One of our lawyer friends was laid off from a law firm in 2009. His dismissal included an awkward it's-not-you-it's-the-economy conversation. Then his former boss asked, "So where do you think you'll work?"
The friend responded, "I haven't thought about it. Until five minutes ago, I thought I worked here."
He ended up starting a law firm. With his public relations-guru wife tirelessly promoting the practice, he has been one of the small firm success stories to emerge from the global financial meltdown.
Starting a law firm can be a daunting task, but you don't have to wait for a crisis to prompt the transition to solo practitioner or small law. Even if you didn't take a law school course to prepare you for small office practice, there are online resources to help you find your way.
What issues should you think about as you contemplate this change?
- Basic startup hurdles. Writing a business plan, small business loans, and obtaining state permits.
- Financial issues. Should you buy or lease office equipment? How much should you charge for your services?
- Human resources concerns. Behind every good lawyer is a good support staff. What benefits and compensation should you offer to attract and retain the perfect paralegal or legal assistant?
- Marketing. Unless you have your own in-house PR guru.
Lawyers are risk-adverse creatures, and starting a law firm, for most of us, is a risk. If you're considering striking out on your own, check out our Law Firm Management page for tips and checklists to help you figure out what you need to do to get your own practice up and running.
And if you enter appellate practice, be sure to add FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog to your RSS feed for regular updates on Fifth Circuit news and information.
- Stephen Higginson Confirmed for Fifth Circuit in Unanimous Vote (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog)
- Fifth Circuit Rehearing En Banc, Miscellaneous Fees Changing (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog)
- Chatty Suspect Didn't Clearly Invoke Right to Counsel (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog)