Who works at a law firm?

While you’re establishing your law office for the first time you will need to understand the kind of different people that work at a law office. Of course you’re really going to think of lawyers, but it is way more complicated than that. There are a lot of cogs in the law office machine, each as important as the next. While some people will only think of the lawyer as the person they are paying, that lawyer will not be able to even practice law if there is not a support staff that is operating right behind him or her. And, never forget, that some of that money you pay the lawyer, is not just paying the operating costs of an office, but paying for the staff that help operate it.


  1. Partners: it is extremely prestigious for a lawyer to become a partner in their own firm. They are always the most experience lawyers in the firm and Are the most expensive.
  2. Associates: associates are the lawyers who work for the firm that are not partners within the firm itself. They can still be good lawyers but they’re less expensive than partners will be. Associates usually will have to work for a law office from anywhere from 3 to 10 years before they could even be considered for partnership.
  3. Of counsel lawyers: a lot of firms will begin to affiliate with different lawyers that are considered counsel lawyers and not actually part of the office itself. These arrangements are used based on experience and can go both ways.
  4. Law clerks: there have been log clerks as long as there have been lawyers. They’re the students who are going to law school that will help do the dirty work and the headache freaking work for a lawyer at little to no pay.
  5. Paralegals: the paralegal is someone who has had some law school but is not actually a lawyer. They’re extremely critical to lawyers because they give invaluable support especially during larger cases. Often paralegals will have some working knowledge of law that will make them even more valuable to a law firm and then the associates. They usually work under a lawyer, and cost about half of what a regular lawyer does.
  6. Legal assistants: a legal assistant is really anyone who works in the office itself. It can be the paralegals and secretaries, clerks, and anyone else who happens to work for that door.
  7. Legal secretaries: as lawyers are full of endless paperwork and a ton of administrative details, they really need secretaries to handle us all. The secretary will keep the lawyer organized and assist them with any day-to-day issues that they may come across.
  8. Investigators: of course this depends on the type of law that you are practicing, the investigators are good to have on payroll or on retainer especially if you’re working on legal cases. They will go around and investigate the background facts on the case and presented to the lawyer well there are creating their case.
  9. Receptionists: All law firms are going to have a receptionist. They’re going to answer the phone right on the appointments and handle all the grunt work and I went else wants to do.
  10. Other administrative personnel: this really only applies to the larger law firms, who need an entire administrative staff to run the internal workings of the office. While the administrative staff are not a billable service, for any kind of services they do their cost should be included in the lawyer fees. They constitute part of the overhead cost of running an office altogether. Administrative workers include accounting, bookkeeping, billing, and human resources.

The Variations of Law Office Sizes

While every lawyer has their own style, you style is often better explained through the type of office you work for as well as the law you practice. As law offices vary substantially in size, this is just a fast rundown of the different kinds.

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Solo Practitioners

To begin with, there are solo practitioners, meaning it is just one lawyer handling your own business.

  • The advantage to being us of the lawyer is that you have a one-on-one relationship with your clientele.
  • There isn’t an issue of conflict of interest between two lawyers.
  • Usually the practice is less stuffy; employees are more for laid-back across the office than in a larger office.
  • Solo offices typically take on the smaller and individual clients.
  • There isn’t an issue of conflict of interest between two lawyers
Law-Firm-MarketingSmall-Size Firms

A small firm is considered something that has anywhere from two lawyers up to 10 lawyers.

  • Back up for information is one large advantage of having more than one lawyer in an office.
  • Larger pool of knowledge and experience to help with complicated legal matters
  • They can take on larger cases because there is more than one lawyer working on something where as a solo practitioner will not have the same abilities
Medium law office

A medium size law office can have anywhere from 10 to 50 lawyers

  • They can handle any range of cases due to a wealth of abilities and experience and information at their fingertips.
  • Medium law firms of been around for quite a while so they have a reputation and an existing clientele.
  • There’s also an increase in resources with a medium law firm that are not available to a smaller office. What this means is they can take on the bigger firms that are the more expensive firms but also still kind of have a smaller office feel.
Big law offices

Big offices will have anywhere from 50 lawyers on up.

