Are you interested in building your career at a small firm? If so, this book, Choosing Small Choosing Smart: Job Search Strategies for Lawyers in the Small Firm Market”, by Donna Gerson, Esq. will be a fantastic resource for any questions you have about small firms – from preparing for interviews to opening a solo practice. This short book is divided into five chapters, each addressing a different phase of life at a small firm. Each chapter includes some general information about the topic, as well as some bulleted points which make it easy and quick to read through. One of my favorite aspects of the book were the blurbs in each chapter written by practicing attorneys giving their opinion about the topic.
The first chapters of the book describe life in a small firm and how to begin to form relationships with firms with which you are interested in working. This portion of the book contains a lot of useful information such as describing when small firms typically hire new associates, tips for networking and learning about the market. There are also a number of pages dedicated to creating a fantastic cover letter, resume, and writing sample for your application packet.
The next couple of chapters talk about what small firms look for in hiring and how to succeed at the firm once hired. The book describes the three characteristics that employers look for in candidates – intelligence, work ethic, and motivation to work at that particular firm – and how you can show each of these characteristics in an interview. Once you are hired at a firm, you will face a new set of challenges. This book gives advice on dealing with some of these, such as salary negotiation and overcoming roadblocks at work.
Finally, chapter five describes some of the popular career routes that people may take once they gained some experience at a small firm. These options vary greatly, so this chapter covers several different options for work after being at a small firm. Some of the options discussed include moving to a large firm, being a judicial clerk, or working for a public interest firm or the government. Clearly, there is a broad spectrum of work that small firm associates have engaged in after leaving the firm.
There is so much great information in this book and many of the areas that students have questions about regarding small firms are addressed by the author. In addition to the text in the body of the book, the author also included approximately twenty pages of resources in the Appendix, such as sample resumes and cover letters. Overall, this is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in any aspect of a small firm.