By Mary Catherine Wiederhold, Law Office of Mary Catherine Wiederhold
I’ve had my own small firm for 15 years, my entire law career.
While it’s easy to see the advantages of being employed by a large firm the benefits of owning a solo or small firm are tougher to identify.
Here are five distinct advantages of having a small firm:
1. I’m in control of my schedule. I determine how much and how long I work on a particular case. I plan the caseload. While it’d be wonderful to take an occasional afternoon off, I rarely do because of my workload. However, knowing I am in charge of my hours makes a huge difference with my attitude towards work.
2. I can be selective about my clients. Let’s face it, some clients can be difficult. I decide whether potentially difficult clients are a good fit for my firm or if they should be sent onward to grace the doorways of other attorneys.
3. I can respond to clients’ needs without going to a committee meeting. No matter how much you plan, the unexpected happens. My small firm can respond quickly to surprises, like ex parte appearances.
4. I handle all the pieces. Unlike some firms where the associates only work on parts of the case, I manage all the pieces of litigation. When clients call, I can communicate with them about every aspect of their case without consulting anyone else in the firm.
5. Clients like to know I am the one working on their matter. Litigation is difficult emotionally for clients, no matter how familiar they are with the process. Not only do I talk to them about the legal aspects of their cases, but I also help prepare them emotionally for any difficulties. That way, it’s easier to build trust, and with trust I can better help them with their legal issues.
Self-employed people sometimes joke by saying, “I have a tough boss.” That’s true for me, too. I work hard at my small firm, but it makes me a better attorney.
Mary Catherine Wiederhold represents residential tenants at the Law Offices of Mary Catherine Wiederhold. She is a member of BASF’s Solo and Small Firm Section’s Communication Subcommittee. She writes regularly about tenant issues and about issues facing solo and small firms.