1 minute read

Big Firms vs. Small Firms

Big Firm, Big Budget

Money is more of an issue for small firms than large firms. Big Law firms interview in bulk, and they do not hesitate to spend money on the interviewees—again, sometimes in bulk.

During one callback interview with a large New York firm, Jason was invited for a breakfast with a couple of associates the morning before the interview. At first, he thought this was a nice touch. When he arrived there, however, he was surprised to find out that the firm had also invited 26 other candidates to the same breakfast. They were joined by a few associates from the firm, none of whom knew anything about the candidates. Breakfast was pre-ordered, and the whole affair felt like a Costco approach to shopping for associates—buy ‘em in bulk and save big. This is not to say this firm would not be a good place to work.

At large firms, the interviewing process runs like a well-oiled machine. Every candidate interviewing at big firms gets to stay in a nice hotel if he is from out-of-town; meets at least four to six attorneys; dines at an expensive restaurant on the firm's dime; and receives congratulatory e-mails and follow-up phone calls from his interviewers when he gets an offer. There are urban legends about candidates receiving extra-special attention from firms that really wanted to hire them. One candidate, who was African-American, the editor-in-chief of the law review, at the top of his class, and at a top law school, was supposedly flown to a callback on a private jet! This firm desperately needed to hire more minority attorneys. This student also happened to have excellent credentials, so the firm decided to go the extra mile. In case you are wondering, he didn't take the offer. He was very tempted, but he chose to join a smaller firm instead so he could spend more time with his family.

Most candidates do not receive special treatment above and beyond that of the rest of the talent pool. Most large firms have a preset budget for each callback interview and they stick to it. You will stay at a nice hotel and eat a nice lunch on the firm's dime, but usually no private jets or first-class tickets are involved.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsBig Firms vs. Small Firms - Major Differences, Big Firm, Big Budget, Smaller Firm, Smaller Budget