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How Much Experience Do You Need to Start Your Solo Law Firm?

This is how much experience you need to start a law practice -- zero.

Of course, taking the bar exam is an experience. But that's not the kind you want to repeat.

Assuming you made it past the bar, you can start your own law firm without any prior practice experience. However, here are a few practical skills you probably have already that will help you get going:

Self-Discipline

Solo practitioners are entrepreneurs, and nobody succeeds in self-employment unless they are disciplined. Just because you don't have to be to work at 9 a.m. everyday, doesn't mean you should slack off.

Fortunately, you had to have discipline to get through law school and the bar. Calendars, deadlines, checklists; so check, you got this.

Marketable Skills

Even if you never practiced law before, you probably did some legal work in the past. For example, law clerking counts big time. Secretarial skills, like typing wicked-fast, are also highly valued.

However, non-legal skills like sales and marketing experience are just as important. You can't practice law if nobody knows where to find you.

Gaining Experience

Hanging a shingle is not that easy. It takes a lot more than a hammer and nail, or self-discipline and marketable skills.

But you get experience as you get busy. Try contract work, temping, part-time, clinics, and volunteering. It adds up, and can even lead to specialties.

If you want a longer checklist on how to start a law firm, FindLaw has lots of resources. But you probably knew that already.

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