Going Solo?

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Anonymous User
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Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:31 am

Hello. I have read much information regarding how tough the law jobs are out there. It sounds very discouraging, but aren't most other job sectors suffering as well, other than healthcare (and the government)? I have read many stories from other members on here how it appears the law profession will not be the same. True or not, I think any profession is what you make of it. For every person that is struggling, there is someone else who is successful. But aren't most professions like that? Are there any jobs out there where everyone "makes it"? I don't think so either. Now, this may be a silly question, but if the jobs are not there, why don't you go solo? What is holding you back? Is it not knowing how to start your own practice? I am not trying to be negative. I am only trying to find out what keeps new JD's from doing it alone?

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ricking1288
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Re: Going Solo?

Postby ricking1288 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:41 am

do you know much goes into starting your own practice without any real experience whatsoever? Let alone the fact that you would have no reputation in a field that is primarily reputation-based, the mere logistics behind starting your own practice right out of law school is daunting to say the least. Where are you going to get clients from? How are you going cover your initial overhead (i.e. office space, equipment, etc), especially when you probably have a shitload of loans to pay off? And the list goes on and on.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby TTTGrad » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:30 am

The problem with going solo straight out of law school is that you don't know how to practice law. You are at a severe disadvantage in terms of learning curve and experience. You will most likely need a heavy loaded malpractice insurance policy that is cost prohibitive these days, especially for struggling solos. Add the set up costs of a brick and mortar office, equipment, secretary, office furniture, advertising, online legal research tools, etc., you will probably need about $50K (conservative figure) to set up a proper office before even opening your doors to the public. The battle hasn't even begun yet. You will be competing with well established shitlaw attorneys. Don't believe me? Just look at your Yellow Pages book under Lawyer or Attorneys. Many of those guys have been around for years, are well entrenched in the community and know their way in and out of court like the back of their hand. If you are thinking of going solo, my best advice is to work for a solo for a couple of years, learn as much as you can, become known and then branch out on your own. If you ask me there are too many pigs rolling in shitlaw right now. Even competition at that level is fierce.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:37 am

edited
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Grizz
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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:25 am

All of the above, plus without a network or people you already know who will feed you clients, you're gonna have a hell of a time drumming up business.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby imacpa » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:25 am

There are some unique challenges of being a solo straight out of law school. However, I do believe if a student takes advantage of some clinical opportunties and practical skill training such as contract and litigation drafting I do believe a student could possibly succeed if he plans well. Unfortunately, a lot of schools do not invest in practical training of students and the students usually graduate knowing all theory but have no idea on how to draft a pleading or how to manage a case. Only clinical training and job experience can bring this gap.

I'm currently a 2L and I'm one of the few that's actually looking to go solo straight out of law school. The thing I have in my favor is my previous work experience in the industry that I wish to practice plus my MBA. Plus, I had my own business before law school. I am currently developing my business plan for my law firm as we speak. This summer I'm working for the school's clinic in an area of law that I'm looking to practice in and I'm gaining some valuable experience. And for my 2L/3L year I plan to take as many practical skill classes as possible.

I may be in the minority here but if you're going to invest time and money into law school one should at least keep the solo option open. It makes no sense to spend 3 years of tuition just to sit at home chronically unemployed. But only pursue it if you have been exposed to either some clinical and skills training while in law school and/or have some law firm experience.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:45 pm

Thanks for the replies. So from what I have gathered from the responses, the main hurdles are the financial burden to start your own practice and not knowing how or where to get clients? The malpractice issue is always a concern, whether you are on your own or not. Now, I am not saying that going solo is the way to go by any stretch. I just see so many stories on here how difficult it is to get a job at a firm. With all the unemployed new JD's out there, why is it better to be unemployed, or take a temp job, than go out on your own? The way I see it, every law practice is a business. You are out to make a living. Even if you get a job at a big law firm, if you want to make partner, at some point you are expected to bring in business to be considered, no? The experience factor is always a consideration, but if you network properly, aren't you able to talk with other solos who might be willing to give some advice? What if you rent out an office for an existing firm and you are able to use their resources and refer clients? If you are scared to fail doing it alone, that is one thing. But if you just won't do it because of your ego, that is another. I just don't see the harm in trying if you have nothing else to do. I think it is better to go down trying as opposed to not trying at all and being unemployed.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:52 pm

If you were in the market for legal services, would you hire a newly graduated student with no real-world training?

