- Series: The New Lawyer's Survival Guide (Book 2)
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: LawyerAvenue Press (August 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0940675706
- ISBN-13: 978-0940675704
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,801,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Small Firms, Big Opportunity: How to Get Hired (and Succeed) in the New Legal Economy (The New Lawyer's Survival Guide)
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About the Author
LINDA CALVERT HANSON is the Director of The Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, and the Chair of The Florida Bar’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section. She is a former Assistant Dean for Bar Success and Professionalism, and Assistant Dean for Career Development, at University of Florida College of Law. SAMANTHA WILLIAMS is Director of Employer Relations at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, where she focuses primarily on small firm outreach and employer development. Previously, she served as assistant director and associate director of career services at ASU, providing student counseling services and program development.
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If what its authors say is true, that "....smaller firms are the largest and fastest growing section of the legal community," then Small Firms, Big Opportunity: How to Get Hired (and Succeed) in the New Legal Economy (Linda Calvert Hanson, Samantha Williams, Decision Books, Seattle, 2012, 168 p.) should be a hot hit with lawyers and law students.
Hanson and Williams are law career services professionals who have used their years of experience in law practice, law school career services, law practice professionalism, and shared passion for small firm practice to create a useful tool for 21st century lawyers. Their work on NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals) committees is brightly reflected in this book.
Bridging the gap with dense text
Small Firms is proscriptive, mincing no words in laying out the requirements for taking charge of a career in a small firm.Its dense text provides examples and detailed explanations that will help law students and new lawyers bridge the gap between what they might have learned in law school, and what they should think about as they approach and begin to work in small firms. This is not a quick read for a plane flight; it is a serious, searchable resource addressing virtually all aspects of small firm life.
Technical and social infrastructure
Hanson and Williams address technical and social infrastructure questions which are not part of a law school curriculum, and present too vast a set of issues to be fully covered in even the most well-developed career services program schedule. Defining "small" as 50 or fewer lawyers, gives the their book a large canvass and a broad constituency.
Small firms puzzle law students
Law students are correctly puzzled by the small firm job market which lacks the transparency - or at least the public hiring schedule - of large law firms and public agencies.In Small Firms, Hanson and Williams use their own observations, and the reflections of law students and lawyers to answer these questions:
Why consider small firm practice?
Where are the small firm jobs?
Why do I need to know about the business of practicing law?
How do I go about networking effectively with small firms?
What should I expect as a starting salary, and how do I go about negotiating?
What are the core competencies, and why are they so critical to my job search?
What steps do I need to take to succeed in my new position?
Hanson and Williams are committed to full disclosure about the pro's and con's of small firm practice. Chapter 3 begins with nine advantages of small firm practice over Biglaw work:
More hands-on responsibility sooner
Full case management and greater autonomy
More immediate client contact
Greater personal interaction with a larger subset of people
Ability to see first-hand how your work helps others
More collegial, family-like atmosphere
Greater flexibility and other quality of life distinctions
More integral involvement in firm decisions sooner
Potential to develop a new area of specialization as expertise evolves
The down side: no place to hide
They follow this with an acknowledgement that small firms are not for everyone, and include a list of possible disadvantages.
They note that small firms may be perceived as less prestigious, offer fewer high-end benefits, lower starting salaries, and that they probably lack formal training programs. For candidates, the job "fit" is extremely critical because there is no place to hide from people with whom you don't get along. Finding and landing a position takes time and has no set timeline. Small firms are not usually located in prestige addresses with opulent surroundings, gyms, and weekly flower deliveries. Small firms rarely offer club membership, or the opportunity to attend CLE in the Bahamas.
With fewer support staff than at Biglaw, small firm lawyers may need to do their own administrative work. Finally, with "fit"so critical, lawyers who don't get along with everyone on their teams may have no option but to leave.
Five chapters worth the price of the book
"There's a First Time For Everything" (Chapter 15) and the five core competency chapters are worth the price of this book because they pull back the curtains on issues that are