Hanging your own shingles?

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For those considering dropping out, reason(s) for not hanging your own shingles?

Lack of startup capital
28
28%
Lack of entreprenurial know-how
23
23%
Lack of "supposed" prestige in solo practice
3
3%
Area of practice (e.g. M&A) does not lend itself to solo practices
3
3%
Biglaw whore
7
7%
Fear
26
26%
Never considered it before now
2
2%
Other
8
8%
 
Total votes: 100

anon168
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Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:20 pm

Just curious why few, if any, people here talk about opening up their own shop.
Last edited by anon168 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:27 pm

Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?

FordhamBrah
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby FordhamBrah » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:31 pm

Let's be honest here for a minute...95% of people on this site have some form of social awkwardness syndrome. That same 95% see going to a "top law school" as a ticket to getting a 160K starting job where they hope everything goes alright because they won't be called upon to do much interaction as a mere junior and by the time it gets serious they will have supreme "exit options" that will not require this interaction.

The second they do not get this 160K ticket, dropping out is the only sensible solution. How could they possibly hang a shingle without knowing how to make a proper phone call? These are the same individuals who ask if they should "email" about a status update on a callback, for fear of screwing up 2 sentences when actually calling the HR department.

You can safely close the thread now.

User has been outed.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:41 pm

[x] Desire not to commit malpractice
[x] Belief that there are too few people willing to pay for legal services even to sustain established attorneys' practices

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:19 am

[x] No desire to be my own boss
[x] Have been pursuing government jobs precisely to avoid the law-firm business-management side of things.

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barestin
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby barestin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:52 am

If you are personable, confident, patient, and (most importantly) not inept, then go for it. It's astonishing how much money it takes to open up virtually any store, restaurant, etc. Yet, as an attorney, all you really need is shared office space (which will give you access to knowledgable, more experienced attorneys who can act as great resources for you), a computer, and a printer. Many solo practitioners that I have spoken with say they were operating at a profit within just a few months of practicing. Then again, this was not difficult to do considering expenses were around $900-$1500 a month until they started building a larger clientele. Regardless, it can be done and although there are a fuckton of attorneys, there is never a shortage of (potential) clients. The obvious retort to that is yes, but "ShitLaw" clients don't pay-they do if you sympathize with their circumstances and set them on payment plans (which is why patience is one of the qualities I mentioned). Even if a client owes you $2,000 and can only afford to pay you $100-$200 per month, be patient with them and they will appreciate the sentiment and be more apt to pay their attorney fees (from my experience). This may be difficult at first to accept, but it beats getting completely stiffed and dealing with small claims court. Also, you would be helping real people (hopefully not crazies), rather than being a desk slave.

Don't get me wrong, I would take BigLaw any day over the stress of hanging my own shingle right after law school, but I agree with the above poster that most of the people lurking on TLS are anti-social doormats with BigLaw or bust attitudes (not that there is anything wrong with being an anti-social doormat). Just my two cents...

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Borhas
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Borhas » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:55 am

this is where networking actually matters, if you are starting out, you'll want to know a few good attorneys who will pass refer their mediocre - low level cases to you

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EvilClinton
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby EvilClinton » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:58 am

I think I want to do that after about 5+ years in big law.

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IAFG
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby IAFG » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:03 am

EvilClinton wrote:I think I want to do that after about 5+ years in big law.

I'd also like to do it, someday. If I were going to start a business today though, I would do it in an area I know better than legal practice.

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:07 am

bk1 wrote:Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?


The best way to get practical legal experience is as a solo. You may not get any type of practical experience even after a handful of years in biglaw

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IAFG
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby IAFG » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:10 am

anon168 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?


The best way to get practical legal experience is as a solo. You may not get any type of practical experience even after a handful of years in biglaw

How would this be better than working under an experienced attorney at a small firm? Or say, as a PD?

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:23 am

IAFG wrote:
anon168 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?


The best way to get practical legal experience is as a solo. You may not get any type of practical experience even after a handful of years in biglaw

How would this be better than working under an experienced attorney at a small firm? Or say, as a PD?


Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:25 am

anon168 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
anon168 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?


The best way to get practical legal experience is as a solo. You may not get any type of practical experience even after a handful of years in biglaw

How would this be better than working under an experienced attorney at a small firm? Or say, as a PD?


Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.


Have you worked a lot in small firms or with a solo?

