Big Law Firms v. Small Firms – Does It Make a Difference?

When I was interviewing for jobs while at my big law firm job, and shortly after quitting, I interviewed with some small law firms. I thought that by going to a small firm, I could do interesting work, work with people I like, and have more hands on experience earlier into my career.  And maybe deal with fewer billable hour requirements.

I think I was mistaken.  Looking back now, I was going about my job search in all the wrong ways.  I was seeking an escape from the job I was in, rather than targeting the jobs and workplaces that I wanted to work for.  Ultimately, the small firms didn’t hire me, and in retrospect, I am so glad they didn’t.  I would have gotten paid less, would have had to probably work harder than I did at the big law firm, work on less interesting cases with less interesting and friendly co-workers (at least at those particular firms).  So what was it worth?  I probably would have been more unhappy at those jobs than I was at my big firm job.

Sometimes things don’t work out for a reason.  I know the reason the small firms didn’t work out was so that I would be forced to examine myself more critically and try to figure out what I really wanted, rather than choosing the easy ways out from a job I felt miserable in.

What do you think?  Is there a big difference in terms of happiness levels for junior associates when comparing big firms with small firms?

I would LOVE to hear from you!  Leave a comment below and let me know.

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