While large personal injury firms seem to have the market cornered when it comes to these lawsuits, would-be clients should not forget that there are drawbacks to hiring a larger firm over a smaller one to handle a personal injury case.
Lack of Personal Touch
When clients walk into a small law firm, they can expect to be treated as familiar faces. It takes only a few visits before they are no longer strangers to the staff or the attorneys who will be representing them. At many larger firms, this is not the case. Some firms might see a hundred people come through their doors on a given day, so while the individual attorneys might recognize their own clients, there will be no familiarity with the staff or other attorneys in the building.
Named partners aren’t likely to handle each personal injury case that crosses a large firm’s threshold. That is why most of these clients will be directed to an associate. These attorneys have incredible amounts of stress placed upon them by higher ups. Associates are required to meet high levels of performances for a set quota of cases or money. For clients, this could mean quick turnaround on cases and minimal time spent with each client or a high number of billable hours.
Attorneys at smaller firms are not without stress because they are so personally invested in the business, but they are aware that when it comes to promoting a small law firm, the best source is the word of mouth of satisfied clients.
Appearances and Location
Not all personal injury cases take place in a city, but most large law firms are located in one. For rural clients, this means a distance to drive and more phone calls than one-on-one meetings, and sometimes a lack of understanding with the city attorney. Hiring a “big city firm,” for a case where both parties are from a rural area can give one side the image of hiring Goliath to defend them as opposed to the other’s David. It can skew jury and community perceptions of the opposing sides.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of large firms is the one aspect they like to emphasize most: Their attorneys are highly specialized. Because there are so many associates at some firms, many narrow their practice down to one area. Smaller firms sometimes do the same, but others draw from a broad range of knowledge and legal experience for each and every case that they bring to court.
Though large firms may have their successes, simply because these are the businesses whose ads dominate the television or newspaper does not make them the better choice for a personal injury suit. Smaller firms can often provide a better regional understanding, often along with better customer service.