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

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northwood
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby northwood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:40 am

its the lacking of the ability to know what to do, and how each specific judge and courtroom likes things done in a particular manner that frightens me.


actuallly, i really just want to open up a hamburger, fries, and ice cream parlor that also sells beer.... and name it Tils

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:03 pm

anon168 wrote:
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".

That's fair, but I don't think it's irrational fear.

I'd like to work for myself, but not in lieu of a guaranteed six-figure paycheck when I've got loans to pay. Obviously I'm fortunate to be in the position where that's the choice.

ETA: Also, endlessly chasing down clients for payment sounds really unpleasant.

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:36 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
anon168 wrote:
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".

That's fair, but I don't think it's irrational fear.

I'd like to work for myself, but not in lieu of a guaranteed six-figure paycheck when I've got loans to pay. Obviously I'm fortunate to be in the position where that's the choice.

ETA: Also, endlessly chasing down clients for payment sounds really unpleasant.


You think this doesn't go on in biglaw (or even midlaw or small-law when you "exit" biglaw)?

Absent working in government, this is systemic in our profession.

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2014
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby 2014 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:50 pm

I worked for a solo during UG who probably grossed around 120k in a relatively inexpensive college town. She took out no ads and even turned down quite a bit of business she thought was below her. Basically drummed up all her clients by going to local bar and business association events and joining a couple of committees and did whatever business or property things they needed done.

The idea of hanging a shingle scares me shitless, but it's more feasible than I think people give credit for. It just takes social and entrepreneurial competency imo.

HeavenWood
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby HeavenWood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:25 pm

Fear/lack of capital/lack of know-how really go hand in hand if you're a K-JD deep in debt.

You don't know if you're going to be a good lawyer until you really get out there and try. I applaud those who have the guts to go solo right off the bat, but you don't have to be an anti-social aspie to be scared shitless by the idea. Most people would probably feel differently if lawl skool actually taught practical skills.

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:36 pm

HeavenWood wrote:Fear/lack of capital/lack of know-how really go hand in hand if you're a K-JD deep in debt.

You don't know if you're going to be a good lawyer until you really get out there and try. I applaud those who have the guts to go solo right off the bat, but you don't have to be an anti-social aspie to be scared shitless by the idea. Most people would probably feel differently if lawl skool actually taught practical skills.


Not disagreeing with you, but if you look at the poll question, it's really geared towards those who are considering dropping out because they struck out at OCI (either as a 2L or 3L).

Sure, the common sense approach is to take a job with a firm (or government) if you have such an offer unless of course you just have a burning desire to be the next great solo practitioner.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:38 pm

anon168 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
anon168 wrote:
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".

That's fair, but I don't think it's irrational fear.

I'd like to work for myself, but not in lieu of a guaranteed six-figure paycheck when I've got loans to pay. Obviously I'm fortunate to be in the position where that's the choice.

ETA: Also, endlessly chasing down clients for payment sounds really unpleasant.


You think this doesn't go on in biglaw (or even midlaw or small-law when you "exit" biglaw)?

Absent working in government, this is systemic in our profession.

Yeah, I hear you. It's the nature of being in a service role (and one that people especially hate paying for). But as a biglaw associate this isn't something I expect to have to worry about. I suppose if I stick around in some form of private practice long enough it'll be my responsibility, but not in the near future.

Anyway – just read your most recent update – you're right that you're not really asking about people in my position.

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Borhas
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Borhas » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:29 pm

anon168 wrote:
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.


That's only in offices where newbies get arraignment calendar ie horizontal representation places, which I think is the exception rather than the rule. Most places you start handling misdo clients and do trials within year 1-2.

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Displeased
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Displeased » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:03 pm

Borhas wrote:
anon168 wrote:
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.


That's only in offices where newbies get arraignment calendar ie horizontal representation places, which I think is the exception rather than the rule. Most places you start handling misdo clients and do trials within year 1-2.


I don't understand why anybody would think a private attorney just starting out gets more real court experience than a PD. A private attorney has to do all the "menial" court appearances too.

If anything, a private attorney has to do more menial work, since a PD will have interns and secretaries to handle the really trivial stuff.

That's not even counting all the work a private attorney has to do just to get a client and force them to pay. PDs get to focus on pure representation, private attorneys have dozens of other things they have to do just to keep the lights on at the office.

anon168
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby anon168 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:04 pm

Displeased wrote:
I don't understand why anybody would think a private attorney just starting out gets more real court experience than a PD. A private attorney has to do all the "menial" court appearances too.

If anything, a private attorney has to do more menial work, since a PD will have interns and secretaries to handle the really trivial stuff.

That's not even counting all the work a private attorney has to do just to get a client and force them to pay. PDs get to focus on pure representation, private attorneys have dozens of other things they have to do just to keep the lights on at the office.


That is practical legal experience.

(And the original question wasn't about "real court experience", but rather "practical legal experience." See viewtopic.php?f=23&t=195848#p5954495. What is that term they use when people re-frame the question when they don't like the answer they're getting ...?)

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bk1
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby bk1 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:22 pm

anon168 wrote:That is practical legal experience.

(And the original question wasn't about "real court experience", but rather "practical legal experience." See viewtopic.php?f=23&t=195848#p5954495. What is that term they use when people re-frame the question when they don't like the answer they're getting ...?)


I meant practical legal experience as in the legal side of things, not the business/entrepreneurial side of things (since you already had a box for "lack of entrepreneurial know-how").

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Displeased
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby Displeased » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:43 pm

anon168 wrote:
Displeased wrote:
I don't understand why anybody would think a private attorney just starting out gets more real court experience than a PD. A private attorney has to do all the "menial" court appearances too.

