Your next job in law: does size matter?

When considering potential employers, the debate around ‘big city firms’ versus ‘small regional practices’ is nothing new for legal professionals.

Candidates sometimes question whether a step up to a city-based, national or even multinational law firm is the right move for them - particularly if the bulk of their experience has been gained in smaller, boutique practices. 

But up-sizing your career can be a great move for the right person. To help you decide your next route, we've outlined five reasons why you should choose a large law firm as your next employer.

5 March 2019

Five reasons to choose a large law firm as your next employer

When we speak to candidates about a role within a large law firm, they often have preconceptions. They’re worried about excessive working hours, unachievable billing targets and an overly-corporate culture. 

But it’s safe to say that major law firms have had a facelift. Flexible working patterns are commonplace and there’s a big focus on employee mental health and well-being. They’re socially active, encourage a healthy work/life balance and have (successfully) implemented family-friendly and agile working initiatives. 

There’s certainly no doubt that working for a large law firm is a unique experience - one which is fast-paced, challenging but (ultimately) rewarding. So if you’re consider a move and you’re wondering whether a move to a larger law firm is right for you, here’s our thoughts on the benefits:

Resources

Whilst large, national and international law firms might lack the intimacy of a boutique firm, they offer unparalleled resources in comparison. From impressive support facilities, in-depth law libraries, mentoring and development opportunities all the way through to super-smart offices, state-of-the-art IT, in-house gyms, subsidised restaurants and comprehensive staff wellness policies. 

You’ll work alongside well-credentialed colleagues and leaders in their fields, with ample opportunity for your work to be recognised and for professional development. Furthermore the very size of these firms means that opportunities for career progression within them are structured and extensive.  

And if you do decide to leave? It’s an impressive entry on your CV and one which is likely to open up further opportunities for you. 

Salary

There’s no disputing it - as a general rule, larger firms pay significantly higher salaries. Larger, higher profile and more demanding clients mean that these firm want, attract and retain the very best legal professionals in the market. And they’re willing to pay for this enhanced expertise. 

Furthermore, financial benefits aren’t limited to your salary. Almost all large law firms will offer a generous benefits package that includes performance-related pay, health and life insurance, excellent pension contributions and annual bonuses linked to salary and business performance. 

If salary and monetary benefits are important to you, then a large, national or international firm is almost certainly a better fit for you than a smaller, regional practice. 

A focus on wellness

If you’re worried that work/life balance will be more difficult to achieve within a big organisation, think again. More than ever, employees are demanding more agile, flexible working patterns - and the big firms are certainly delivering. 

Whether it’s enhanced maternity and paternity benefits, free foreign language classes or a basket of fresh fruit delivered daily to the office, when it comes to employee wellness, smaller practices simply cannot compete with what’s on offer at the larger city and national firms. 

Mental health awareness is a hot topic for big firms. Your package may well include income protection, employee assistance, debt advice and counselling services. You might be incentivised to cycle or walk to work (maybe to your eco-friendly office!), whilst heavily subsidised or free-to-use staff gyms are common perks.

Challenging & diverse clients

Money isn’t everything. For many legal professionals, it’s the lure of clients that are the largest draw. There’s a certain prestige associated with working at a larger, city-based firm. You’ll have the opportunity to be involved in diverse, intellectually-stimulating work, often at the cutting edge of the law. 

Working for a large firm is likely to see you dealing with prestigious clients and major organisations - firms with complex needs and challenging cases, who demand more attention and need more support. The quality of work that you’ll be involved in and the kind of clients and businesses that you’ll be working with will be unrivalled compared to your counterparts at smaller, regional law firms. For the more ambitious, it’s easy to see the appeal of this.

Support staff

Secretaries, paralegals, admin assistants and in-house IT experts are all likely to be at your disposal in a larger firm. An extensive network of support staff will make your life easier and help you achieve more in less time - a win-win. 

Flexology are flexible working specialists. We work with a number of high profile Bristol law firms, offering a range of flexible and agile roles, an excellent work/life balance and plenty of opportunity for progressive. Our clients are open to speculative CVS, so get in touch if you're looking for a new opportunity.