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the replies. So from what I have gathered from the responses, the main hurdles are the financial burden to start your own practice and not knowing how or where to get clients? The malpractice issue is always a concern, whether you are on your own or not. Now, I am not saying that going solo is the way to go by any stretch. I just see so many stories on here how difficult it is to get a job at a firm. With all the unemployed new JD's out there, why is it better to be unemployed, or take a temp job, than go out on your own? The way I see it, every law practice is a business. You are out to make a living. Even if you get a job at a big law firm, if you want to make partner, at some point you are expected to bring in business to be considered, no? The experience factor is always a consideration, but if you network properly, aren't you able to talk with other solos who might be willing to give some advice? What if you rent out an office for an existing firm and you are able to use their resources and refer clients? If you are scared to fail doing it alone, that is one thing. But if you just won't do it because of your ego, that is another. I just don't see the harm in trying if you have nothing else to do. I think it is better to go down trying as opposed to not trying at all and being unemployed.


The harm is possibly wasting your startup capital and being in an even worse position than square 1 or being disbarred due to malpractice. Malpractice, while it is a concern constantly, is even more a concern for you, as a new solo, because you have literally no clue how to practice and have no one to fall back on.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:33 pm

NayBoer wrote:If you were in the market for legal services, would you hire a newly graduated student with no real-world training?


I think it would depend on the client, the type of case, and area of law you are practicing. Would you be soliciting clients from businesses or individuals? How big a case is it? I am sure some individuals will research or ask how many years of experience you have, but I think the majority of individuals care more about your initial meeting. If you develop a rapport with the individual, the chances of you getting the case I would think are still pretty good. If your fees are more reasonable and you can sell yourself, I don't think that matters as much as you may think. A law practice is a business. If you have a good business sense, know how to sell and bring in new clients, manage your cases, and have a plan in place, I think anyone can succeed going on their own. The biggest part is marketing. If you don't know how to bring in the clients, then of course you have a big problem and won't make it on your own. I guess the question then is, why is marketing so much of a hurdle? If you do come across a case that may be out of your league, aren't you able to contact other attorneys you have already networked to help out? Or, can't you refer the case to them and still receive a percentage of the fees? Wouldn't that be helpful to your practice so maybe those other attorneys refer cases to you that they don't want? Also, if you rent an office from an existing firm, wouldn't that be more beneficial and prevent the malpractice issue?

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:38 pm

I don't think you get to claim a finder's fee or whatever on referrals. Our firm gets tons of business through referrals and we never work any sort of kickbacks or finder's fees.

The main benefit to the referring attorney is that you'll do a good job for the client, reflecting well on the person who did the referring, and that if the situation is reversed you'll refer people back to them. This practice is just one of the things a newly-minted JD would learn at a firm.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:46 pm

rad law wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the replies. So from what I have gathered from the responses, the main hurdles are the financial burden to start your own practice and not knowing how or where to get clients? The malpractice issue is always a concern, whether you are on your own or not. Now, I am not saying that going solo is the way to go by any stretch. I just see so many stories on here how difficult it is to get a job at a firm. With all the unemployed new JD's out there, why is it better to be unemployed, or take a temp job, than go out on your own? The way I see it, every law practice is a business. You are out to make a living. Even if you get a job at a big law firm, if you want to make partner, at some point you are expected to bring in business to be considered, no? The experience factor is always a consideration, but if you network properly, aren't you able to talk with other solos who might be willing to give some advice? What if you rent out an office for an existing firm and you are able to use their resources and refer clients? If you are scared to fail doing it alone, that is one thing. But if you just won't do it because of your ego, that is another. I just don't see the harm in trying if you have nothing else to do. I think it is better to go down trying as opposed to not trying at all and being unemployed.


The harm is possibly wasting your startup capital and being in an even worse position than square 1 or being disbarred due to malpractice. Malpractice, while it is a concern constantly, is even more a concern for you, as a new solo, because you have literally no clue how to practice and have no one to fall back on.


