Is a small firm right for me?

There are trade offs between small firms and large law firms. In a small law firm your case will usually be of more importance to your lawyer. If a big firm represents multi-million dollar clients, when those clients call, your case may be shuffled to the back burner. In a small firm, by necessity, your case is more important to the firm.

If a client has consistent needs for specialized representation in several areas, a big law firm may be the best choice for that client. However, for clients who need generalized representation most of the time, with specialized representation only occasionally, a small firm can be a better choice. It may be wise to examine the large firm business model to help understand why.

Big law firms are a lot like HMOs. If a client has a problem outside of the expertise of their primary lawyer, they are referred to a lawyer inside the firm, just like general practitioners refer to specialists inside their HMO. For example, Acme Manufacturing is a long time client of Paula, a partner at ABC Large Firm. Paula, a good lawyer in her own right, recognizes that Acme has a tax problem. More than likely, Paula will refer Acme to another lawyer in ABC. This may be the case even if a world-famous tax lawyer practiced next door to ABC. The compensation arrangements at large firms are oftentimes structured to reward partners like Paula financially for the business they bring in and keep in the firm.

Mark E. Shelley, PC is structured differently. We simply will not take cases that we are not qualified to handle. If an existing client develops a problem that is outside our area of expertise, we work with that client in selecting the absolute best lawyer in the area to handle that particular problem.

We may not profit financially in the short term like a partner at a big firm, but we believe than in the long run, professionally, ethically and even financially, that putting a client’s best interests first is the best solution for us as well as the client.


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Concord, North Carolina

115 Church Street North
Concord, NC 28025

Telephone: 704-782-8282
Facsimile: 704-782-8285