I wrote last week about the perceived level of interest from attorneys at small law firms in finding a collective voice. As I’m currently camping somewhere in the remote, internet-less regions of our northern neighbor, I haven’t the chance to check in with your comments and emails, but promise to do so upon my return to the internet-using world.
Speaking of camping, we’ve previously discussed lawyers decamping from Biglaw in favor of something cozier. Over at Adam Smith, Esq., Bruce MacEwen calls this phenomenon a “natural evolution of an industry under economic stress.” I call it an opportunity. The “natural evolution,” as MacEwen so eloquently terms it, means that there should be a growing interest among Above the Law’s existing readership in the opportunities offered by small-firm practice.
But I figured I needed a more clearly defined angle in order to pique the interests of your esteemed editors. As I thought about the potential for this column and how to pitch it to Lat and Elie, I ended up compiling a short list of reader profiles that I figured would take interest in such an endeavor.
Who is interested in reading about small law firms? Here’s an eye-pleasing numbered-list format….
- The Economic Victim: She was in Biglaw. Now she’s in a small law practice because [insert political party she hates] ruined the economy and the jerk Biglaw partners laid her off rather than cutting their profits per partner.
- The Law School Scam Victim: Enticed by inflated placement numbers on his law school’s website, he was sure he’d end up with a $160K job — or at least a $125K job, if things didn’t go well — after graduation. Alas, he fell asleep during the Civ Pro final and derailed any chance of lucrative Biglaw employment. He is now in a small law practice, but is nonetheless well aware of Above the Law, which he used to read with high hopes.
- The Potential Jumper: She hates money or, more likely, enjoys life. She is looking to a small law practice as a suitable refuge from her current inability to exist outside the walls of her office. She is looking for information about the world of smaller and solo firms but is afraid to ask for it lest she be horsewhipped by her colleagues who are still blindly attached to the allure of a Biglaw partnership.
- The Dreamer: He started law school at a fourth-tier school and worked like a banshee, managing to transfer up to something more reputable — where his academic mediocrity was ultimately exposed. He now works in a small firm, hates it, but still harbors the dream of getting called up to “the show.” He reads Above the Law religiously so he’ll be prepared for what he believes is his destiny. What he doesn’t realize is that if he hates practicing law, he won’t be any happier in Biglaw.
- The Deferred: She technically has a Biglaw job; it just doesn’t start until later this decade. In the interim, she toils in a small law firm and continues to read Above the Law because, despite her surprisingly enjoyable experience, she still wants to experience a six-figure salary for a couple years to pay off her loans.
- Biglaw by Association: She works at a small firm, but she has Biglaw friends who constantly forward articles from Above the Law, and she enjoys legal gossip in any size.
- Biglaw for Life: He is of above-average height, scoffs at scotch less than 20 years old, and always has a pair of Bonobos on hand (what’s the lady equivalent of Bonobos?), in case a yacht party breaks out. He thinks himself to be above everyone with whom he interacts –- which of course he is. He intends to use the column as a means to flush small law practitioners out of hiding so he can get their phone numbers and breed them out of existence, primae noctis style. In the alternative (a good lawyer is never without alternatives), he’ll just enjoy unleashing a barrage of mocking, condescension-driven comments.
If I’m missing a type, I’m sure you’ll let me know. Myself? I’m some combination of 2 and 6.
Also, if you are thinking of jumping off the Biglaw bandwagon, I hope you’ve read this brilliant piece by The Snark, over at the Fulton County Daily Report, on how to do so with style.
Keep those emails coming. Any Canadian readers out there? I’ll be passing through Toronto on the first, so if you can see Route 400 from your office, feel free to wave. More substantive discussions are on the way next week, including part three of the Great Expectations series.