Losing money in a business is always a risk. Most small businesses fail. Starting your own law practice is a business. Most probably don't make it. But the question is, why don't they make it? The malpractice issue is understandable and is a concern for everyone in the profession. By paying for an office at an existing firm, wouldn't that help in that regard? I would think there are firms out there that would love to bring someone in to share expenses so they can make more money too? Especially if it doesn't cost them any money or take business away from their own practice. I just don't see why a new JD would rather be unemployed or do temp work than try. I am just trying to get an idea why this is the case. I don't see how someone who spent 5 years of their life to be a lawyer would rather sit at home waiting for things to get better when they could try to make something for themselves. Maybe I am just day dreaming here, but I would think that more unemployed JD's would try anyway. What's the worst that happens? You fail and are back to where you started? How much worse could it really get than sitting at home being unemployed?

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:By paying for an office at an existing firm, wouldn't that help in that regard?
Looking back, you've mentioned this idea repeatedly in this thread. I didn't notice before because I never read any of your posts in their entirety (enormous paragraphs are cruel).

I'm not familiar with this arrangement, do you have some examples I'm not familiar with? I've heard of this in the UK, where barristers (who by custom are sort of independent) will cohabit in large offices together, or will have office space somehow near or integrated into a firm of solicitors. But in that case barristers are specialty, and in this country would be more akin to Of Counsel (in this case, an Of Counsel hired for knowledge of a specialty practice).

Why would firms rent out their office space to attorneys with duplicative specialties and then work with them? I'm not familiar with this ever happening. It seems like it would bring up ethical issues (especially confidentiality).

It also doesn't immediately make economic sense to me. Why wouldn't the attorney just want to be hired, so that he doesn't have to do all the grunt work of administration and accounting that comes with running a small firm?

Do you have any examples of this happening in the US?

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:By paying for an office at an existing firm, wouldn't that help in that regard? I would think there are firms out there that would love to bring someone in to share expenses so they can make more money too? Especially if it doesn't cost them any money or take business away from their own practice.


This can be ethically dicey. Have you taken Professional Responsibilities or a business organization class yet? People can psuedo-partner their way into an enormous amount of trouble, especially if they are lawyers.

What's the worst that happens? You fail and are back to where you started?


You get disbarred.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
What's the worst that happens? You fail and are back to where you started?


You get disbarred.
And you let your malpractice insurance lapse due to inflated premiums for a totally inexperienced solo-prac and then get sued into the ground after you inevitably make a crucial error. Plus your only client was your grandma, who's now suing you, and the whole family takes her side.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:09 pm

NayBoer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:By paying for an office at an existing firm, wouldn't that help in that regard?
Looking back, you've mentioned this idea repeatedly in this thread. I didn't notice before because I never read any of your posts in their entirety (enormous paragraphs are cruel).

I'm not familiar with this arrangement, do you have some examples I'm not familiar with? I've heard of this in the UK, where barristers (who by custom are sort of independent) will cohabit in large offices together, or will have office space somehow near or integrated into a firm of solicitors. But in that case barristers are specialty, and in this country would be more akin to Of Counsel (in this case, an Of Counsel hired for knowledge of a specialty practice).

Why would firms rent out their office space to attorneys with duplicative specialties and then work with them? I'm not familiar with this ever happening. It seems like it would bring up ethical issues (especially confidentiality).

It also doesn't immediately make economic sense to me. Why wouldn't the attorney just want to be hired, so that he doesn't have to do all the grunt work of administration and accounting that comes with running a small firm?

Do you have any examples of this happening in the US?


Just sharing office space and maybe a receptionist is fairly common, but more than that, short of a partnership, it can get legally dicey and is not recommended.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:45 pm

rad law wrote:Just sharing office space and maybe a receptionist is fairly common, but more than that, short of a partnership, it can get legally dicey and is not recommended.
Yeah, that's basically just fellow tenants in a small building. I've seen that. But actually sharing work seems far messier. It also doesn't seem like it's in anybody's interest.

