Law graduates are going solo at a higher rate these days, trying to overcome the lack of jobs and stagnant economy. Some are sharing the costs with friends, while others have turned to virtual law offices.
Whatever the case, they all have one thing in common -- law school did not teach them how to run a business. Luckily, with a little work, that knowledge gap can be overcome.
But the question remains, is the work with it? Only you know the answer, but consider the following things while deciding whether to go solo.
Can you survive financially? There's no doubt that going solo is a big expense. Between malpractice insurance, office space, employee salaries and technology, you're going to need some funds. But you're also going to need to fund yourself.
It can take up to a year to get your practice in the black, according to Reid Trautz. Even then, it could be another year before you draw a decent salary. Will you have enough money to personally survive?
Can you lure clients? This seems pretty obvious, but it isn't. First, you must choose the right practice area. This includes an analysis of your client base and competition. If your local market can't sustain another solo attorney, you may have to move or change your focus.
You'll also need to market yourself. If you're not a people person, this can be a real challenge. And if you're not tech savvy, you may not be able to harness the power of the Internet.
Can you fail? No one likes to think about failure, but it's an important part of the equation. Can you, as a person, sustain failure? Will it emotionally destroy you, or do you bounce back? And do you have a contingency plan? What will happen to your finances if going solo doesn't pan out?
Think hard about going solo. It's a big decision, so be sure to think through all the machinations first.
- Law grads going solo and loving it (MSNBC)
- Clients are More Likely to Hire 'Beer-Worthy' Attorneys (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Client Retention: How to Keep Your Clients for the Long Haul (FindLaw's Strategist)