Pros and cons of working at a law firm

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Often, the benefits of working for a law firm can outweigh the cons. Below we look at the pros and cons of working for a law firm:

Pros

Here are some of the pros of working in a law firm:

  • Consistent work volume: Firms often take on many cases at once to provide a range of legal services for clients. Unlike freelance or solo practices, law firms often provide a more steady amount of work to employees.

  • More resources: Firms offer multiple types of resources for employees. This includes networking opportunities from the firm’s connections within the industry. Law firms may also provide onsite research libraries along with copy and mail centers.

  • Business promotion: Law firms automatically provide the marketing and name recognition that those in a solo practice must produce on their own. Working with a firm means you can dedicate more time to honing your craft as a lawyer than running your own business as a solo practitioner.

  • Giving back: Working for a law firm gives lawyers the chance to give back to the community by helping others through legal counsel. Firms may also take on pro bono cases to assist clients who may not be able to afford legal services.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of working in a law firm:

  • Work hours: Lawyers who work in a law firm often put in long hours to fulfill the many job duties that are necessary for legal cases. Many lawyers find ways to manage the difficult work/life balance of the legal profession by participating in social events with other lawyers and taking regular vacation time.

  • Billable hours: Most law firms require partners and associates to complete a specific number of billable hours tracked on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. This means lawyers need to record how they spend their time each day and report it to the firm.

  • Competition for promotion: For many lawyers, the goal of joining a law firm is to become a partner who has a larger say in the workings of a firm. A lawyer may need to work for many years and face competition from other talented associates before earning the distinction of partner in a firm.

  • Close supervision: Working in a law firm can involve more scrutiny from upper-level associates and partners, as lawyers strive to carry out their duties for the firm’s clients. Those newly hired to the firm may also face closer supervision as they learn to work within the practice.

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