Is Law a Big or Small Picture Career?

June 24, 2023 - 9:19 am - 4 min read

Career Overview: The Big and Small Picture of Law

Becoming a lawyer is a highly competitive and intellectually stimulating profession. There is no doubt that pursuing law as a career requires a lot of time, dedication, hard work, and a great deal of financial resources. It is imperative to understand the intricacies of the legal profession, especially when it comes to selecting between big and small picture perspectives.

In layman’s terms, the big picture of law is the overall goal behind a case. Lawyers think of themselves as problem-solvers – they are hired to resolve a client’s legal troubles. Thus, when taking a big picture approach, lawyers consider strategies that will achieve the most favorable outcome for their client. On the other hand, the small picture of law involves the procedural aspects of a case based on the rules of the courts. This approach involves the nitty-gritty of a legal case and how these cases are influenced by the court’s rules.

The Big Picture of Law: Advantages and Challenges

The big picture of law offers lawyers an opportunity to work on major legal cases that can impact society or bring in large profits. Lawyers involved in this approach often work with powerful individuals or organizations and have the chance to make a significant impact on a widespread basis. In such cases, lawyers may be required to work in large teams, working alongside professionals from different backgrounds. This, in turn, allows for collaboration and communication, which enhances their experience and communication skills.

However, pursuing the big picture in law comes with several challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the pressure to achieve the best possible results for a client, which can lead to extreme work hours and high stress levels. There is also a high level of competition and pressure involved in working on important cases, which requires extensive research, preparation, and long working hours.

The Small Picture of Law: Advantages and Challenges

Taking a small picture approach in law means that lawyers focus on the legal aspects of a case that is based on procedural standards and rules of the courts. This approach is beneficial to lawyers who enjoy attention to detail and have the ability to continuously learn and adapt to changes in procedural rules. Some lawyers thrive in law firms, where they can work with other lawyers on smaller cases while also building a solid client base.

The small picture approach can bring about a sense of freedom for a lawyer, as they build their own clientele and establish a reputation for their exceptional work, rather than working on significant cases that can be pressurizing. However, this approach requires lawyers to put in the effort and time to build their practice from scratch. There is no assurance that this approach will lead to rapid career growth, as it often requires lawyers to put in long hours of work and dedicate significant time to building their reputation.

Career Success in Law: The Need for Balancing Both Perspectives

While both big and small picture approaches have their advantages, it is important to balance them to achieve a successful legal career. After all, a successful career in law requires lawyers to be adaptable, open-minded, and have a keen sense of detail.

Incorporating both perspectives allows lawyers to have a clear understanding of their client’s goals, objectives, and overall expectations when taking on a case. Lawyers who adopt this approach can provide their clients with the best possible legal advice by the small procedural details of the case while keeping in mind the overall goal behind the case.


In conclusion, lawyers shouldn’t limit themselves to just one approach in their legal practice. Combining a big and small picture approach will help improve their communication skills, maintain good working relationships, and ultimately help them achieve success in their legal careers. Aspiring lawyers should be open-minded and willing to adapt to different circumstances to succeed in the legal profession.


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