In 2011, almost 20 years after graduating law school, Kevin E. Flynn left an intellectual property law firm with offices in several states to form a small law firm with a focus on patent law. Some potential clients wonder about the differences between working with a small law firm and working with a large law firm.
There are times when a client needs a large team of attorneys. Patent litigation normally requires a team. There may be times when one large corporate client needs to file a dozen patent applications all at the same time. However, in many instances, a company not yet in the Fortune 500 can benefit from working with a smaller firm where the partner that brings in the work, does the work. Clients gets to educate one attorney and that education is used for the benefit of the client. Clients have switched from big firms in big cities to FLYNN IP LAW as the client grew tired of explaining things to one attorney and then having another more junior attorney create a draft application. Bills can grow when the pyramid of attorneys involved with a project have meetings or reviews of work done by those lower on the food chain.
Clients that had initial work done by a big firm in a big city are relieved to learn that it is not more expensive to have a seasoned attorney at a smaller firm take over for a young associate at a big firm. The big city firms are forced to have large billing rates and large billable hour demands to cover the expensive rent, high salaries paid to associates, and expensive payouts to senior partners. Sometimes a young company feels that the big firm does not view the small but growing company as an important client when compared with much larger companies that have many open matters with the big firm.
Another advantage of working with a smaller firm the ability of the smaller firm to give a bigger bubble of exclusivity with respect to subject matter conflicts. A patent law firm seeks to avoid having a conflict where it is working with two different clients that offer the same type of good or service. With a large firm having more than a hundred patent attorneys, this becomes a very difficult task, especially when the firm represents many large corporate clients that sell dozens or hundreds of different products. The solution appears to be some real hair splitting on what is the same sort of good or service. This solution can lead some clients to later feel that they were not handled fairly as the big firm took on too many clients in the same space and had conflicts which impacted the representation. In some cases this leads to litigation asserting malpractice. There are work-arounds employed by large firms including attempts to wall off attorneys in one office from the work of other firm attorneys in other offices or simply forcing clients to sign conflict waivers to allow the firm to take on multiple representations in the same field. FLYNN IP LAW finds it simpler to have fewer attorneys and avoid the need to split hairs or employ work-arounds.