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How to Start a Part-Time Law Practice as a New Lawyer

Sur, yu can start a law prac part-tim.

If you understood that last sentence, then you know what I'm saying: "Sure, you can start a law practice part-time."

But it is going to be missing a few things -- like hours during the day -- so you'll have to fill-in some blanks to make sense of it. Here are a few pieces of advice:

Part Time, Full Commitment

"The single-most-important thing about starting a part-time law practice is the single-most-important thing about starting a full-time law practice: don't half-ass it," says Sam Glover for the Lawyerist.

His words, not mine. But I agree. "You need to dive in, headfirst, and work your butt off [sic] with whatever time you have for your practice," he says.

Whoever said the law is a jealous mistress, must have been a mistress (or a mister.) Actually, we can credit Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story for the expression:

"It is a jealous mistress and requires a long and constant courtship," he said in 1829. "It is not to be won by trifling favors, but by lavish homage."

I agree with these words, too. Meaning that if you are going to try to start a law practice, part-time or any time, be prepared to give it all of your attention.

Full Time Competency

"This is the most difficult part," says William Peacock for FindLaw. "Prepare for the occasional long night or wasted weekend."

It isn't actually about the time; it's about the quality of the time. If you are taking five hours to do a two-hour task, you are wasting time.

As a new lawyer, you may have to negotiate the learning curve. Focusing on a familiar practice area or choosing an area that is more manageable time-wise, such as contract drafting or estate planning, can help, too.

Setting up a part-time practice still requires law-office basics, i.e. computer, phone service, email, website, software, etc. In the hierarchy of tools, email and phone service should be high on the list because clients won't hire you if they can't reach you.

In any case, our time is what we sell in law practice and you can only sell so much in a day. But with a little help from technology, good time management, and other time-savers to fill in the blanks, you can start a part-time law practice.

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