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What Small Firms Look for in a 2L Student

published January 07, 2013

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I've talked a lot about how large and medium-sized firms hire students for their summer programs. But your chances of landing a law firm position are much greater in a small firm than in a large firm, simply because more hiring is being done in small firms than in large ones. Usually the stakes aren't as high, and the credential factor, isn't as big an issue with the small firms, so your chances of getting hired are greater as well.
What Small Firms Look for in a 2L Student

Except for a brief period from 1988 to 1990, small firms have consistently been the single most important source for graduates entering private practice. Since 1990, apart from solo practice, only firms of two to ten attorneys have consistently increased their representation in the pool of initial jobs obtained in private practice, according to the National Association for Law Placement. Small firms are the most important source of employment for new law school graduates, especially for those students without stellar academic records from top law schools.

The NALP estimates that almost half of all law firm jobs are now being taken with firms of 25 or fewer attorneys. This is compared to the 3.5 percent of jobs obtained with the largest firms, 501+ attorneys. According to the placement director at one well-known Washington, D.C., law school, half of her students from the class of 2012 went to work in law firms. Of that 50 percent, 60 percent went to work in small law firms. And that number continues to grow. The "smolo," small or solo firm, is becoming a mainstay in the legal placement landscape.

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