According to last year’s statistics, there were around 12,000 law firms active in 2021, creating a wide selection of options for people in urgent need of legal services.
While having such a broad range of choice is undoubtedly a good thing, however, it can also be overwhelming and make it hard for younger lawyers to select the best firm to suit their skills and career expectations.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the different types of law firms available, while appraising which offer the most value in specific circumstances.
The most popular choice among young and newly qualified solicitors is larger firms, which typically offer the best remuneration and the most clearly defined career paths toward partnership.
However, they’re also incredibly competitive and in high demand among newly qualified solicitors, with those who are able to secure training contracts with such firms most likely to earn long-term employment.
Another key element of large law corporations is that they specialise in a number of different and commercially viable areas while offering excellent onboarding and continued training over an extended period of time.
Next up is mid-sized commercial law firms, which are renowned for being the most profitable due to their combination of size (and low overheads) and ability to secure high-profile clients.
Another benefit of mid-sized firms is that they enable trainees to acquire far more hands-on experience when they join, particularly in relation to basic administrative duties and shadowing more senior solicitors.
You may also thrive in a smaller and more intimate setting if you have a slightly introverted persona, while this environment makes it easier to make your mark within a firm.
In some cases, you may have a particular field of interest, which may have shaped the individual elements of your law degree and will influence the eventual career path that you take.
For example, charity solicitors and firms are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, thanks to their unique workloads and ability to deliver genuine job satisfaction outside of basic remuneration or bonuses.
One consideration here is the importance of volunteering during your degree, in order to showcase your commitment to certain causes and suitability to a charity law firm.
On the topic of specialisation, we’re also seeing single-focus firms emerge in a number of high-growth markets, particularly intellectual property (IP), cybersecurity, and elder law.
In the case of IP and cybersecurity, these market opportunities have grown exponentially in the digital age, with the global cybersecurity market in the UK now worth in excess of $7 billion.
This is helping to create tech-led and fast-growing firms that are constantly looking to hire and keep pace with demand, so there’s a huge opportunity for newly qualified solicitors to get started here.