Biglaw firms want clients to believe that they have the resources and brainpower to outgun smaller opponents – but that’s not always the case as reported in Want to Beat a Big Firm in Litigation? Turn its Tactics to Your Advantage, Meg Tebo, ABA Journal (November 2004). But why doesn’t more manpower necessarily translate into victory? First, there’s the “underestimation” factor. As David Kaufman, a litigator who frequently triumphs in disputes against big firms, theorizes in the article:

Attorneys from big firms assume they are smarter than small-firm lawyers and that their superior resources can be used to simply exhaust the opposition. “The level of arrogance is really quite extraordinary,” he says. (as an aside, David’s both a friend and a first rate litigator who’s helped me out on numerous occasions. The last thing you’d want to do is underestimate him!)

Kaufman also explains that big firms often engage in document dumps and file multiple motions – tactics which work against the firms in the long run. If small firms take the time to go through reams of documents, valuable nuggets often emerge. And most judges don’t tolerate frivolous motions so large firms will gain reprimands or sanctions from their efforts.

As with any case, superior preparation and familiarity with the facts will always win the day. And you don’t have to be big to do either of those well….


  1. Law in Hyperspeed on November 28, 2004 at 6:31 am

    Great Blog for Solos and Small Firms

    Fortunately someone out in blog space is trying to help all of the solo and small firm types. Carolyn Elefant has a blog called My Shingle. It is a wonderful resource.

  2. Phil on December 2, 2004 at 5:12 am

    Wow, great article.

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