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Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better When Choosing a Criminal Law Firm

Categories: Knowledge

You’ve been arrested, made bond, and now you’re at the point of making the painful choice of who will represent you in your criminal court case.  You go to Google and put something in like “San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney” or “San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer” or even “Best Criminal Lawyer in San Antonio” and get assaulted with pages of criminal defense attorneys all around you.  You’re already upset that the money that you’ve saved for years for something else now has to be funneled into a defense you never saw coming. 

Law Firm Misdirection: Why a small law firm matters

Some of the searches near the top show law offices with numerous attorneys and a few hundred five star reviews.  The pictures look great.  Their website is full of content.  You decide to make the call.  When you’re directed to an attorney, you find yourself speaking to a senior criminal defense attorney with years of experience.  Maybe they were a prosecutor once.  A look into them personally reveals an impressive history of courtroom trials that fill you with confidence.  You speak to the attorney for an hour and afterwards you feel more comfortable wit spending your nest egg towards your future.  You pay them their retainer and you try to take a breath for the first time in three days since you first felt the devil’s bracelets on both wrists. 

But then your court date comes.  You go to the Courthouse on Dolorosa and you wait in court.  A number of attorneys are seated between your chair and the bench where the Judge will call your name at 9.  You don’t see the attorney you spoke with.  You know his face well because it’s all over the website.  It’s in all those articles on Google that you read.  Instead, you hear your name called by an attorney you don’t know. 

One look at the attorney and you’ve got a pretty good feeling by the clip-on tie and the look in his eyes of a baby deer on a busy highway that this guy has not got the experience you want in the ring.  You raise your hand and he introduces himself as your lawyer.  You have to ask, where’s the guy who took your money? 

This is where the reality sets in.  This is where you learn that the attorney you spoke to doesn’t really go to court.  He’s just the guy that gets the money in through the door.  You may never see him again.  But the guy with the shiny new bar card will make sure to be there at every setting, unless he gets a better job somewhere else between now and the next hearing.  In which case, you’ll get another fresh faced attorney to learn the way with you. 

This is why it is so important when you are looking for an attorney to make sure the one who you are retaining is the one that will walk through the courtroom doors with you.  Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions when you are interviewing attorneys.  At Brian Powers, Attorney at Law, you hire the attorney that’s doing the job.  Criminal Defense work is the most personal type of law there is.  And as such, you require the personal experience of one attorney to do the job.  Don’t make the mistake of presuming more attorneys means better results.  Call my office at (210)222-9446 for a free consultation today. 

What factors should I consider when choosing a criminal law firm?

When choosing a law firm, it's essential to consider the size and specialty of the law firm’s practice. Big firms and small law firms offer distinctly different experiences, both in terms of working environment and the type of legal services they provide. Bigger firms may have a broader range of resources and typically engage in different areas of law, including corporate law and employment law, making them a suitable option for clients needing a full-service law firm. However, legal professionals in small law firms are often highly specialized in a particular area of law, and you might find a more personalized approach to your case within these settings.

Moreover, the quality of legal service can be exceptional in both settings. Small firm attorneys and professionals in small law firms may offer more direct and accessible communication, which can be beneficial for clients. On the other hand, working for a big law firm or midsize law firms often means access to a broader range of legal expertise and resources. Small law firms also have the advantage of fostering closer relationships within the firm, potentially leading to more tailored legal advice. Regardless of whether you're interested in a career in law or seeking legal assistance, evaluating these factors carefully can guide you in selecting the right environment, be it working for a smaller entity or navigating the complexities of practicing law within a larger organization.

Advantages of working with a small law firm

Working with a small law firm offers several advantages. One of the primary benefits is the personalized attention and close client-attorney relationship that can be developed. In a smaller firm, clients are not just another case file, but individuals with unique circumstances that require special attention. This close relationship fosters trust and effective communication, ensuring that your legal needs are understood and addressed in the best possible manner.

In addition, working in a small law firm allows for greater opportunities for professional development. In larger firms, junior attorneys may find themselves lost among a sea of colleagues, making it difficult to gain practical experience and stand out. However, in a smaller firm, attorneys have the chance to take on more responsibilities, handle a variety of cases, and develop their skills.

Moreover, small law firms often offer greater flexibility and diverse legal experience. Unlike larger firms that may only focus on specific areas of law, smaller firms often have the ability to handle a broader range of legal matters. This versatility can be advantageous if your legal situation requires expertise in multiple areas or if your needs change throughout the course of your case.

Benefits of working with a boutique law firm

If you require specialized expertise in a specific practice area, a boutique law firm may be the ideal choice for you. These firms concentrate their efforts on a niche area of law, allowing them to develop extensive knowledge and experience in that particular field. This level of specialization ensures that you receive the highest quality legal services catered specifically to your needs.

In addition to specialized expertise, boutique law firms also offer more focused and tailored legal services. These firms often work with a select number of clients, allowing them to devote more time and resources to each individual case. This level of attention ensures that your legal matters are given the priority they deserve, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Another advantage of boutique law firms is the less bureaucratic and more collaborative work environment. In large firms, decision-making processes can be complex and time-consuming, resulting in delays. However, in boutique firms, the smaller team size allows for more efficient communication and decision making. This collaborative atmosphere fosters teamwork and encourages innovative strategies to tackle legal challenges.

