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ASK THE MAM — Boutique or Big Firm?

DEAR MAM: I practice employment law at what would probably be considered a megafirm. A few of us are wondering whether it might be better to venture out on our own. In today’s market, do you think our futures are brighter staying put (we are on the partnership track, we think) or going out on our own? SINCERELY YOURS, JC, New York, NY

DEAR JC: Oh, the dilemma of sucking it up and earning big bucks with little life, or rolling the dice on making a good income and doing what you want. I know it well. Contrary to some recent reports, many have found recent success finding a niche that stands between a solo and a boutique–the mini-boutique. In most cases, the mini-boutique has a specialty in which a corporate client finds greater value and lower cost. In most cases that I’ve dealt with, the mini-b is started by partners that have a book of business to get rolling. So, unless you know that there will be some clients to get going, you might hold off a littler longer. Some of the mini-bs that have met with great success are IP and employment practices.

You think that you are on the partnership track? If you are within three years of that next level, stay the course and then reconsider venturing out. If you are a third-year associate, unless you have some clients that will be making the move, you may struggle. And, of course, there is always the opportunity to find a better fit at a full-size boutique. The grass is always greener, baby! Let me know how things play out. SINCERELY YOURS, THE MARKETING ATTORNEY

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