Former federal prosecutors increasingly shun BigLaw to open boutique firms

Law Firms

A small but growing number of former federal prosecutors are choosing to open their own law firms rather than join large law firms.

Federal prosecutors are opening their own legal boutiques as they seek to maintain the autonomy and power they had in U.S. attorney’s offices, the New York Times DealBook blog reports.

Also fueling the trend: It’s getting more difficult to find jobs with white-collar practices at top law firms as corporate clients cut legal spending. Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services in New York, tells the Times that a lot of firms have filled their white-collar practices.

“There is still a market for highly credentialed lawyers,” he said, “but big law firms do not have the same need that they once did.”

Among those who are opening their own firm are former Manhattan prosecutors Nicholas Lewin, Edward Kim and Paul Krieger. They say their firm will use outside legal research services and contract lawyers, and will have no need for secretaries or paralegals. They hope to offer high-quality legal work without BigLaw prices.

That’s also the goal of a boutique firm founded in part by James Walden, a former federal prosecutor who worked at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

“I very much wanted to build something of my own with a strong culture but without the trappings of beautiful paintings or celebrity speakers at retreats, or a lot of internal competition,” he said.

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