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Legal Career Options
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The most common place to practice law is in the private sector, in a law firm setting. From solo practice to international mega-firm, options for lawyers in law firms vary greatly, as do the areas of practice and ability to do litigation or transactional work, civil or criminal, and to practice in a small town or in a big city.
You may be surprised to know that the majority of lawyers in America practice in a solo or small firm setting, rather than at a large firm. Don't be fooled by the portrayal of lawyers on television. Firm life can offer a variety of atmospheres from the high-pressure, high-billable hour requirements at some firms, to a relaxed setting, with a focus on client service and quality of life at others.
You should research the types of firms and what each has to offer before settling into a career path.
Small and Medium Size Firms
Depending on the geographic area, a small firm can consist of 2-10 attorneys, or in some instances even a few more. Smaller firms tend to offer a very specific service such as domestic law, or may be generalists taking both civil and criminal matters as clients' needs require.
Medium sized firms may consist of a practice group from a larger firm that broke away to focus on a specialized practice area, or may have once been a smaller firm that found the need and resources to grow in numbers. Boutique firms specialize in one area of the law, be it intellectual property, commercial litigation or another area. Learn More About Small & Medium Firms
Large firms provide a multitude of services to a client base consisting generally of businesses and organizations, rather than individual clients. These firms are very structured in the form of practice area departments, the hierarchy of associates and partners, and have very formal and predictable hiring cycles. Learn More About Large Firms