Solo v. large firm

January 26, 2009
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There’s not a definite end in sight to the current economic downtown we’re experiencing, but who’s better off to ride it out – solos or large firms?

There are compelling arguments for both sides. Solos may be able to adapt better and more quickly to changing client needs in legal representation and billing matters. They don’t have a huge payroll to support, health benefits, or other amenities a larger firm may offer to its employees.

But larger firms can cut staff, focus more resources on marketing (if they haven’t cut their marketing staff), slash bonuses or other amenities to stay afloat, and possibly rely on brand name recognition in gathering more business.

I’m leaning more towards solos or smaller firms riding it out better than larger firms because of their ability to change focus quickly, adapt to client needs, and maybe even become more of a boutique-type firm. It seems like across the country, and even here in Indiana, we constantly read about larger-sized firms merging. Whatever reasons the firms claim as for why they merged, you have to think the current economic downturn played some role.

What do you think? Who’s in a better position in this economy – solos or larger firms?
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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