To Start or not to Start? That is the Question.

Are you thinking about opening a solo law firm? Starting a solo law practice allows you to be your own boss and work when, where, and on what you like.  Drawbacks of opening a solo law practice include being solely responsible for everything (finances, management, marketing, etc.) and possibly longer hours.  So before you start a solo law practice, read on for some things you should know beforehand.

Understand Yourself

The first thing you should do when deciding to start your own law practice is to ask yourself the following questions. Do I have the right skills and attitude to run my own business? How well do I tolerate risks? Am I an entrepreneur? Running your own business requires managerial, finance and marketing skills. Not only do you have to be confident with your legal knowledge, but you also have to be willing to learn or refine your business skills. 

Game Plan

If you still want to open a solo law firm after assessing your entrepreneurial and legal skills, develop a plan of action for your practice.

  •  Pick one or two areas of law you want to specialize in. Make sure you choose the right area of law to focus on because some areas are harder to get into.
  • Identify who your ideal clients are and  your specific  business goals:  do you want to reach a revenue goal or an experience goal?
  • Be sure to establish a financial, management, and marketing plan.  See if an intern at a local community college will help with your media plan.
  • Let people know that you are starting your own firm and your law practice specialty.  Join professional organizations that cater to your specialty. Networking is a great source for referrals.
  • Decide what kind of office environment is right for you. Instead of signing a lease for a year find an office  where you can share expenses by seeking other lawyers with empty law space.  Shared law office space is a no brainer as a  solo attorney.  The benefits  of sharing a law office space include: reduced rent, shared office equipment and conference rooms, and built-in networking and referral opportunities. Lawspacematch.com is a great way to find empty law  office space.

Use Legal Apps

Legal apps can assist you in working remotely and being a paperless law practice.

  • Cloud-based apps can be used for document authoring, file sharing, and backups. It provides mobility, flexibility, and security.
  • Google Docs/Sheets/Slides enables users to compose, edit, and share word processors, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Dropbox allows you to store files in folders that can be private, public, or shared with certain users.
  • CrashPlan provides a safe and reliable means of backing up your documents.
  •  See Three Cloud-Based Tools Every Law Practice Needs – http://www.legalinkmagazine.com/2014/07/three-cloud-based-tools-every-law-practice-needs/ for more information. 

Consider getting a Mentor

Having more experienced attorneys in your law space who can help by advising about how to set flat rates or billing hours, counsel about a particular area of law outside of your growing expertise, valuable introductions to other lawyers and judges and lastly, perhaps referral business.   Again, you can find your mentor with shared law space.