It should be easy for me to talk about the benefits of working in a small Law Firm, because that’s exactly what I do.
How great is it to enjoy – even look forward to - going to work; because you have a job you like. I like my job so much it doesn’t feel like working. But I’m Blessed, and I know it. I usually do something different every day, and then I might run through a couple of months doing precisely the same thing day in, day out for months, I’m still happy.
Incidentally, before you pass me off as a raving lune, I do know the difference.
For years I worked for a multi-national group of companies (an enormous corporation, well known worldwide). I did enjoy part of my work; I liked some of the prestige and formalities (but I was always called Mrs. X, we were all respectful of each other, and manners were practiced as an art form!). How lovely you might think, but it was all formally false. There was no warmth in their eyes – even their smiles didn’t reach their eyes. There were all toothpaste smiles!
Further, although I enjoyed some of the benefits – i.e., the visiting of different branches in different countries, I mostly only got to see the inside of airports, hotel rooms, and conference rooms. Sometimes the occasional ride through the city but not much more. I worked up the corporate ladder quite quickly with pure hard work and by keeping to myself, but something was missing, and I always knew it. So, I wasn’t as happy as I could have been.
A couple of people close to me (my circle of friends) said’ do nothing; you’re lucky to have a job – a job is a status symbol’ - and, even then, they were right with that statement (which rings even more valid today).
I wasn’t looking for status or other empty gestures – kind words and cruel actions were not for me. I wanted the real thing. I didn’t want to be owned by a corporation that pulled my strings and told me how to think. I was a free spirit, and they were hampering me and my creativity with their posing and politicking.
It was inevitable that I would leave them, which I did – and walked straight into a smaller firm where everything was the same as my previous job; only this organization was about a tenth of the size of the first job on this page. I walked straight into politics once again, and falsehoods and posturing.
Oops, silly me! Years later (I’m very loyal), I was still reeling from my stupidity when I fell into my present job, and I’ve never looked back. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t sit at my desk, do little or nothing all day; that would drive me mad. I work – hard work – but it never feels like that. It’s more like pleasure – like I’m happy and having fun just being there and working.
Do you want to know something extraordinary about all this? The first firm employed many thousands of people; the next firm employed just over one hundred people, and my current firm employs less than ten people! However, each one of these people works infinitely harder than anyone employee of my two previous jobs! And they’re happy about it.
I could run on like this for days (but you’d get bored) expressing how great it is to work for a small Law Firm. I can categorically say that I haven’t been so happy in any job I’ve had in the past as I am now with my current work.
In a small Law Firm like this one, everyone works here because they want to – not just because it’s a job. Each employee does the work of about three people, and that way, everything gets done correctly. We have created such a smooth workflow that we can take on more instructions that Law Firms of this size can usually because we’re more organized.
We all know each other – as far as the job requires – but we don’t socialize. We know enough about all the others because it makes things more comfortable and we can get more work done more effectively.
We’re like a small family, all pursuing our different interests (jobs) with each one knowing about it and able to pick up and take over if as and when necessary. We all work in harmony and help each other. When one is sick, you would think they leave a gap behind, but that isn’t the case. We close ranks, and still, the workflow remains the same, and the work always gets done.
When the Coronavirus struck and altered thing globally; when lockdown was over and we returned to work, we little band of people at the office made sure that we were all wearing masks that were according to Government regulations.
We checked we were all using the correct handwash and our Boss bought one of those thermometers that cost a lot of money and can take your temperature electronically but doesn’t have to touch your skin!
So, we took each other’s temperatures on a daily basis and made a chart of them – which we’re still doing – the masks, the handwash and the temperatures.
Without being laconic, I can tell you that we have a more relaxed work environment. It encourages us to work a lot hard and more efficiently because when you’re comfortable and happy, you’re following your bliss and you are twice as effective and successful in your capabilities peculiar to your part of the workload.
Our work is so much more varied so, as I said at the beginning of this article, we do about three people’s jobs and rarely is every day the same. Yet, by the same token, because we are so streamlined, we have the time and indeed the inclination to work that way.
Now, as Practice Manager, you would think the comment above would affect me the most, but it has a more significant effect on the Attorneys, which means that Attorneys who specialize are often required to take on matters that are in other fields of law. Working across multiple practice areas stretches one as an Attorney and helps you hone your skills by getting this broader exposure and sometimes just enjoying a change and a challenge.
In a small Law Practice such as this one, there is so much more Client interaction. There are much higher prospects for professionals and support staff to communicate with the Clients both telephonically and in person.
It gives our little firm a more excellent opportunity to display its superior Client service by interacting well with the Clients. Further, it also provides some of the staff a better polish and thus more enjoyment when working with the Clients. These are opportunities that many staff in a large Law Firm never have the chance to enjoy.
Employees of a Small Law Firm should work well together; the workflow should be almost seamless at the intersections; you should become a team that smoothly and expertly interacts with each other; networks rapidly between each other and the all-important Clients.
We are always trying to find a way to improve our Client service. Modern trends must be kept up with and we go one step further. Do one thing better; make one Client happier; execute one file more professionally.
Small firms are usually owned and run by a senior Attorney or partnerships of Senior Attorneys. However, unlike the Managing Attorneys in large firms, they are not ostentatious or intoxicated with their importance.
Every one of us here, in varying degrees, enjoy their work and would never change firms. We’ve developed too far and to such a degree that we have something worthwhile – called trust. That’s hard to achieve and harder to beat!
Candidate Attorneys who serve their articles at our firm are incredibly blessed as because of our size, they are almost immediately ‘thrown in the deep end,’ but we teach ‘them’ how to swim.’ We are a teaching Law Firm, and that means that our CAs are not glorified messenger but spend their time learning to be of as much service as possible and thus carry with them a higher value. They receive an incredible amount of personal training and usually make much better lawyers because of the beginnings with which we provide them.
Here, employees learn how to be flexible with their work schedules. Their duties are incredibly varied, which makes them good all-rounders.
They leave here being proud to put their names to their work because they know and understand what is expected of them. What they’re doing, and they know they’re better than those who were reduced to messenger work.
They have improved their personalities; their characters have remained intact, and their identities have become significant. They feel comfortable in their skin – just as the rest of us do!
Our Boss earns his respect – he doesn’t demand it - and he works alongside the staff for a different matter and varying reasons. He doesn’t believe in sitting in his office all day every day. He’s very hands-on with us and walks around our offices, spending a little time with each of us every day.
The result of that is that we admire and respect him and always try harder each day because we appreciate the way he guides and teaches and knows that we want to do better and how to help us achieve our goals.
Not only is he hands-on with us, he sees what we do and never forgets to say thank you, or to tell us that he appreciates what we’re doing. Sometimes he’ll interrupt us and show us a better way of performing our tasks, and for that, we are grateful. Occasionally he’ll bring us up short, explaining why we’re going wrong and giving us alternatives – happy days!
When you have a good leader, who concerns himself with every detail of the firm and how it works, then you have gold. When this leader teaches his staff and helps them to be better, while he works amongst them and leads from the center of us all, then you are blessed!
I feel I am a brilliant example of the subject matter here and am unlikely to ever change my mind on these findings.
Small Law Firms = no politics or bitchiness = better teamwork = no time wasting = smooth workflow = success in business = happiness!