more complicated the case, the more experienced the lawyer assigned to the case.
At a small firm, you will not have many options for lawyers. At a large firm, if you are assigned with a junior attorney, you are not limited to just their experience. Most large firms have an experienced lawyer overseeing the cases of newer lawyers to discuss cases and share knowledge and strategy.
Edge: Large Firm
The Bottom Line
If you are in the position of hiring an attorney, you are most likely going through a very stressful time in your life. When choosing between law firms, be sure to interview a few and go with the one you would feel most comfortable working with over the next few months or years.