We already have a system where new lawyers can rely on the experience and knowledge of older lawyers. It's called a law firm.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:18 pm

NayBoer wrote:
rad law wrote:Just sharing office space and maybe a receptionist is fairly common, but more than that, short of a partnership, it can get legally dicey and is not recommended.
Yeah, that's basically just fellow tenants in a small building. I've seen that. But actually sharing work seems far messier. It also doesn't seem like it's in anybody's interest.

We already have a system where new lawyers can rely on the experience and knowledge of older lawyers. It's called a law firm.



Sorry for the confusion. However, I did not mean to imply that work or cases would be shared. I meant that this arrangement would make it possible to mitigate the malpractice risk issue. If there is concern over liability due to inexperience, asking the advice of the other attorneys in the office may be a way to limit liability. Or, at the very least, negate the malpractice risk issue. I don't see how this would be dicey when you could just as easily call another attorney you have found through networking and ask them for advice on a case. You can also refer out the cases as well.

I am talking about two separate entities, who are more or less, working out an arrangement to help each other in ways autonomous to their business. For example, if you manage to find an individual who is facing foreclosure, you may be able to either delay the process, help them obtain a loan modification, or possibly file a BK. I know if I had my own practice RIGHT NOW, my business would be flooded. At least, I would like to think so with how I would market to these individuals.

Why would it be such a bad idea to go solo if you can bring in the business? What if you were to seek other firms who also specialize in the same area. You could go through the whole process of applying for a job. But from the sounds of it, prospects look dim. So if you get rejected for an Associate job, what are your alternatives? If you approach them in such a way where you can both benefit, I don't see how they can say no? They should love you for paying part of their expenses. Sure, you may take up a desk. But, what are the chances of them hiring someone to fill it with the way law jobs are right now?

If you offer them $500 a month for the office, that is more money in their pocket than before. You are still making them money and it's free. Of course, in exchange, you would ask for your own sign to separate the two entities, your own phone line, use of the fax/copier, conference room if needed (maybe charge per use), and of course asking their opinion on how to handle the case or referring a client to their firm all together (done ethically of course). I am not sure how things work in other states, but I drive and often see commercial homes with multiple lawyer signs.

I am not sure if what I think can be done works or not. That is why I am bringing this up. In case new JD's aren't able to find jobs in the near future, I want to know if any of this is at all feasible before attending law school.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:27 pm

Just so you're aware, there's some additional info on going solo here viewtopic.php?f=23&t=119614&p=3059459#p3059459 , although it's all assuming you've gained roughly 5 years experience while saving. Skip through the first 3-ish pages. The juicy part starts when icydash discusses his dad's experience.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:05 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:Just so you're aware, there's some additional info on going solo here viewtopic.php?f=23&t=119614&p=3059459#p3059459 , although it's all assuming you've gained roughly 5 years experience while saving. Skip through the first 3-ish pages. The juicy part starts when icydash discusses his dad's experience.



Thanks for the link. My understanding of the story gives me the opinion that start-up capital and lack of clients are what hinders one from going solo. What if that is not an issue? What if you have 100k already saved to go solo and no student loan debt? What if you have run a business before and feel you can get your own clients? I understand that there is always risk involved when starting a business. The chance of failure is high. Most do not succeed.

There are many reasons for this. Insufficient start-up capital and high student loan debt is what I think the biggest barrier of all. I am trying to get a sense if going solo straight out is at all realistic when these barriers can be overcome and you have the willingness to take the risk/consequences of failure, malpractice, disbarment, etc.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Matthies » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:13 pm

There is allot of speculation in this thread, and why I sound like a broken record when i say this, but when you guys get to school get OUT of school and meet some working lawyers and get to know the profession.

First the only really correct info in this thread is you need a network, and you have to create it before you graduate, if you have any shot at being successful as a solo right after law school. You need a networking of experienced lawyers for two reasons: sending you clients and mentoring. Mentoring comes in so you have people to turn to help avoid malpractice and to help show you the ropes.

I'm a bit busy right now doing my own legal work but here are a few things about going solo to mull over (based on my state since that's the only state I have experience with):

1. malpractice insurance: Here for a first year lawyer malpractice insurance for coverage up to 1 million dollars is $450 a year. Int he legal profession Mp actually goes up the longer you practice, not the other way around, your cheaper to insure when your new than when you have tons of clients and take on more complex cases.

