Whether you have been practicing for years in a partnership firm or are a fresh lawyer, starting a solo practice is an arduous task that will require your full attention. Beside acquiring clients and winning cases, you also have an entire business to manage.
But going solo could be what your law career has been waiting to propel. You will have the freedom to run the firm, take your preferred cases only, and an opportunity to make more money. However, achieving all this is not as straightforward as it sounds.
Here’s a list of important considerations for lawyers looking to reap the benefits of going solo.
Do You Have a Budget?
Going solo is going to cost you a lot of money. You need to purchase office space, supplies, equipment, and communication software to get you started. If you are working with a tight budget, you can forego the office space and work remotely as you begin.
Additionally, you will need to set aside funds to keep you and your family going before the firm picks up.
Entrepreneurial Skills to Run a Business
Starting a solo law firm takes more than being a good lawyer. You’ll also need key entrepreneurial skills because after all, you are running a business.
If your initial budget does not allow you to hire an assistant, you’ll find yourself being the accountant, receptionist, operations manager, and marketer all at the same time. Soft skills such as patience, good communication, passion, and focus will also come in handy as you set up your law firm.
Ensure that you are also conversant with new technologies and how they can propel your practice.
A good view is superb for your solo firm’s office, but the location is more important. The primary factor to consider when choosing your location is its accessibility to target customers. Are they local business people, injured victims, or families looking for legal services?
Of course, there are numerous client meetings that you will conduct by phone or email, but you want the same people to have an easy time when visiting your office.
Thus, ensure that your office is close to public transportation, courthouses, and other public spaces like a restaurant.
Choose a Niche Practice Area
It’s tempting for a lawyer who just went solo to take any case as long as it pays the bills. As attractive as it may look, doing this spreads yourself so thin that you have no comprehensive knowledge of what you are doing. This tactic only works if the firm comprises several partners, such as Kohan & Bablove. And even then, they likely don’t take every case presented to them.
Specializing in one area allows you to go deeper and understand all its nuances and developments. You are also better off winning cases and lawsuits when you have a broad knowledge of a single area. This will also support your marketing efforts as you build a brand based on a specific niche.
Never Burn Bridges
Most lawyers who choose to go solo have previously worked as partners or employees of a law firm. When starting your practice, you mustn’t sever these professional ties.
Your past colleagues can be valuable now and in the future by offering legal advice, business support, and even refer clients to your firm.
Purchase Legal Malpractice Insurance
Some states like Idaho and Oregon require every law practice to possess legal malpractice insurance coverage. Others have made it compulsory for lawyers to disclose to their clients about their lack of this coverage.
While this might not be compulsory in your state, legal malpractice insurance is one way of protecting your firm through risk mitigation. If for any reason, a client sues you for professional negligence, the insurance will settle this claim on your behalf.