A partner from a law firm in a small legal market (under 500,000 people) in the United States asked me this question a few days ago.
The answer is really one of definition. While the term "general practice" is relatively benign, claiming to be "full service" can be toxic for a small law firm.
Business clients, even in smaller communities, are rightfully skeptical of small firms (which, for purposes of this discussion, includes firms of up to 20 lawyers) that advertise expertise or significant experience in dozens of practice specialties. When probed, many of these claims are based on one case or one transaction that might have happened years ago.
Our firm works with smaller law firms, both in the United States and worldwide, to develop and execute marketing strategies that work in smaller legal markets. Our experience and observations suggest three points that a small law firm should consider:
The risk to small law firms that try to do it all is that you usually end up doing nothing particularly well. This is a sure formula for invisibility in the competition for the types of potential clients that your firm needs the most.
Read more at the Walker Clark Worldview Blog.