If anything, a private attorney has to do more menial work, since a PD will have interns and secretaries to handle the really trivial stuff.

That's not even counting all the work a private attorney has to do just to get a client and force them to pay. PDs get to focus on pure representation, private attorneys have dozens of other things they have to do just to keep the lights on at the office.


That is practical legal experience.

(And the original question wasn't about "real court experience", but rather "practical legal experience." See http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 8#p5954495. What is that term they use when people re-frame the question when they don't like the answer they're getting ...?)


I didn't re-frame the question, you're the one who brought up initial appearances and arraignments, with the clear implication that solo practitioner's time in court is somehow more practical and less menial than a PDs.

And you aren't "giving me an answer" here, we're both offering perspectives. I've worked in enough PDs offices and talked to enough solo practictioners/people in small firms to have my own "answer" on this question.

Its extremely misleading for you to say that a solo practictioner's time spent billing clients, paying office bills, chasing ambulances, and sorting files is more "practical legal experience" than a PDs time in court.

EDIT: I reread your posts. Its possible you are suggesting that being a solo practictioner makes you better at being a solo practitioner. As in, a person who is a solo practictioner for five years will be a better solo practitioner than a person who was a PD for five years and then switches to solo. I actually doubt that's even true, since a solo practictioner will develop bad habits and make mistakes, but with no boss or coworkers to correct them, continue to make those mistakes. Meanwhile, the PD has gotten to hone their skills under the guidance of other lawyers.

Yea, a solo practictioner will have "practical" entrepreneurial skills that a PD doesn't, but those skills are 1) non-legal and 2) only needed if you want to go solo/start a non-law private business.

rad lulz
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby rad lulz » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:47 pm

kalvano wrote: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.

Clients are everywhere. Clients that have decent cases and who aren't unreasonable/crazy and who actually have money to pay you are a little bit harder to find.

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kalvano
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby kalvano » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:55 pm

rad lulz wrote:
kalvano wrote: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.

Clients are everywhere. Clients that have decent cases and who aren't unreasonable/crazy and who actually have money to pay you are a little bit harder to find.



True. But there's still not a shortage of them.

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tedalbany
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby tedalbany » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:29 am

What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc

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kalvano
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:33 am

tedalbany wrote:What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc


You'll have a far more limited customer base. A lot of solo work is someone who is having a disagreement with someone else.

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tedalbany
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby tedalbany » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:35 am

kalvano wrote:
tedalbany wrote:What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc


You'll have a far more limited customer base. A lot of solo work is someone who is having a disagreement with someone else.


But it's also less crowded with competition so iono how it balances out. I just don't know if there's any money in it. I heard you can make pretty sweet money doing evictions and shit, you just have to know someone with lots of properties.

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kalvano
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:12 am

tedalbany wrote:
kalvano wrote:
tedalbany wrote:What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc


You'll have a far more limited customer base. A lot of solo work is someone who is having a disagreement with someone else.


But it's also less crowded with competition so iono how it balances out. I just don't know if there's any money in it. I heard you can make pretty sweet money doing evictions and shit, you just have to know someone with lots of properties.



Beggars can't be choosers. If you can focus your practice a way you like, do it, but if you're going solo without a book of business, you'll need the everyday cases to make money.

BeachandRun23
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby BeachandRun23 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:51 am

tedalbany wrote:
kalvano wrote:
tedalbany wrote:What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc


You'll have a far more limited customer base. A lot of solo work is someone who is having a disagreement with someone else.


But it's also less crowded with competition so iono how it balances out. I just don't know if there's any money in it. I heard you can make pretty sweet money doing evictions and shit, you just have to know someone with lots of properties.


You can prob make decent money doing evictions and real estate closings. But you also need to know people in real estate. And know what you're doing. You can also make decent money in family law probably, but that is one tough field in terms of dealing with emotions...

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rouser
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby rouser » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:59 am

I would think family law is the norm for new solos..yellow page divorce ad. curious as to what else you could market towards? DUI's or something?

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EvilClinton
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby EvilClinton » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:01 am

rouser wrote:I would think family law is the norm for new solos..yellow page divorce ad. curious as to what else you could market towards? DUI's or something?

general criminal law

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rouser
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby rouser » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:04 am

EvilClinton wrote:
rouser wrote:I would think family law is the norm for new solos..yellow page divorce ad. curious as to what else you could market towards? DUI's or something?

general criminal law

yeah maybe try to focus on stuff that has no chance of going to trial but is seen as big deal in client's eyes.

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dr123
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby dr123 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:06 am

EvilClinton wrote:
rouser wrote:I would think family law is the norm for new solos..yellow page divorce ad. curious as to what else you could market towards? DUI's or something?

general criminal law


I know a number of small town solos and most of them seem to do a mix of court appointed/PD conflict cases, DUI's/Gen criminal stuff, family law, and probate/estate planning

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kalvano
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:48 am

My dad handles a lot of homeowner disputes. Contractor did a shoddy job on a home build and now won't fix it, that sort of thing.

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2014
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Re: Hanging your own shingles?

Postby 2014 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:07 pm

tedalbany wrote:What about opening up a non-litigation shop? Like incorporations, small biz services, contracts/licensing/franchising, etc

The solo I worked for that I referenced earlier in the thread did almost exclusively this. The extent of her "litigation" was attempts to collect unpaid rent for a couple property managers. So it definitely works, it just requires the ability to network since you need to be in with business owners and entrepreneur types to draw that kind of business instead of average joes opening up the phone book.




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