  • They’re able to do the same work that the smaller offices do, given that they have such diversity and lawyers available, but they can also do both the resources tangerine extremely large cases.
  • There are high levels and variety and experience and education between the lawyers.
  • Lots of funds and resources available.
  • Long-standing reputation. As you cannot just become a big law office overnight; that means that they have been around for quite a while and will have a reputation in the community.
  • Availability to be in more than one place and at the same time. Larger offices mean more people mean the potential for more offices even globally. Which will extend your reach him on the clients.

If you’ve decided to run your own law office, you really need to dig deep and see what kind of office that you’re planning on running. Whether you wanted to be a large firm or a small one, you need to look toward the future. Or if you would like to have a more one-on-one experience in relationship with your clients, you really have to take it into account. You also have to understand the kind of law you will be practicing, as larger law firms will be handling more corporate dealings and smaller firms will be dealing with more personal and individual matters. Once you’ve established the size that you would like to go for, you will know how to proceed with establishing your practice.

Also keep in mind that the type of law itself will dictate the size of a law office. You will never have an individual practitioner working with a corporation who may be getting sued.

What can you bill a law office for?

Once you have started running your own office, you also need to understand what you can bill your clients for. As was stated on another page, administrative staff cannot be billed for and they need to be included in the overhead cost of running the office. But there are other items that you will be billing for as well as other things to take into consideration.

Partner fees: as partners are the most expensive lawyers in a practice these will be at ones that you will be bringing in the most money for the office. As they have the Highest level of experience they are definitely the most expensive, and while they take a generous cut of the overall fee, they still will bring in the most money to and Office

Telephone calls: well this is not the case with other kinds of offices such as doctors, lawyers can bill for phone calls. If they are only speaking with the lawyer secretary, that will not be a billable hour, however if they are speaking to a paralegal or the lawyer directly that is a billable service.

Travel time and costs: if someone asks to meet you somewhere specific or even at a restaurant, they can bill you for the time it took for them to leave your office and get to where you are as well as any kind of travel costs which will include gas.

Opposing counsel fees: working with the opposing counsel including just talking to them is a billable service.

The investigators: if an investigation is required and a case the client may be billed for the costs of utilizing the investigator.

Time: while this one should be the most given, but the time you spend working on a case is billable by the hour to the client. Even if something is not taking a four hour a client may be billed for that entire hour because the time we have been set aside for that specific function.


Filing fees: as the filing fees vary substantially from one state to another, if you are filing a lawsuit on your clients’ behalf, that cost is their responsibility and not yours.

Process server fees: as a process server has to be used in order to serve the person in question with the lawsuit, or any kind of subpoenas for David to positions etc. all of those fees are billable to the client.

Expert witness fees: expert witnesses are pretty costly, take for example doctors or psychiatrists can range anywhere from $500 and up per hour this pending on what there specialty is and how far they have to travel to get to you. They will charge for any kind of reports that they need to write as well as appearances in the time it takes to talk to you. All of the services will be billable directly to the client.

Mediation: if the defendant has agreed to pay mediation costs as part of the settlement this is not going to be billable to your client, however in the event that that is not the case the mediation costs between the client and the defendant are your clients responsibility as well and should be billed to them directly.

Any expenses that have been accrued: including obtaining medical records, photocopies, court filing fees, process server fees, deposition transcripts, and trial exhibits.

A quick list of things you cannot charge for: food and meals (your clients are not responsible for feeding you), outsourced legal research, online legal research, and faxes. Also keep in mind your client when you bill them. While some services the costs honestly need to be recouped, it is not always necessary and in some cases can be cruel to the client. Do not hurt your client, remember they need you and you are working for them, not the other way around.