To Start or not to Start a Law Firm

There are not so many jobs available in the market so as law students graduate they really have to work hard in trying to get a job. The smart ones who see the bigger picture do not look for a job but they create one by starting their own law firm. Practice always makes perfect.

Opening and operating your own law practice makes you the owner of a business as well as a lawyer. The concerns of a self-employed business owner are different than those of an employee so the decision to open a practice should be well-informed. Before opening your own law practice, you should first evaluate whether you have or need to develop the necessary skills and attitudes to do so.

Tools exist to test your suitability to open and operate your own business, some of which have been included in the Resources section of this Guide. These self-assessment tools can provide you with a snapshot analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, as compared with those of successful business owners. Use the test results to determine what skills you lack to either augment those skills or to tailor your business and business plan accordingly. You will always be the most important part of your law practice.

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Many law school graduates are creating their own greener pastures. Why wait for decades to become a partner while you can be a partner from the beginning? There are many benefits of starting your own law firm as compared to working for one.

In 2012 and 2013, more than 1,000 law school graduates elected to go into practice for themselves in spite of the naysayers. Today, starting your own practice is a good idea for a number of reasons, including:

Office help when you need it

Office-sharing resources can be one affordable way to help you start your own law firm. These spaces come with conference rooms, a receptionist and sometimes freelance paralegal professionals to help with research. The built-in community of other business owners can also be a boon for earning referrals and building your new law business.

Readily available home resources

Nearly everyone has a home computer and Internet access. For many solo lawyers, that means they can conduct most of their business from the comfort of a home office.

Increased networking opportunities

More attorneys who are electing to start their own practice find that promoting their practice on social media including LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook is attracting new clients. Websites and e-mail allow solo practitioners to communicate with prospective clients with relative ease.

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Starting you own business is a huge undertaking even when it is starting a law firm. It is also hard to just give up a monthly salary for a salary that you are not so sure of. This however should not make you afraid of starting your own legal firm. Myths have been debunked so that you can forge ahead.

Myth #1 – I won’t have enough billable work

This is usually the #1 concern for lawyers who are considering going solo. Of course, it’s hard to give up a guaranteed, dependable salary in favor of a risky move like starting your own business. But you likely have more resources at your disposal than you realize. Once you get the word out about your transition to a solo or small practice, your friends, family and former colleagues are all great sources of referrals to potential clients. Additionally, industry and small business networking events are great places to get the word out about your practice and meet potential clients.

Myth #2 – There are too many upfront costs

Depending on the industry, starting up a business can be costly. Office space, software and cost of materials can add up pretty quickly. Luckily for lawyers, the service you’re selling doesn’t require much more than your laptop, a decent printer, case management software and your brain. To save on costs, you can even work out of your home until you build up your client base enough to justify having an office. Until then, you can hold meetings with clients in co-working spaces or at restaurants and coffee shops.

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