Much like starting any kind of business, making the change from a big law firm to a solo practitioner is a huge step. Knowing when to set out on your own is equal parts a leap of faith and thorough preparation.
Here are a few important aspects of having a solo law practice that you absolutely should consider before making any moves.
Be Honest with Yourself
This is probably the most important aspect of any business venture. If, as an entrepreneur, you are not honest with yourself about your skills in the varied aspects of starting and running a successful business, you will most likely not succeed.
As a solo practitioner, you’re likely to spend 20-50% of your time doing administrative tasks. Those tasks include setting up the infrastructure and technology to manage your business, investing in document management and communication systems, client acquisition, marketing, billings and receivables, back-office accounting, building and maintaining your website, and troubleshooting any problems in the office.
If you want to spend most of your time researching, building your cases, and generally practicing law, starting a solo practice might be more of a struggle for you. On the other hand, if you work well on your own and want the freedom and flexibility to manage your own business, a solo practice might be just the solution you seek at work.
Be Patient…and Consider All Options
Success doesn’t come overnight, and it’s incredibly important to remember this when you’re considering a change. But, changing the way you practice law doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch, either. When you start your own solo practice, you’ll need to have a plan in place for your office overhead, how you’ll pay bills and handle the books, whether you’ll hire employees, how much you can pay them, and how often you can pay yourself (which is the bare minimum that you’ll need to know before you leave your current law firm).
Moving on to a “solo” career can be effortless if you chose a solution that eliminates all of those steps (and more) and streamlines the process of your transition. Virtual law firms, like Practus LLP, provide their attorneys with intuitive and smart technology and back-office support systems so that you can concentrate on doing all of those “lawyer things” that made you love being a lawyer in the first place. With an efficient system already in place, you transition your business easily and jump right into serving your clients without the headache of finding office space or initially dealing with an erratic paycheck, etc.
Do Your Research
Regardless of where you are in your law practice journey, it never hurts to listen to good advice. There are plenty of successful small firms or solo attorneys out there – talk to them. Hear what they have to say, and then make an educated decision after you’ve gathered the relevant data.
Ask questions about their practice, how they got started, what their advice is for avoiding missteps and mistakes when it comes to branching out on your own. These attorneys can share their experiences with you to help you make the right choice for your own practice.
And don’t forget to talk to non-attorney business owners, as they can add a broader perspective for a more comprehensive idea of what you’ll be getting into. This step is important because these professionals can give you a reality check regarding what it takes to run a business and how much time and money you’ll need to invest in it.
Marketing means more than starting a website and handing out business cards. Growing your book of business takes effort and hard work. Even if you’re a seasoned attorney it still can be challenging to create a relevant brand identity in a cluttered marketplace for yourself and your practice. It’s important to know and understand how to best reach your potential clients and make connections with referral sources to help you build your business. Ask yourself, do you have a marketing plan in place to help you grow your firm? Do you have a budget and time in your day to help support that effort? These are important considerations as you weigh your options.
You’re considering going out on your own for a reason. Ask yourself that one last tough question – how? How am I going to get started? How do I begin? And how do I make it happen? And then look at solutions to help you figure out the best way to reach your goals.
Why not partner with a law firm that gives you the independence and freedom you want, and takes care of the administrative headaches that you don’t need. Practus is a different kind of law firm. At Practus, you get all the benefits of a traditional firm, but you also get the freedom to chart your own course. You get the flexibility to work with your clients knowing that “one size fits all” isn’t always the right approach. You get to do what you do best-practice law – in a law firm that offers state-of-the-art technology and responsive back-office support. This could be the solution you are looking for.
Practus gives you the autonomy to run your own practice plus gives you the critical support you desperately need. How to get started is no longer an issue. The solution could be to join a firm that gives you everything you need to go out on your own and helps make the transition seamless and easy so you don’t skip a beat.
For more information on the Practus business model and to see if it’s right for you, click here.