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What is it like to work in a large (or small) law firm? How do they compare?

Podcast Highlight:

This week’s podcast takes a look at the differences between large and small law firms. We’ll hear from experts Elie Mystal, an editor at legal tabloid AboveTheLaw.com, Vicki Huebner, Assistant Dean of Law Career Services at Santa Clara University School of Law, and Abby Armstrong, Director of the Office of Career Services at Vermont Law School.

Elie Mystal talks about how the size difference between small and large law firms most often affects how well you will know your coworkers. He also suggests that students don’t focus on the size of the firms when looking for legal jobs—rather, focus on the quality of the department in the specialization you are interested in. Mystal goes on to say that, when deciding on what law firm size to consider, students should remember that larger law firms are often more fast-paced and competitive, while small firms tend to foster a more paced, close-knit environment.

Vicki Huebner, Assistant Dean of Law Career Services at Santa Clara University School of Law, talks about some of the main differences between large and small law firms: The size of the support staff within the firm, the types of law that are practiced, and the tasks that younger associates are able and required to perform. She mentions that students who are interested in becoming familiar with a variety of different law specializations should strongly consider smaller firms. Dean Huebner advices law students to speak to lawyers practicing in both types of firms in order to get an “insider’s view” on what working at each is like.

Abby Armstrong, Director of the Office of Career Services at Vermont Law School, states that the main differences between the two sizes of law firms are the “entrance requirements.” She believes that large firms are looking for students at the top of their class, while smaller firms look at all types of students, and place importance on the level of involvement within the local community that a student possesses. In closing, Director Armstrong says that larger firms often offer a greater starting salary and an in-house mentor, whereas small firms will best suit a risk-taker and “hustler.”

Guests:

Elie Mystal – Editor of legal tabloid AboveTheLaw.com
Vicki Huebner – Assistant Dean of Law Career Services at Santa Clara University School of Law
Abby Armstrong – Director of the Office of Career Services at Vermont Law School

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