When choosing a legal firm, does size matter? In my opinion, after 30 years of practice in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, I believe it does. Let me explain. If you had been reading my earlier articles, I have stated that developing a relationship between your solicitor can be an important as a doctor/patient relationship. Throughout one’s life there will be times where a legal issue may arise, for example the buying or selling of a home, a car accident, a breach of contract such as consumer issues when purchasing a car. There may be criminal issues, family law such as divorce, personal injury and even the need to draw up wills, guardianship papers and powers of attorney. If a one-on-one personal relationship has developed over the years with your solicitor, these stressful incidents can be significantly eased.
These are examples where the intimacy of a smaller firm allows that relationship to grow. On the other hand, larger firms may not be able to provide that type of boutique service that a small firm offers but will have a greater ability to direct a large amount of resources immediately to a problem. Again, in some legal matters, this can be a strategic advantage, albeit a costly exercise for the client. Corporate and commercial entities can claim legal fees as an ongoing business expense, whereas the average person cannot.
Communication is the most important ingredient in a solicitor/client relationship. To have a solicitor who is approachable, professional and friendly goes a long way to solving a legal issue in an efficient, less stressful manner. Finding a solicitor who you, as a client, can develop a meaningful relationship is a rewarding experience for the solicitor as well as the client. Solicitors, after all, choose the legal profession because of an overwhelming desire to assist the community.
The choice of a small or large firm is really dependent on the type of legal problem that needs to be solved. However, the most important consideration is not size but the ability to develop an ongoing relationship where communication is the key.