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We recently saw an interview of Bruce Barket* on Bloomberg Law, where he talked about his experience starting a law firm in the post-recession economy. Bucking industry trends, his firm is not shrinking, but growing.
Here are some tips that we gleaned from his interview on how to start a post-2008, recession-proof law firm.
Find Other Superstars
When deciding to start your own law firm, consider teaming up with other established superstars. During the course of your career, you've likely met many attorneys that you admire and respect. Go ahead and dip into your network and see if these other legal talents want to step out on their own -- with you.
Complimenting Practice Areas
One of the things to consider when bringing other founding partners on is, what are their practice areas? Ideally, they'll all be bringing clients along with them, and it would be great if they worked in complementing practice areas. That is, practice areas with a little, but not too much overlap, so as not to cannibalize each others' clients.
Pro Bono Work
Doing pro bono work is not only a great way to "do good" in your community, it's a way to build contacts and stay busy. Sometimes the paying cases are not as interesting to you as the pro bono ones. If you are able to pay the bills, consider adding some pro bono work into the mix.
Competing with Larger Firms
While competition is good, it's difficult for smaller firms to compete with BigLaw in cases that can bill up to $1 million a month and take 10 years to resolve. Naturally, you will likely focus on representing individuals, rather than large corporations. Those types of cases are more manageable for small firms, which have fewer resources and employees. Be sure you only bite off what you can chew.
At the end of the day, Barket noted that when it comes to building a law firm, the worries are the same in good, and bad, economic times. Factors such as growth, resources, and demand all play a role. The solution, as in all things, is in finding the right balance.
What are some of your tips for starting a law firm in the post-recession economy? Tweet us @FindLawLP.