What is a Boutique Law Firm?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A boutique law firm is a law firm which specializes in a specific aspect of the law, rather than offering general legal services and assistance. Such firms are quite popular with people who are entangled in complex branches of law such as maritime law, immigration law, and environmental law. The attorneys at these law firms pride themselves on providing exemplary service in their field of interest, along with recommendations to other firms for unique needs which they cannot meet.

The size of boutique law firms vary from single attorney operations to multi-national corporations.
The size of boutique law firms vary from single attorney operations to multi-national corporations.

The size of a boutique law firm varies widely, from a single attorney operation to a multi-national company with hundreds of employees. International firms tend to focus on issues like insurance, shipping, maritime law, and other fields of law which cross national boundaries. Small firms might focus on regional issues like tax law and employment law, with small staffs because they are serving a niche market.

The services of this type of law firm can be more expensive than those of a general law firm, but the fee includes the expertise of people who are uniquely versed in the law at hand. The staff can help clients move smoothly through a variety of issues, and their years of experience can be extremely beneficial to people struggling to work with byzantine immigration law, complex environmental regulations, or large estates.

Different services are offered by different firms. For example, an environmental firm might specialize in prosecution for environmental regulations, while another boutique law firm might focus on defense in criminal cases. Firms which specialize in things like jury selection, writing strong wills which will stand up to legal testing, and marriage law can also be found. The staff of the law firm typically includes paralegals and clerks in addition to the lawyers themselves, and the firm may also assist with investigation services as well.

If you need the services of a boutique law firm, it is a good idea to ask around. Fees vary, and you may be able to get a better rate with a lawyer who is passionate about or interested in your cause. If you know someone who has required the same service that you are in need of, ask him or her for recommendations or thoughts. For a major case, you might even want to consider going outside your state or province for an extremely experienced lawyer who will be able to provide the best service possible.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


GreenWeaver-I think that if you can afford it a boutique legal firm would be the best option because they are experts in the field that you are seeking help from.

A law firm that handles a variety of cases will not have the depth of knowledge with respect to your particular area of need.

For example, if you are seeking a divorce and have children you will be better served finding a family law firm that specializes in child custody cases instead of the general law firm that handles divorces.

You really want to get the judgments right the first time and not have to continue litigating because you did not have the right lawyer from the start.


Cafe41 -I wanted to say that an out of state lawyer could be used in a case, but he would have to petition the court for permission.

It does happen. I know that in the company that my friend works in the corporate lawyer representing the company has a law license from the state of California even though he works in the state of Florida.

He mainly handles contracts and employee terminations.


Great article. I just wanted to say that attorneys are usually licensed to work in a single state. They have to pass the bar exam of the state that there are interested in practicing, so if you consider an out of state attorney make sure that he is licensed in your state as well because there may be limitations regarding the amount of help that he could legally provide.

The state bar association should have a listing of attorneys with various specialties. This could help you find litigation attorneys that are right for you.

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