Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What the heck is a "small firm" anyway?

Super-blogger Susan Carter Liebel had a good post yesterday about solo practitioners and small law firms winning not on price but on value provided to their clients. She cites a story from The Complete Lawyer by Marcie Shunk captioned "Welcome to the Age of the Smaller Firm."

The thesis of this article? Small law firms are the real wave of the future.

That's all fine and dandy, until you read on. Susan's post is spot on, as is the general concept of the Shunk post, but I do have to take some definitional exception to the term "small firm." It seems to me that, according to this story, anything outside the AmLaw 200 is considered a small firm.

Huh? These are all super firms that are mentioned here. But I would not call them small by any means. Oppenmheimer, Wolff & Donnelly has 107 lawyers by my count. Keesal Young? 70. Bartlit Beck? 65. Jones Walker? Around 230!

There are plenty of real small firm lawyers that are doing first-rate work. Throwing out the best boutique firms in the country as examples of great small firms seems a little left field to me. It almost tells me that people think the days of "real" small firms may be going by the wayside. If that's the case, then so be it. But if this thesis is true, then show me lawyers in firms of less than 10 or 20 people servicing some Fortune 1000 clients.

1 comments:

Deal Junkie said...

I hear "small firms" is the norm in Europe. Now I'm basing the comment on my one conversation with someone who works at DOJ.

 
-