Can Big Law Firms in Secondary Markets Succeed on Talent Alone?

In today’s legal industry, the success of a law firm is determined by a multitude of factors. Among these factors, talent is undoubtedly one of the most important. Law firms with the best legal talent often attract the most prestigious clients and handle the most high-profile cases.

However, the importance of talent alone in determining the success of large law firms in secondary markets is debatable. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the success of large firms in secondary markets and examine the role that talent plays in this success.

What are Secondary Markets?

Before we dive into the discussion on the role of talent in the success of large law firms in secondary markets, it’s important to define what we mean by “secondary markets”. Generally speaking, secondary markets refer to cities or regions that are not major metropolitan areas, but are still significant economic and cultural centers.

Examples of secondary markets include cities like Austin, TX, Charlotte, NC, and Salt Lake City, UT. These markets have a smaller population and less economic activity compared to major cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

What Factors Contribute to the Success of Big Law Firms in Secondary Markets?

Success in the legal industry is determined by a combination of factors, including:

      1. Strength of the Local Economy

The health of the local economy is a crucial factor that determines the success of larger law offices in secondary markets. A robust economy is indicative of more opportunities for growth, and consequently creates an influx of potential legal work and new clients. This is incredibly advantageous for business growth and stability.

      2. Quality of Legal Services Offered

A law firm’s success is highly dependent upon the quality of its legal services. When a law firm provides top-notch legal services, it easily builds a strong reputation and generates prestigious clients. Quality legal services require knowledge, skill, and experience in order to secure successful outcomes for clients, as well as an understanding of the bigger picture.

      3. Reputation

A law firm’s reputation is perhaps the most critical factor for success in the legal industry. Companies with a notable reputation for excellence, client service, and superior results are often the most successful in attracting top talent and clients. As such, law firms must strive to constantly maintain and build a positive reputation in order to remain competitive and ensure long-term growth.

      4. Client Base

Having the capacity to entice and keep clients is fundamental for the success of any law office. An assorted customer base helps diminish dangers related with a specific business or division and gives a reliable wellspring of income that is reliable for long-term success. Additionally, having a broad customer portfolio extending across various businesses and sectors opens new opportunities to explore that lead to further growth and prosperity.

       5. Competitive Environment

The business landscape for law firms is highly competitive, and the level of competition in a particular market has a significant impact on its success. In highly competitive markets, law firms need to allocate extra resources to marketing and business development strategies in order to gain an edge over its competitors and stay ahead of industry trends.

       6. Availability of Talent

The accessibility of top-level legal talent is absolutely essential for the success of any law firm. Unfortunately, law firms based in secondary markets do not have the same wealth of talented legal professionals to choose from as those in major metropolitan areas, thereby limiting their potential for growth and success.

What Role Does Legal Talent Play in the Success of Large Law Firms in Secondary Markets?

While talent is an important factor in the success of any law firm, it is not the only factor. In secondary markets, big law offices are able to attract and retain top legal talent, but that talent alone is not sufficient for success. Some of the reasons for this include:

Limited Client Base

In secondary markets, there are fewer large corporations and high net worth individuals who require legal services, which limits the potential for growth and revenue. As a result, it is more difficult for large law firms in secondary markets to compete with their counterparts.


While having top talent on board is undoubtedly essential for a law firm to achieve success, it is not the only thing that contributes to its reputation. A firm’s reputation is also shaped by the quality of services it provides, its ability to attract and retain new clients, and its involvement in the local community. Moreover, firms that provide excellent customer service and maintain strong relationships with their clients are likely to have a better reputation as well.


In today’s highly competitive job market, firms need to continuously invest in marketing and business development efforts in order to stay ahead of their competitors and remain successful. While hiring top talent to support these efforts certainly helps, it is not always the only or sole driver of success, rather, innovation and creativity.


In order to successfully differentiate themselves in secondary markets, large law firms need to be well-versed and knowledgeable in the specialized areas of law that are most sought after by clients. This kind of expertise and insight helps set a firm apart from its competitors and makes them more attractive to those who require specialized legal services, giving the firm a competitive edge.

Local Presence

Building a strong presence in the local community also contributes to the success of big law firms in secondary markets. By participating in local events and organizations, the firm builds relationships with potential clients and develops a better understanding of the local legal landscape.

Work-Life Balance

Big law firms in secondary markets are able to offer a better work-life balance for their legal talent, which is a major selling point for top talent who are seeking a more manageable workload and better quality of life.

In summary, while talent is certainly an important factor in the success of big law firms in secondary markets, it is not the only factor. These firms must also focus on building a strong reputation, developing expertise in specialized areas of law, creating a strong presence in the local community, and offering a better work-life balance for their legal professionals. By leveraging these factors, big law firms in secondary markets compete with their counterparts in major markets and achieve long-term success.

Need assistance with your legal hiring? C&M Legal Search is ready to assist you, contact us today!

About C&M Legal Search

C&M Legal Search provides unique legal recruitment services for law firms, legal service providers, and corporate legal departments nationally. Our experienced team can recruit a wide range of legal staff, including attorneys and other operational personnel. We aim to help you succeed, whether you’re a client or legal talent. We listen carefully to your needs and offer practical advice; furthermore, we build trust relationships with all we work with. That’s the key to our success!

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