starting your own firm?

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jd-
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Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:58 pm

starting your own firm?

Postby jd- » Mon May 03, 2010 2:08 pm

What if one just wanted to start their own firm?

I have a general love of the law but have a general disregard for working for an employer...so big law for me or even private firms wouldn't really suit me well after doing careful consideration.

Is it possible starting out just to have your private practice?

I am 29 and considering law school in Chicago in the next few years...

I already have my own business, this is the 2nd one I have started.

The way I figure, having the legal expertise for my current business will surely help it for legal matters as well as employment and expansion, having the business and IT expertise as well as contacts for law firm will help getting started easier.

I would most likely be targeting commercial law for small to medium size businesses in Chicago, hopefully getting some of my current clientele on board as well for their legal matters.

My wife would likely be my secretary/legal aid eventually as well to keep the costs in house...

Thoughts?
Last edited by jd- on Mon May 03, 2010 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

motiontodismiss
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon May 03, 2010 2:14 pm

I think going solo fresh out of school would be an extremely risky move.

Wait until you have some legal experience and hopefully a portable book of business.

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jks289
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby jks289 » Mon May 03, 2010 2:15 pm

People do it, so obviously it's possible. Not easy, especially without working for someone else and building a client base first. I know someone who did this (post a decade in Biglaw) and he worked longer hours with more stress for less pay for many years. They currently are a very successful, small niche practice.

If you plan to practice solo right out of law school, you'll want to take out lots and lots of malpractice insurance.

270910
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby 270910 » Mon May 03, 2010 2:19 pm

Going solo out of law school isn't difficult, it's negligent.

reverendt
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby reverendt » Mon May 03, 2010 2:22 pm

They had an optional info-session about this at my school last fall (I'm a 2L). There was a panel of solo practitioners.
A number of them came straight out of school. They said:
1) Malpractice insurance is pretty cheap for new lawyer because they figure nobody is gonna bring anything too high-$$$ to you.
2) The big trick is getting clients (of course). The ones that had the easiest time had connections in the field that referred clients to them.
3) Getting your clients to actually PAY you is tricky as well (I'm working for a 2 lawyer operation now and I see this first hand).
Bottom line...it can be done but it takes a while to turn a profit.
I have a few friends considering it....personally I think it's prudent to work for someone else for a number of years first. See the business from the inside. Learn to navigate the pitfalls. Build up a client base. Then go out on your own.

jd-
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby jd- » Mon May 03, 2010 2:23 pm

so a better plan might be get in with a smaller firm for about 3-5 years in preparation if that is the end goal. I believe that would be a good compromise for me.
Last edited by jd- on Mon May 03, 2010 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

motiontodismiss
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon May 03, 2010 2:23 pm

disco_barred wrote:Going solo out of law school isn't difficult, it's criminally negligent.

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Grond
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby Grond » Mon May 03, 2010 2:37 pm

http://foonberglaw.com/how-to-start-bui ... -practice/

The best selling book in the history of the ABA. I'm not encouraging anyone to do so, but if you're thinking about going solo you need to read this book.

Anonymous User
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2010 3:41 pm

Just because you have clients for business, does not mean that they are going to shift their legal work to you. As a fresh lawyer with no experience, I can almost guarantee they won't.

If you start a solo practice, you'll have to take whatever comes in the door to get started, assuming you can find people willing to hire you at all. There are other more experienced solos in town who are going to absorb most of the stuff out there, so odds are you'll only get cases that nobody else wants. What the other guy said about getting paid is absolutely true. Talk to students who've done law clerk/paralegal work at these solo shops. Usually they get stuck making calls to try to collect the lawyer's fees.

One way to go solo is to find an aging lawyer who has a profitable practice that is looking to retire in the next couple of years. They train you, and their reputation and repeat clients get passed on to you when you take over the practice.

If you really want to go solo, I would go to law school as cheaply as possible. That means full ride with no strings attached or paying for school in cash.

reverendt
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby reverendt » Mon May 03, 2010 4:36 pm

jd- wrote:so a better plan might be get in with a smaller firm for about 3-5 years in preparation if that is the end goal. I believe that would be a good compromise for me.

That sounds about right.

polycom01
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby polycom01 » Mon May 03, 2010 4:43 pm

disco_barred wrote:Going solo out of law school isn't difficult, it's negligent.



I recently asked my attorney about this and he basically said the same thing. He said that the worst attorneys he sees, the people who are doing a true disservice to their client, are the lawyers who try to figure things out for themselves straight out of law school. You need a good mentor for at least 3 years.

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ozarkhack
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby ozarkhack » Mon May 03, 2010 4:48 pm

reverendt wrote:
jd- wrote:so a better plan might be get in with a smaller firm for about 3-5 years in preparation if that is the end goal. I believe that would be a good compromise for me.

That sounds about right.


Also, keep office in the bowling alley you also run. Back in your hometown. While trying to get with your HS sweetheart. ... Always seemed like a pretty cool idea to me.

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SteelReserve
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby SteelReserve » Mon May 03, 2010 7:44 pm

Bear in mind your opportunity cost in this matter; you own two (presumably successful) businesses; how will going to law school affect them? How will you run them while also trying to start up a solo? Do you have an honest plan or estimate as to what chance you will ever make decent money as a solo, especially weighed against whatever you now make?

Also, a 22 year old poli sci grad has a lot less to lose and perhaps more to gain than a guy who is nearly 30 with successful businesses. You might be starting at ground zero in the middle of your life. I know it's never too late to start something you want to do, but that factor still needs to be considered, especially if you want to stay in Chicago. The consensus seems to be that starting a firm in a big city is far more difficult than in a rural market with less competition.

Anonymous User
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Re: starting your own firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2010 7:54 pm

This is absolutely true. In a big city, even getting good experience at a small firm to use when you start your own is very difficult. That's because big cities tend to be overrun with fresh law grads eager to find anything they can get. What this means is that you'll probably be treated like crap and paid like crap by most of the small firms that would probably hire you assuming you are a middle of the class, average student.

SteelReserve wrote: The consensus seems to be that starting a firm in a big city is far more difficult than in a rural market with less competition.




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