A majority of law graduates work for law firms, both large and small. Working in a law firm is known as private practice. A law firm is a for-profit entity with partners as co-owners and associates as employees. When you work for a law firm, you generally start out as an associate and work on a salary basis. After a certain time period, generally from 7-12 years, you may become a partner if the other partners at the firm determine that you have the legal and social skills to meet your clients’ needs and the business skills to attract clients.
Law firms vary greatly in terms of size, practice areas, salary ranges, atmosphere, type of clients, and demands placed upon the attorneys, both in terms of time and stress.
For more information about private firms, please consult the CSO Handbook chapters “Fundamentals of Job Searching” and “Mechanics of a Job Search.”