Smaller Firms are Best Placed to Nurture Legal Talent

10 January 2019
Author: Polly Lloyd

Law firms look set to expand their legal teams in the first half of 2019, with a particular focus on their disputes practices. Yet new research, recently shared in the Global Legal Post, suggests that there is a lack of skilled lawyers, legal secretaries and paralegals available in the market to meet this expanding demand. The research notes that large international firms are likely to struggle most with the increasing trend for leading individuals at all levels to move to smaller, often specialist, firms.

The draws of small firms for talented lawyers and business services employees include opportunities for greater work-life balance, diversity and flexible working. Smaller firms can also provide a stronger sense of community, creating an environment that lends itself to greater empathy and acceptance of individual circumstances and challenges. This friendlier and more open culture can also result in greater diversity across the workforce.

For trainees, associates and paralegals there are further benefits to choosing smaller firms. It is likely that they will perform more substantive legal tasks than those at their larger counterparts. This can result in a faster-paced learning environment. Associates may also have greater levels of client contact; at large law firms this is often the reserve of more senior lawyers.

Smaller outfits can also more easily promote accelerated career progression, as there are fewer layers of management and bureaucracy. It can also be easier to demonstrate worth and gain recognition; lawyers can more easily build an individual practice and move towards partnership. With all this in mind, it is unsurprising that many talented junior lawyers are opting to join smaller firms.

For partners there is the opportunity for increased influence over firm management, strategy and development. There is more tolerance and understanding of individual ways of working, and greater scope in the development of practices, in terms of direction, variation and growth, due to both the flexibility and the lack of client conflicts found at smaller firms.


Although this new research does not herald a step change in today’s global legal market, it indicates that many of those working in private practice are rightly thinking beyond firm size, profile and global footprint when choosing where to work.

Return to List of Articles by UK Lawyers on Tax Disputes, Tax Litigation, HMRC Tax Appeal Return to Listings
Left Button on Tax Dispute & Tax Litigation Lawyers in London

Our Insights

Insights from UK Tax Dispute Lawyers & HMRC Tax litigation

The End is Nigh for the Non-Dom Regime

Published in ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine, Helen McGhee expert analysis of the current state of non-dom tax regime and it's future.

Read More
Insights from UK Tax Dispute Lawyers & HMRC Tax litigation

Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)

Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).

In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1

HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.

This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.

It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.

This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine

Read More

Right Button on Tax Dispute & Tax Litigation Lawyers in London