There should be a specific definition of the great law



Over the past several weeks, I’ve read several articles about a well-known law firm that was having some problems with defecting attorneys and other issues. People kept describing the company as “Biglaw”, perhaps to add to the drama created by describing the problems at this law firm. Although this law firm is large, it can never be compared to some of the large, reputable law firms that most people usually associate with Biglaw. This got me thinking about the definition of Biglaw and if a specific definition of the term might be possible.

In my view, there are different characteristics that a law firm should be described as a “Biglaw”. As indicated by the term itself, Biglaw stores must be very large. Although most lawyers work in small shops, there are some shops that have large numbers of lawyers. It is only natural that these big law firms achieve more fame in the legal circles, and they deserve to be attributed to a distinguished title.

Of course, “big” is a relative term. Some supermarkets may have only a few hundred lawyers while department stores may have several thousand lawyers. To stand out in the legal field, I feel shops need at least several hundred lawyers to have the prestige of being a “Biglaw” firm. This is important to distinguish Biglaw stores from shops that may be more prestigious but in a different class than these companies and ensures that Biglaw companies have significant influence in the legal industry.

Another factor that sets Biglaw’s shops apart from other companies is the amount of money the attorneys make at the firm. We all know that large law firms pay their employees lower salaries that may not even be paid to professionals with much less training than lawyers. These firms certainly shouldn’t be in the same category as law firms as Biglaw Shops that pay associates on or near the Cravath scale, which, if memories serve me well, includes a starting salary of $215,000 at present.

Some law firms like to enjoy the benefits of being large without passing on the rewards of their size to the partners. They should not be able to claim Biglaw status since these firms are not comparable to the stature and influence of other law firms. As a result, the law firm must pay attorneys on or near the Cravath scale for them to be classified as a Biglaw Shop. Some may think this classification is too restrictive, but there are dozens of law firms that pay attorneys this amount, so there are still a large number of shops that are considered Biglaw.

Biglaw stores must also have a wide geographic reach in order to have the distinction of being a Biglaw company. Some large, high-paying law firms operate in only one city or one region of the country. As such, these law firms may not be well known outside of the limited geographic area in which they operate. However, the most prestigious law firms have offices across the country and around the world. This helps these stores to serve all kinds of customers and make use of their contacts in different areas to complete more tasks for the customers.

It is difficult to say how many offices a law firm must have, or how many areas a law firm must operate in to be considered a Biglaw shop. In my view, Biglaw should have a few offices spread coast-to-coast across the US, and those stores should also have at least a few international offices. This gives Biglaw’s store a national and possibly international reach that helps serve customers and gives them the status associated with the Biglaw moniker.

In order to avoid merging all large law firms with those large stores that meet the above requirements, perhaps commenters could use different terms when describing law firms. The term Biglaw may relate to law firms that meet the requirements discussed above, and commenters may use the word Largelaw or another term to describe large law firms that do not meet the requirements discussed above. However, to be more accurate when describing the different law firms within the legal profession, legal news outlets and commentators in the legal industry should reserve the term Biglaw for only firms that meet certain requirements.

Jordan Rothman Partner Rothman Law FirmA full-service law firm in New York and New Jersey. He is also a founder Student Debt Diary, a website discussing how to pay off his student loans. You can reach Jordan via e-mail at


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