Is Bigger Always Better?
Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to attend a number of business functions to speak with executives from a variety of industries. It is interesting to hear the different opinions each individual has regarding factors that they take into consideration when choosing a law firm to work with. The answers are really no surprise and are quite obvious in most cases. The primary factor is usually cost and secondary factors usually include the reputation of the firm, personal relationship with the firm and size of the firm.
This led me to ask: “Why would the size of a firm be important?” This answer intrigues me as I have heard it on a few different occasions. The size of a firm can often give a sense of credibility and reassures us as business executives that the firm has the resources, both human and financial, to deal with complex issues that may arise.
In some cases these are valid points and a larger firm may be the better choice for your business. With this being said, however, do not choose a larger firm over a smaller firm only to put yourself at ease. Doing this might cause you to miss out on the following benefits of working with a smaller firm. Bigger is not always better!
1) Cost: Smaller firms can often be more flexible with pricing. Without large overheads, they can often create a fee structure that works for the client’s situation.
2) Personal Relationship: In smaller firms the principal lawyers are closer to the client, allowing them to better understand the client’s business. This creates a client atmosphere that better aligns the goals of the client with those of the law firm.
3) Faster and Nimble: With less bureaucracy, small firms can react to changing circumstances. They can be faster to notify a client about a specific issue, can more diligently monitor the cost of a project and are masters of finding unique solutions to solve problems.
4) Better insight into business risk: Small firm lawyers are often business owners in their own right. A large firm lawyer does not need to look at quarterly income statements and understand profit and loss. Often small firm lawyers have a better understanding of the business risks that affect companies, as they too are accountable as business owners.
5) Your success is their success: Often small firms have a vested interest in the success of their clients as this can usually translate into more work for the firm. What this means is that often lawyers from small firms are much more willing to help make connections, return a phone a call, give free advice and go above and beyond to ensure that their clients have the best opportunities to be successful…no matter the size the of the client!
Traditionally, large firms were important to clients. They had libraries and body count, both of which were critical to handling large cases. Today, technology ensures that every firm has access to the same information. With lean and focused teams, small firms can provide a more efficient, and generally more effective, approach to most day-to-day legal work.
Large vehicles use more gasoline, a huge house means you pay more property taxes and big cellphones do not necessarily mean more features. Bigger is not always better! There will be always circumstances that determine whether a large or small firm is more suitable for your business. These circumstances depend often on your business, your needs and more importantly your goals. Choose a firm that will help you most efficiently and effectively get from point A to point B.
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