As a solo tax and probate lawyer in Los Angeles, I read an interesting article in the February 15, 2010 issue of the Los Angeles Times that clients believe they get better service and value from solo attorneys and small firms than they get from the large firms. Here are some of the article’s highlights:
Solo and small boutique law practitioners across the country have been better able to adapt to a shifting legal landscape than big law firms that had to shed more than 4,600 lawyers nationwide last year….
In an inverse demonstration that size matters, small firms able to quickly reinvent themselves have benefited despite shrinking spending on legal services and a more demanding clientele….
Boutiques flourish because they deal on a more personal level with the legal consumer and they tailor services to individual needs. Smaller firms also have less overhead and can be more flexible and affordable….
Clients perceive that they will get more efficient legal services and more bang for their buck in the context of a small, more agile firm….
Some of the big firms went overboard, charging upward of $700 an hour, and when the economy changed, their clients were no longer in a position to pay that. The rainmakers left and started their own firms. One told me he tells his clients, “I’m not any dumber but now I’m $400 an hour less….”
There is a preference among some lawyers to create a better work-life balance than that experienced by attorneys struggling to stay on a partnership track at the huge corporate entities of the American Lawyer 100, firms with as many as 4,000 attorneys….
A solo practice satisfies an attorney’s quest for meaningful practice, community involvement and quality time for home and family….
The defections from big law firms to boutiques to attorneys’ recognizing “the path to riches is through niches.”…
“The age of the generalist is dead. Clients are requiring attorneys to know more and more about less and less. Everyone wants to be treated by a specialist.”…