10. Be your own boss
"You know, Jim - should you really make a rising BAC argument on that DUI case?" Damn right, you should. Use the strategy that you deem best, as opposed to the risk-averse strategy of your boss. Everything, from billing to office furniture to case strategy is in your hands.
9. Take cases that matter to you
"I feel bad for that client, but we won't make money off of him." While you won't want to take too many of these types of cases to start, once in a while, you can take a case that might not be the biggest earner, but satisfies your desire to help others.
8. Handle cases from start to finish
"You do all the pretrial crap. I'll handle the jury." Seriously? You didn't go to law school to sit and draft motions. You wanted to be Johnny Cochran. Sure, you'll still be doing doc review and motions, but you will also handle trials and hearings.
7. No firm politics
"So, my daughter said that you made her cry." You insulted Justin Bieber and sent the senior partner's daughter into a meltdown. Guess what? When you're the boss, you don't have to buy someone else's brat the Believe album to save your job.
6. Wardrobe flexibility
"Is that purple shirt work-appropriate?" Who cares? It's your work. You can come in wearing Darkwing Duck slippers if you want. No 24/7 formal wear for you. We'd recommend keeping odd wardrobe choices to days where clients aren't coming in, however.
5. Prioritize time as you see fit
"We don't have time for law-blogging. Work on this doc review instead." Discovery? That can wait. The Ninth Circuit just released a fascinating decision on providing material support to terrorists.
4. Schedule flexibility
"I'm sorry Ma, I can't make it out for Christmas." Well, this one may still be true, especially in the first couple years of practice. You'll be working more hours than a BigLaw associate just to break even. Then again, there's always telecommuting.
3. Work from anywhere
"I need you in the office." Pffft. You don't need yourself in the office? Did we mention telecommuting? As long as you don't have to be in court, you can basically work from anywhere. Here are a few suggestions.
2. Practice area flexibility
"I'm sorry. We need you to cover DUI law." You're sick of drunkards. Finish out your cases and switch to tech startup law, if you like. Just make sure you can find clients.
1. Income potential only limited by time
"No bonuses this year. You only billed 2,999 hours." In the words of the Notorious BIG, "live the phrase - sky's the limit." Your first year will be spent hunting for clients and setting up your practice. Once things are running smoothly, however, and you have support staff to handle administrative tasks, your income is only limited by the number of hours in a day.
- Real Life Firm Startup: Gregory Mouton Takes Control of His Future (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Small Firm Startup: Tax Tasks to Tackle Before Hiring Employees (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Small Firm Start-Up: What Tech Do You Need? (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)