Maybe it is just because I subscribe to those blogs but everywhere I look in the legal blogosphere I see solo firms popping up. Almost all of these firms are in the United States, for sure, but isn’t that part of the world our trendsetter? How long until we see the signs of the demise of the large law firm (or “Big Law” as large firms are often called) in South Africa and a move towards smaller, more nimble firms? I think this trend is starting to make itself visible with the rise of a number of “boutique” firms that service high-end corporate clients but with a smaller staff complement. Not all smaller firms are “boutique” firms (certainly not mine) and many small or solo firms are oddly idealistic for a bunch of sharks. MyShingle, a blog dedicated to small and solo firms, has a post about Steve Terrell who left Ice Miller to start his own firm not to make all the money for himself but to serve a greater good:
Justice, like quality legal services, should not be only for big corporations and those who can afford the highest-priced lawyers from the biggest firms. During my 13 years in a 200-plus lawyer firm, one of my partners had a Scale of Justice in his office. He placed a roll of dollars on one side of the scale, and tilted the scale in that direction. It was something with which I was never comfortable.
The Pledge of Allegiance ends: “with liberty and justice for all.” I believe that this should be the objective of our legal system. It is the objective of this law firm.
My goal is to provide outstanding legal services to individuals and small businesses, with the quality and experience expected in a “downtown” law firm, but with the personal attention of a community law office.
Steve’s blog is Hoosier Lawyer.
When I think about large law firms these days I tend to imagine them as these massive structures drifting in the rarefied atmosphere far above us, orbiting their clients, the large corporations. Buzzing around them are the “boutique” firms and way down below are the rest of us, working for everyone else. I respect Steve Terrell’s lofty goals and his courage to step out of a large firm with all the promise it must have had for him (in some respects) and into something as challenging as a solo practice.
For my part, I have been running Jacobson Attorneys for almost nine months after leaving Werksmans and I couldn’t imagine returning to that rarefied space.