From single attorney practices to large multi-state organizations, law firms in the US vary greatly in terms of size as well as shape. As a norm, these law firms have the capacity to handle a wide range of cases facing small businesses as well as individual as well as large corporations.
When selecting a law firm to handle a case, it is generally recommended that you go for a conveniently located firm whose area of expertise falls within your area of interest. As a norm, law firms are usually divided using various criteria with the most common being the size of the practice, location, type of practice: such as criminal defense, litigation and transactional and also the legal topic on which the firm has specialized on: like tax law, family law or even personal injury law.
As a norm, the choice of a law firm will play a major role to the final outcome of a case. As such, it would be in your best interest to ensure that you acquire the services of the best law firm depending on your case so as to get the best possible service and a favorable ruling. However, there are a number of factors that you must consider so as to ensure you get a law firm best cut out for our needs. These include the law specialty within which the case falls, geographical location, personal preferences and finally, finances.
For individuals who might be searching for the most appropriate law firm, the following is an overview of the different types of law firms that can be found in most areas.
Usually run by a single lawyer, most of these firms have no specific area of specialization and can handle a wide range of cases provided the cases are not too complicated. They tend to be less expensive when compared to larger practices and have the advantage of offering more personalized attention to their clients.
However, solo firms have one downside. Most of the practicing lawyers in solo firms are recent graduates and may not have extensive experience in the field of law. However, this does not necessarily mean that all solo firm practitioners lack experience; there are quite a large number of lawyers in solo practice with extensive experience in not only general law but also specialty law.
Usually referred to as `boutique’ law firms, small law firms usually employ 2 to 10 attorneys; in most instances giving the lawyers a chance to collaborate together in complicated cases. Due to the personalized attention they offer, these types of firms have the feel of a solo practice but have extensive expertise in a broad range of legal topics.
As the name suggests, these firms are full blown large organizations and can have hundreds or even thousands of employees serving various functions. From lawyers, administrative staff, paralegals and even human resource staff, these firms have a typical setup of large corporates and can have several branches.
Large law firms usually have the capacity to handle all types of cases and legal work such as acquisitions and mergers. They are mostly contracted by companies and other large organizations and have the capacity to handle legal cases that may cover several areas of practice.
Transactional vs. litigation firms
Law firms are at times divided into the type of service they provide: either transactional or litigation. Litigation firms usually represent clients in a court of law while transactional firms usually focus on transactional paperwork which in most instances is due to disputes over property insurance and even money.
As a norm, most law firms and attorneys usually stick to the kind of practice they started off with for the entirety of their careers.
These firms usually defend individuals faced with criminal charges. As a norm, public defendants are usually available to defend the accused but most individuals usually prefer to hire criminal law attorneys for better representation.
Criminal defense attorneys can help the accused reduce the serious penalties associated with criminal charges. As a norm, these attorneys have specialized in criminal law and often have some kind of relationship with the local judge and prosecutor and as such, can negotiate for a reduced sentence.
Law firms based on practice area
Law firms can also be broken down according to the legal practice area. The practice area basically refers to the issue which an individual might be facing with some of the most common areas being divorce law, personal injury law and DUI law