Edit: I am not trying to be snarky or anything, I really am curious.
Last edited by SuperCerealBrah on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rouser
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby rouser » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:45 am

main one I think has to be fear. seems like people knee-deep in debt with limited options might prefer to take a guaranteed salary even if it's only about 40k.

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IAFG
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby IAFG » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:52 am

anon168 wrote:
Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.

IDK bro. There's learning to survive (never mind the rate of shingles who do not survive), and then there's learning to do it well. I love to cook, but my classically trained chef cousin kicks my ass, KWIM?

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tedalbany
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby tedalbany » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:57 am

If the firms dont have enough business to hire new associates then I guess I just don't see how there's going to be enough business for new firms with no reputation. Though there could be exceptions for very niche areas or isolated geographic areas.

In any event, the most attractive option is just jumping ship since this field is pretty TTT with no light on the horizon.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:59 am

tedalbany wrote:If the firms dont have enough business to hire new associates then I guess I just don't see how there's going to be enough business for new firms with no reputation. Though there could be exceptions for very niche areas or isolated geographic areas.

In any event, the most attractive option is just jumping ship since this field is pretty TTT with no light on the horizon.


I think the main thing with the smallest firms (think family law) is that they really don't need to hire much help even if they are doing really well. I mean, even if you are killing it, why would you really need a ton of attorneys under your belt. It would just be uneccessary expenses for the owner to pay for an additional guy at a decent salary...unless of course that additional guy brought in addtional business (i.e. more money). It is not like you are working on a billion dollar merger. Contrast that with big law, who will have many, many people assigned to just one specific project due to how big that project is.

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rouser
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby rouser » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:14 am

tedalbany wrote:If the firms dont have enough business to hire new associates then I guess I just don't see how there's going to be enough business for new firms with no reputation.

I'm imagining a clever yellow page ad targetted towards people on a strict budget for divorce or something. I could see people choosing the inexperienced guy over paying more. Isn't that the whole idea?

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:41 am

rouser wrote:
tedalbany wrote:If the firms dont have enough business to hire new associates then I guess I just don't see how there's going to be enough business for new firms with no reputation.

I'm imagining a clever yellow page ad targetted towards people on a strict budget for divorce or something. I could see people choosing the inexperienced guy over paying more. Isn't that the whole idea?


Yes.

Plus the type of clients that go to firms (big, small or medium) aren't the same as those that go to solos.

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:42 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
anon168 wrote:Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.


Have you worked a lot in small firms or with a solo?



Edit: I am not trying to be snarky or anything, I really am curious.



I've worked against a bunch of solo (or small firms).

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:48 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:[x] Desire not to commit malpractice
[x] Belief that there are too few people willing to pay for legal services even to sustain established attorneys' practices


I'll put you down as "Fear".

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Borhas
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Borhas » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:54 am

anon168 wrote:
IAFG wrote:
anon168 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Where is the "lack of practical legal experience" option?


The best way to get practical legal experience is as a solo. You may not get any type of practical experience even after a handful of years in biglaw

How would this be better than working under an experienced attorney at a small firm? Or say, as a PD?


Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.


menial shit like trials?

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:02 am

Borhas wrote:
anon168 wrote:Working with another solo is good, no doubt, but nothing is quite like doing it on your own.

PD would be ok if you wanted to do criminal work but so much of what a PD does (at least at the junior level in a state or local office) is such menial shit that it doesn't really amount to much practical experience in terms of private practice.


menial shit like trials?


No. Menial shit like IAs and arraignments. All day long. Every day. For weeks on end.

And when you're not doing that, you're in prison or jail.
Last edited by anon168 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:12 am

I work for a solo practitioner to make some extra bucks. He graduated maybe 3 years ago, rents an office by the hour when he meets with clients but otherwise works from home, and seems to get the clients no one else wants. He mainly specializes in employment law and tax law, but people will come to him with the most random problems. The idea of doing really broad legal work as a solo with Westlaw or Lexis seems terrifying to me.

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kalvano
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby kalvano » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:17 am

I think it's funny you guys worry abou getting clients. That, there is no shortage of. A regular Joe who needs a lawyer doesn't even know what Baker Botts or Akin Gump is. Those firms never even enter their minds.

I worked for a medium size firm this summer, and my dad is a solo. Clients are everywhere. It's the ability to know what to do and how to do it that a new solo should be worried about.




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