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Downsizing: Finding Happiness at (Much) Smaller Law Firms

When it comes to large law firm practice, attorneys Debra Miller, James Fisher, Chuck Baldwin, Beth Young, and Jeff Hokanson have all been there and done that.  They've probably even gotten the T-shirts.  What these veteran lawyers share is a newfound professional satisfaction at smaller legal practices after leaving major Indianapolis law firms

To be sure, moving to smaller practices presented numerous challenges, including:

  • more administrative obligations;
  • more vulnerability to fluctuations in the market for legal services;
  • less security;
  • smaller clients and less sophisticated legal work than at large firms (although that's certainly not always true);
  • perception among other lawyers and the public that small firms are less prestigious; and
  • more limited employee benefits.

However, the "downsizing" lawyers discovered plenty of benefits to offset the challenges.  Among the perks of the small firm practice, the now-small-firm lawyers reported these:

  • more enjoyable work;
  • being motivated to make more money;
  • more collegial environments at small firms;
  • the ability to conduct their law practices their way;
  • less stress; and
  • better work-life balance.

These five lawyers are now happy in their new, smaller practice settings.  They have moved from firms having more than 100 lawyers, to small law offices having as few as two lawyers.  And they're thriving.

By Steve Imparl, guest blogger

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