Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

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Bobnoxious

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Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

Postby Bobnoxious » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:09 pm

I've read a lot of threads on going solo or into a small practice, and I'm running into a conundrum with trying to predict likely revenues for a start up practice. I've read JeffM's guide, and every other guide I can find from bar associations. I've read The E-Myth at least a dozen times, so I understand that the back-end of a solo practice is integral to a successful firm. My problem is that I'm still struggling to come up with what would be considered reasonable numbers for client intake and client revenue. It's a bit unnerving.

I'm a 50 year old with 25+ years in disaster mitigation (fire, water, mold) and my prospective partner is a socially and politically well connected 28 year old.

I'd love to hear some constructive feedback on what I've put together so far. My hourly rate is HEAVILY discounted as I'm operating on the assumption that the most common work will be appointments from criminal and family court to begin with, and at least 10-15% of what is billed will likely wind up as bad debt write offs. Also, I've got a lot of room to reduce the expenses, so there is plenty of room for error when taken as a whole.

Along with any constructive feedback, I'd love some guidance on what could be expected in terms of # of clients, average $ billed per client, average ROI for the marketing methods I listed, and well, hell, just anything you can think of.

Thanks

See expenses, marketing, etc, here: http://midsouth.legal/projections-draft/

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deadpanic

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Re: Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

Postby deadpanic » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:14 am

I do not have a solo practice & never have, but it is hard to see you turning a profit with 124k in expenses with a 2 fresh law grads picking up criminal appointed cases. It looks like you are in TN, and my friend who has a solo practice does basically all criminal defense appointments. It pays terrible. I believe the rate is $30/hr out of court and $40/hr in court (and you can only bill the $40 rate when they actually call your case). And there is also some cap as well. The Memphis legal market is terrible.

PM me and I can give you some more insight and also may be able to direct you to someone with more info.

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Mr. Archer

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Re: Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

Postby Mr. Archer » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:36 am

I don't have any solo or small practice experience, so you can keep that in mind when considering what I have to say. But, if I were you, I would think about getting a little experience working for someone else before you and your partner start something, even if it's only for six months (the few people I graduated with in 2015 who now have their own practice seem to have gone this route). Even working at a firm during the months between taking the bar and getting results could help you out greatly and help you build connections. To get your answers about clients and cash flow, you would probably be better served by getting in contact with attorneys in your area and build relationships to learn more about the ins and outs of practice. Maybe you can find a solo attorney or small firm that needs short-term help and could show you the ropes a little. Or, maybe you could find a solo attorney who could be a mentor and/or who will be winding down his or her practice in the near future and can pass on clients.

Bobnoxious

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Re: Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

Postby Bobnoxious » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:47 am

Deadpanic, you're right about the low appointment fees. It's $40 and $50 under Rule 13, with a maximum of $1,000 for misdemeanors and $1,500 felonies (not A or B, I think). I've got a great mentor on the criminal law side, and he's sort of a bad-ass in that market niche. He ain't Leslie or Marvin Ballin, but he's up there.

Thanks for the response!

RaceJudicata

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Re: Non-Trad 3L Looking at Partnering after Graduation

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:58 am

Mr. Archer wrote:I don't have any solo or small practice experience, so you can keep that in mind when considering what I have to say. But, if I were you, I would think about getting a little experience working for someone else before you and your partner start something, even if it's only for six months (the few people I graduated with in 2015 who now have their own practice seem to have gone this route). Even working at a firm during the months between taking the bar and getting results could help you out greatly and help you build connections. To get your answers about clients and cash flow, you would probably be better served by getting in contact with attorneys in your area and build relationships to learn more about the ins and outs of practice. Maybe you can find a solo attorney or small firm that needs short-term help and could show you the ropes a little. Or, maybe you could find a solo attorney who could be a mentor and/or who will be winding down his or her practice in the near future and can pass on clients.


I don't run a small firm (still in school), but have worked in a small firm throughout law school 30+ hrs per week and have gotten quite close with the owner and have expressed interest to him in opening my own shop after biglaw runs its course for me. Boss has given me quite a few pointers, but again, not a small firm owner so take my response with a grain of salt.

Adding to this answer (all of which I agree with). That said, if you have any small firm contacts who you are close with, consider going under their roof but run your own practice. I work at a small firm and we have an attorney that works under our firm's letterhead, but runs his own practice. Does not work on the "firm's" matters, and has his own book of clients and matters. He contributes to the overhead--i.e., paper, supplies, etc., and pays his share of malpractice insurance, etc.

An arrangement like this - or even a shared working space with other solos (if such a community exists in your market) may be the way to go. Reducing expenses at all costs is absolutely critical.



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