Florida A & M University Law Review

Article Title

Big Law Dreams


Pam Jenoff


Upon graduation, law students continue to seek positions with large law firms in record numbers. Graduates are drawn to Big Law for the purported pluses of high compensation; interesting work; extensive training and resources; mobility and prestige. However, a closer examination of the present-day realities reveals that these beliefs may be outdated, overstated, or simply incorrect. Students who make their career choices based on such premises may find themselves trapped in ill-fitting and unsatisfying positions. Moreover, an unyielding focus on Big Law based on faulty assumptions may have costs and consequences for legal education and the provision of legal services. This essay focuses on the factors contributing to the law student’s unrelenting drive toward Big Law. It examines the underlying assumptions built into that drive and whether they are valid. It explores the cost to graduates, the profession and society if students follow these assumptions and pursue a career in Big Law without careful thought and reflection. Finally, it considers the alternatives to Big Law that might give students what they are really seeking. By understanding the assumptions that drive them toward Big Law, students can make more informed career decisions. Law school faculty and administrators can also provide better curricular and career guidance if they understand the allure and limitations of the Big Law dream.