2. office sharing: this is renting an office in a building. Lots of lawyers own their own buildings, its actually a really good investment strategy. I know several lawyers here who bought old mansions near the courts and turned them into law offices. There have between 4-7 offices in the old bedrooms, a common confranceroom in the dining room, and kitchen ect. Some are even bigger than that depeing on how big the house was (lots of old mansions near downtown here that have been converted like this). The last time I knew of an opening it was for $270 a month and included a shared receptionist, fax, copier, internet ect, about a mile from the courts.

3. At first, and even later, you can work from home as well. I work almost totally from home or online. About the only type of law that you really can't, or should not do, from home is criminal law. basically you don't want these folks knowing where you live. If not for security reseasons than because they will come to your door at 4AM to get someone out of jail.

4. Office expenses. You already have everything you need from law school: computer, printer, internet access. You can create all the forms in MS Word, there are tons of free templates, all the court documents are online (at here).

5. Lexis/Westlaw: These cost a shitload for solo's (although I here there are some affordable solo plans) but there are some ways around it. For one if you work in the same city as you went to school you might have free access at the LS as alumni (we do). Also here the sate supreme court offers 2 hours a day of free access at their library. Next our state bar has a service called casmaker which is like lexis/westlaw that is part of your dues ($150 or a so a year). But you really won't need lexis/westlaw as much as you think.

6. Mentors. THIS IS KEY. You need to have working lawyers (and ones with several years, 10+ experice) who are willing to feed you cases and help you out, answer your questions and even do cases with you. You would be surprised how many lawyers are willing to do this if you get the F out of school and meet them long before you needed them. Waiting till you a new lawyer is not when to do this. There are also entire organizations dedicated to this type of new lawyer mentoring in most decent sized markets.

7. You can do just about any type of law right out of law school so long as you have the mentors you need. I do environmental law and have far more work than I can actually take, and its 100% referral, lawyers come to me asking for help or giving me cases, I've never once had to ask for anything. BUt this is because I spent four years building up my network and I speclized in LS and worked in LS (I went PT).

8. Finally you can make shitlaods of money as a solo. When you get out and meet real lawyers you will find that most do NOT work in large law firms (or got out as soon as they could start their own), and the really good ones tend to be on their own (because they make more money in smaller or solo practice). Of my classmates the one who is arguably most "successful" in terms of money and practice is a solo criminal defense attorney, she makes far more than any of the kids who went biglaw out of school. BUT, she had #6 down pat. She was a criminal paralegal for 15 years and knows or worked for the biggest names in criminal law here, she has so much work feed to her by these guys she does no adversting at all. Also criminal law is all cash up front. And for those who tell you criminals don't have money, that again is misinformation, people will come up with a lot of money when facing jail time. Also DUIs are pretty luctrivie, 5k-15k+.

Anyway I got to get back to work. But the point is get the hell out of LS when you guys get there and meet real working lawyers (and not 3 year associates, they are pretty useless as to what's really going on) and see how this profession actually works. It's very much still an entrupainail profession.

Finally you should know yourself enough by now to know if you have the skills to make it on your own. Most don't. Many people go to law school wanting a job where someone else tells them what to do and how to do it and takes care of the running the business part, that's fine, but that type of person won't make a good solo practitioner, so know your abilities/limits up front or be willing to learn the skills outside of LS that you will need to go on your own.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:17 pm

Being in the same building is common. I've worked in a building that had three firms (small firm, solo prac and dual partnership) in it, sharing a receptionist and an address. But what you're describing sounds almost like an independent contractor relationship, in that you receive no salary and pay for your own supplies, but you still have some nebulous ongoing relationship with the principal firm. Except that in the legal world there are rules about representation and responsibility that complicate such arrangements.

I imagine that some sort of Of Counsel independent contractor relationship might be workable, assuming somebody worked out all the details and made sure they complied with relevant rules. Maybe some commission-based compensation (reported on 1099s) for the clients you bring in and work. But honestly, I'm not sure a law firm is going to want to start you out running your own clients. And I highly doubt they'd want to have any formal arrangement with you if you aren't even in the firm. That could put them on the hook for your mistakes. And I'm not sure how often an Of Counsel ever has zero experience. My understanding is that it's rare, and Of Counsel usually has either some experience or lots of experience.

