What Should You Aim For? Independent Practice or Joining a Law Firm?

Being a law student is a tough journey. You have to study a lot while making sure you take part in different activities to secure your path. When you reach the end of the university years, you have two options to work as an attorney: joining a law firm or doing independent practice. Whether you want to work with reputable firms like Andrews, Bongar, Gormley & Clagett or work independently, you might be asking yourself if you’re making the right choice. So, which one is better: independent practice or joining a law firm.

If you’re having your doubts and want to make sure you make the right pick, this article will offer you advice on the matter.

Billable Hours

One aspect you need to consider is how much you want to work. When you’re working for a law firm, you will have to meet the billable hour goals that the company set up. That being said, you will have to spend a lot of time going to court, filing court paperwork, and other activities.

Independent lawyers work differently. They do not have to meet the billable hour goals – instead, they only need to meet the hours that will help benefit the clients involved. Thanks to that, independent practice allows a lawyer to handle personal issues as well.


Business skills are necessary if you want to be an independent lawyer. This means you will have to design a proper website, have the right sales skills, master financing skills, and so on. Basically, you will have to take care of all these aspects on your own.

In contrast, you don’t have to worry about these when you’re working for a law firm. You should only do your job and meet the billable hour amount. Designing a website and writing marketing content will not be your responsibility.

Finding the Right Clients

Working for a law firm can put a lawyer at disadvantage in certain scenarios. This is because they might have to work with clients that do not fit their particular practice area.

Independent lawyers can choose their clients. As a result, they will fit the criteria of the lawyer and the relationship will be smoother. The lawyer will be able to work in their desired practice area and it will make the job more enjoyable. In return, clients will find a good lawyer that can help them.


Many people are scared to be independent lawyers for financial reasons. There’s this idea that independent practice brings less money and, to some extent, it may be true. But independent lawyers work fewer hours, so the pay makes sense. Still, if the lawyer knows how to organize budget matters, the salary will be good enough to handle different payments and also have a care-free life

The salary offered by a law firm is higher, but it comes at a cost – the stress of meeting the billable hour goal.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the option you choose depends on your preference. Do you want a higher salary? A law firm might be a better choice. Do you want a more flexible program and the advantage of choosing your clients? Working independently will be wiser in this case. Make sure to weigh in the pros and cons and consider your goals so that you can make the best decision.