This site is woefully uninformed when it comes to solo practice in general. Hell, I've nearly seen it all. I regularly go up against a DUI attorney who probably makes 300k+ a year and she wears jeans and tennis shoes to court. Even her peons seem to like their jobs and many of them are middle aged attorneys.
This site is totally clueless about everything regarding solo practice. I totally agree. All the PI lawyers I know personally do very well, as well. I know of bad ones who struggle mightily and resort to shady tactics. But I don't know those guys personally. When someone says you can make more than a million dollars off of one case, it doesn't seem to register with people on this site. They think that's some type of anomaly and then point to stats that don't bear that out because they fail to distinguish practice areas or the type of legal services rendered as if traffic ticket lawyers make as much as criminal lawyers who handle felonies or those PI attorneys who only do catastrophic personal injury as opposed to little car wrecks. I will say this, if you are a lawyer and you follow the lawyers who aren't adept business people down the same path , you will fail. Every single entrepreneurial woman and man I know, regardless of profession, does very well for themselves. That's not to say that that is the norm. However, that is to say there is a certain business acumen that exists in certain environments that just doesn't seem to fail. And I don't see why that acumen would not work for anyone who is decent at the services or products they provide.
I have my own practice as I've said before. I will admit that God has blessed me with some huge cases. But I am far from an anomaly in that it seems like every lawyer I know that works for themselves is doing very well. All of them. Some are doing much better than others, obviously.
I think the key difference that the stats don't bear out is that there are those lawyers who are terrible businessmen and those who are good businessmen. But those are factors you can control to a large degree. You have to work to network. You have to be smart about it. Most lawyers are not. But there are far too many that are smart about it and they are the ones who mkae yearly salaries that put biglaw associate salaries to shame. And some of those put biglaw partner revenue sharing amounts to shame. And they are not as rare as you think. I think some of this depends on the market you live in. But a lot of it depends on what kind of entrepreneurial acumen you have.
A DUI lawyer who gets volume is generally making 200k to300k a year. A DUI in Texas costs about $5000 upfront and then an additional $10,000 if it goes to trial. Any good DUI lawyer is going to have volume. If you get just 4 of those in a month, that is $20,000. And that is just in a month's time.
The only way you can get an accurate picture of what it's like to be a solo or own a small firm is to talk to as many solo's/small firm owner's as you can. Stats just don't bear out all of the distinctions in practice areas or revenue generated from different practices.
But to those who do not know firsthand, you can continue to not listen and cling to incomplete stats and everything else that is said on this site. I am on here because I want to provide hope to those who won't or do not want to go biglaw. Not all is lost. I know some of you say that an accurate picture should be painted. I agree with that sentiment. But if we are going to paint an accurate picture, then let's make sure we get all aspects right before we adopt incomplete pictures of the situation.