You could definitely find some sort of situation where a small building with office space rents you an office or something, and then maybe you strike up a relationship with the lawyers of your neighbor firm(s). But any ongoing formal training or oversight just isn't in their interest and I'm skeptical that it would happen. If you find an example, please post it. I'd be interested to read about how they get around this stuff.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:24 pm

As someone working for a solo and getting paid 1L summer, Matthies is correct.

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Matthies » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:38 pm

NayBoer wrote: And I'm not sure how often an Of Counsel ever has zero experience. My understanding is that it's rare, and Of Counsel usually has either some experience or lots of experience.



This is my experince. Of counsel is pretty much only in firms, and larger firms at that. Its basically a nice way of saying your experienced and mean something to the firm (and like you said its usually someone with a specialty practice) but your never gonna be a partner (or that you were a partner and have now pretty much retired and the firm keeps you on the mast head but your not part of the partnership anymore). Only thing worse than being of counsel is being told you're not on the partner track at year seven and its up or out.

The catch in working for a firm is that if your really good by year five (at least here) you will have your own book at which point you have to choose between staying with the firm and splitting the business profits that your personally responsible for with no garnetee of making partner or going on your own and taking the clients with you. clients hire lawyers, not law firms, unless you're talking a huge corporate account (even then you better bet some partner is sucking up to the GC to keep the biz).

Or if you don't have a book at year five then you pretty much know you're not making partner and that in most firms you won't become OC and there is really nothing like an eight year associate. Its a bad place to be in 7th year associate with no book, your too expensive to keep on and you're not brining in any biz. Here its called up and out, you either make partner or OC by 7, or you're out of the firm.

Problem is if you don't have the skills to get and keep biz at a firm by 7 then you likely don't have the skills to run your own firm when your outed. Not a good place to be and why here there is basically a 60% chance or greater that as a lawyer you will be out of the profession before you have 10 years of practice (hence again my advice seek out those mentors with 10+ years of practice, they have made it, and have the skills you need to learn that you won't in LS).

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Re: Going Solo?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:41 pm

NayBoer wrote:Being in the same building is common. I've worked in a building that had three firms (small firm, solo prac and dual partnership) in it, sharing a receptionist and an address. But what you're describing sounds almost like an independent contractor relationship, in that you receive no salary and pay for your own supplies, but you still have some nebulous ongoing relationship with the principal firm. Except that in the legal world there are rules about representation and responsibility that complicate such arrangements.

I imagine that some sort of Of Counsel independent contractor relationship might be workable, assuming somebody worked out all the details and made sure they complied with relevant rules. Maybe some commission-based compensation (reported on 1099s) for the clients you bring in and work. But honestly, I'm not sure a law firm is going to want to start you out running your own clients. And I highly doubt they'd want to have any formal arrangement with you if you aren't even in the firm. That could put them on the hook for your mistakes. And I'm not sure how often an Of Counsel ever has zero experience. My understanding is that it's rare, and Of Counsel usually has either some experience or lots of experience.

You could definitely find some sort of situation where a small building with office space rents you an office or something, and then maybe you strike up a relationship with the lawyers of your neighbor firm(s). But any ongoing formal training or oversight just isn't in their interest and I'm skeptical that it would happen. If you find an example, please post it. I'd be interested to read about how they get around this stuff.


Not having gone to law school or working for a law firm ( I am going to UGA), I would not be able to provide specific examples of how this can be done. I just know I have seen many homes that are commercially zoned being used as offices that contain signage for each entity. I believe this can be done since both entities are posted and there is clear proof that one is not working for the other.

I don't think would be considered illegal or unethical to speak with or ask questions to the other attorneys in the office. Being able to do this in person should not be considered any different than doing it by phone, no? I just think this would be a great way to cut down expenses, start a network of other solo's, and mitigate the malpractice risk. I think if this can be done, then this would be a favorable arrangement (if legal). Of course, if this can't be done legally, then I would not even think about doing it.




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