Thinking about going solo? There are certainly a bundle of pros to come with the idea of running your own practice -- there's no one barking orders at you, you can work on whatever schedule suits you, and best of all, you call the shots.
While running a solo practice may sound ideal, however, keep in mind that is still is uncharted territory. It's best to carefully maneuver your way into this new business model only if you really want to, after doing all your research, and not simply because you are fed up at the current firm or organization you're at.
With that said, here are some things to consider before you delve into those waters.
Running a solo practice is running a business
Most sole practitioners will tell you that they definitely do not spend all of their time practicing law. Running your own practice is running your own business, with a specialty of providing law as a service. Therefore, be prepared for (and know if you enjoy) wearing all the other hats required of running a law firm. This includes doing your own client intake, running your own marketing campaigns, manning all your own social media posts, and any and all the other nitty-gritty administrative tasks in between.
Your practice areas may be different
Just like any other type of law firm, solo practice firms tend to run in a certain direction when it comes to what practice areas they focus on. Solo practice firms are generally in line with small law firms and may have to broaden their focus to get and keep clients. This means that if you're making the transition from in-house, or having done only niche-y mergers and acquisitions, you may have to re-focus your specialty.
Your income may not be stable for a while
If your financial situation is a dire one, going solo may not be the best choice. This is not to say that there's no money in running your own practice, but it is usually far less stable than working for someone else at a firm, where your paycheck is consistent and constant. Of course, you could very well be making more as a solo, but there's always the chance that you'll be making less. Most often, you'll start off making less and likely build this up over the years -- much like any other small business owner starting out.
The crucial thing to remember is that, unlike at the last firm you were at, it's all on you.
- Flying Solo:5 Key Lessons From Starting My Own Practice (FindLaw)
- How Much Should a Solo Lawyer Charge? (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Solo 401(k): Best Retirement Plan for Sole Practitioners? (Findlaw's Strategist)