Starting a solo practice

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Starting a solo practice

Postby L_William_W » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:41 pm

Please, no snide, condescending or facetious remarks. If you don't have any useful advice, don't post in this thread...

I'm a recent law school graduate. I'm having a hard time finding work because I don't have any experience and I don't speak a foreign language. I tried all of the generic job search websites (Indeed, Monster, Linked In, etc...) with no luck.

I went to law school in NYC (CUNY School of Law). After getting manhandled (twice) on the NY Bar, I took the New Jersey Bar. I passed on my second New Jersey attempt. I'm currently doing pro bono work at a legal aid organization in Newark, New Jersey. I live (unfortunately, with my parents) in NYC. I don't have any money at all.

I realize that if I started a solo practice, I'd need an office, furniture, printer, fax machine, computers, and a scanner. Furthermore, I'm unfamiliar with how to actually practice law (i.e. which forms do I need to submit to the judge...).

How should I proceed? Would I be able to get a loan from a bank (I owe $100,000 in student loans and I got a forbearance)? And is there any information on the logistics of practicing law?


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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby arklaw13 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:49 pm

Look into setting up a virtual office. You need a printer/scanner. You can fax online for cheap/free with no fax machine. You can rent conference rooms to meet clients on a per-use basis. You can get an answering service for cheap if you want one.

Basically, keep your overhead as low as possible until you're actually making money.

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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:04 pm

You could network with some other solos or small firms and do appearances for them. You don't get paid much but it's a way to wet your whistle a little. And you don't really need any overhead.

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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:08 pm

You wouldn't be the first person to hang a shingle right after law school but I think you'd run into two major issues, one how to practice law and two how to get clients. I think if you could work for ANY type of experience lawyer, even another solo for minimum wage, you'd learn a lot and be far more qualified to go out on your own.

If you have the budget there are many small or even midsize firms that will rent out extra office space, I think that's probably a good investment if the price is right, certainly if you need to meet clients or prospective clients.

Don't forget about malpractice insurance.


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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:11 pm

While I think the term "shitlaw" is pretty condescending, you will likely find this thread (and its OP) to be a valuable resource:

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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:31 am

JDunderground is a much better source for this kind of thing

But I second the low overhead suggestion. I am planning to go solo after a few years in my large firm, unless something changes my mind. Figure out what practice area u want to do, and then figure out how to get clients. Do not spend money frivolously

Afaik, you are unlikely to get a SB loan for this kinda prupose without collateral. But if u have collateral it's obviously nbd

If u need to make a decent salary in the short term to survive, get on the doc review circuit. Pay varies from OK to pretty solid, but u won't be learning any transferable skills at all


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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby loh » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:03 am

Many nonprofit legal organizations have a program for new, young lawyers to help them start their own solo firm. I know Betzedek (sp?) is helping a colleague of mine. They gave him an office and supervision to work on their nonprofit cases at lower contract fee. You get the resources and clients to build experience.


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Re: Starting a solo practice

Postby r6_philly » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:07 am

I left biglaw to start a solo this year.

Your best bet is to work with someone who need the help and can feed you work/clients. In time you will develop some specialty and a client base so you can be established on your own if you wish.

It isn't too difficult to set everything up. There are easy way to go about getting space and everything else. The hardest thing is to get client leads, and then to convince them to pay you instead of someone else. Since you are new, no experience, no track record, that would be the hardest. That's why I said it would help if you worked with someone else.

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