Choosing the right law firm size for your legal matter

When it comes to choosing the right law firm size for your legal matter, several factors should be taken into consideration.

Firstly, evaluate the complexity and scope of your case. If your legal matter is straightforward and doesn't require extensive resources, a small law firm may be more than capable of providing the assistance you need. On the other hand, complex cases that involve multiple parties or intricate legal issues may require the resources and expertise of a larger firm.

Consider the level of personal attention you require. If you prefer a more hands-on approach and want to work closely with your attorney throughout the entire process, a small law firm may be the better option. However, if you are comfortable with a more detached approach and are seeking efficient and prompt resolution, a larger firm may be suitable.

Lastly, assess the reputation and track record of the law firms you are considering. Take the time to research their past cases and outcomes, as well as any client reviews or testimonials. This information will give you an understanding of their capabilities and reliability, helping you make an informed decision.

Are there any downsides to working with a small law firm?

Possible limitations in resources and support staff

One potential downside of working with a small law firm is the limitations in resources and support staff. Unlike larger firms that have extensive resources and dedicated paralegals, small firms may have a more limited budget and a smaller support team. This can result in potential delays or challenges in handling certain aspects of your case.

May have a smaller client base compared to larger firms

Small law firms often have a smaller client base compared to larger firms. While this can provide a more intimate and personalized experience, it may also mean that the firm has less exposure and recognition in the legal industry. If a well-known brand name is important to you, you may consider opting for a larger firm.

Less recognized brand name in the legal industry

In the legal industry, reputation plays a significant role. Smaller law firms may not have the same level of brand recognition as larger firms. While this doesn't necessarily reflect their capabilities or the quality of their legal services, it is a factor to consider if the reputation of the firm is essential to you.


When selecting a criminal law firm, it is crucial to recognize that bigger isn't always better. By carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages of working with both small and large law firms, you can make an informed decision based on the unique needs of your legal matter. Remember, personal attention, specialized expertise, and reputation are all essential factors in choosing the right law firm for your case.


Q: Why might choosing a smaller law firm over a larger one be advantageous for litigation?

A: Choosing a smaller law firm for litigation often provides more personalized attention and direct access to experienced attorneys. Unlike larger law firms, where cases might be handed off to junior associates, small firms allow clients to work closely with seasoned legal professionals, ensuring that their case receives the attention it deserves. Additionally, smaller firms usually have fewer clients, meaning they can dedicate more time and resources to each case.

Q: How do big law firms and small law firms differ in their approach to client relationships?

A: Large law firms often have many clients and might not be able to provide the personalized care and direct attorney-client relationships that smaller firms can. In contrast, smaller law firms pride themselves on building strong, direct client relationships. This close interaction ensures that clients are well-informed and feel more involved in their legal proceedings.

Q: Can hiring a small law firm provide any financial benefits?

A: Yes, hiring a small law firm can often be more cost-effective than engaging with a big law firm. Smaller firms have lower overheads and thus, in many cases, can offer more flexible and competitive pricing structures. This can be particularly beneficial for small businesses and individuals who require quality legal advice without the hefty price tag often associated with big law firms.

Q: Are there specific advantages of smaller law firms for small businesses seeking legal advice?

A: Absolutely. Many small firms offer tailored legal advice that aligns with the unique needs of small businesses. These firms understand the challenges small businesses face and often provide hands-on, personalized guidance to navigate legal hurdles. Additionally, the flexible pricing and closer attorney-client relationships can be especially advantageous for small businesses that value direct, easy communication and cost-effective legal services.

Q: How does working with a big law firm differ from working with a small law firm?

A: Working with a big law firm may involve dealing with a larger team, where your case could be managed by different attorneys, including junior associates. This can affect consistency and personal attention. In contrast, working for a small law firm typically means a more stable, consistent point of contact and a deeper, more personal understanding of your case by the firm’s attorneys. This can lead to a more cohesive legal strategy and execution.

Q: Why do some individuals and businesses prefer smaller law firms for their legal needs?

A: Individuals and businesses often prefer smaller law firms for their personal approach, flexibility, and focused expertise. Smaller firms can provide specialized advice and services tailored to the specific needs of clients, offering a level of attention and customization that larger firms simply might not match. Additionally, the stronger client relationships and potential cost savings are significant factors in this preference.

Q: How does the level of specialization compare between big law firms and smaller law firms?

A: Big law firms tend to offer a broad range of services, catering to a wide variety of legal needs at the expense of personalized service. On the other hand, many small firms focus on specific areas of law, providing them with a deep level of expertise and allowing them to offer specialized and highly knowledgeable legal advice. This focused expertise can be highly beneficial for clients with specific legal needs.

Q: What are the benefits of having fewer clients in a law firm?

A: Having fewer clients allows a law firm to dedicate more time, resources, and personalized attention to each case. This can result in a more thorough exploration of legal options, a stronger attorney-client relationship, and, ultimately, more effective legal representation. Smaller firms, which typically have a more exclusive client list, often provide this level of dedicated service.

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