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Should I choose a big firm or a small firm? 

By ReshLawDecember 20, 2022

When a personal injury client has decided to hire a law firm, one of the first questions asked is, should I hire a big firm or a small firm? The answer: it depends on what you are looking for.

Pros and Cons – Big Firms

The main reason someone might choose a big firm is name recognition. Each of us has seen commercials, billboards, and marketing materials that seemingly point to “the name you know and trust,” however, it is important to remember that the firm itself does not have “experience,” the lawyers do (or do not). Just because a firm has existed for 20, 30 or 40 years, does not mean that the attorney assigned to your case has practiced that long – they likely haven’t. They could very well be a new lawyer in an old building.

Tip for hiring a big firm:

The lawyer is more important than the law firm. Every big law firm has attorneys with varying degrees of experience. You should seek out the one with experience in personal injury. Most big firm websites will have attorney bios that you can explore.

One of the downsides of working with a “volume firm” is, at times, you can feel like you are lost in the shuffle. You are one of hundreds of cases for just that attorney. They have a built in incentive to move on and off a case as quickly as possible. This can lead to missteps which lead to a lower settlement.

Having worked at two of the bigger personal injury law firms in Salt Lake City, I know that working with a big law firm can be a good experience. If this is what you are looking for, an experienced lawyer within the law firm will put you in the best position for success.

Pros and Cons – Smaller Firms

The main reason someone might choose a smaller firm is personal attention. A smaller law firm will have fewer cases and more time to devote to your case and to you. The downside is that lawyer handles fewer cases and may be practicing in many different areas of the law. Lawyers do not learn how to handle cases in law school and the only way for a lawyer to perfect their craft is to roll up their sleeves and resolve cases. Bigger firms get many more “at bats” and have handled, at times, many more personal injury cases than a smaller firms.

Tip for hiring a smaller firm:

Avoid a lawyer at a small firm who practices in several different areas of law. A lawyer who handles wills and estates, divorce, medical malpractice, and criminal law is not as equipped to handle your personal injury case. A lawyer at a smaller firm already handles fewer cases, and when you combine that with a lot of diversity in practice areas, the experience gets diluted.  If you are in an accident, you want a lawyer who does not dabble in several areas of the law but specializes in accidents and has handled a lot of them.

Final thought:

It's a trade off - experience (sometimes just perceived) or personal attention. Why not hire a lawyer that can give you the best of both worlds? Your team at Reshlaw has the big firm experience of a high rise lawyer and provides small firm attention of a one lawyer town. This formula will help maximize your results while keeping the client informed throughout the process.  


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