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January 26, 2022

As Associates Make Big Law Bucks From Home, Midsize Firms Wonder 'How Can I Compete?'

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Managing Partner, Nick Centrella, discussed how midsize firms can gain ground in recruiting, despite the recent bidding wars of Big Law in Philadelphia. Some midsize firms, who operated on a hybrid or flexible working arrangement before COVID-19, said they're worried about losing ground in recruiting. However, other midsize firm leaders said they still have an edge.


“We felt flexibility helped firm culture,” said Nick Centrella, managing partner of Conrad O’Brien. “Parents needed to work from home to fulfill family commitments. … To the extent it helped us recruit people, that was a plus, but now it’s going to be less of a recruiting tool.”


Centrella said his pitch to candidates is greater ability to control their cases and rate structure, albeit for lower pay than at the city’s Am Law 50 firms like Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Dechert. “The pay differences have always been there,” Centrella said. “There are certain people who want to be at big firms and maximize the amount of money they make and there are some people who would rather be at a smaller firm and make less money but have more professional freedom. Those are the people who thrive in our environment.”


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