Solo practice?

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Great Satchmo
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Solo practice?

Postby Great Satchmo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:52 pm

Although this is not something I'm looking for, I'm curious about how it works.

From what I keep hearing, law school essentially prepares you to take the bar, not necessarily how to be an attorney.

Also, it seems that if you take a firm job after graduation, the expectation is that they will train you to become an attorney.

So, if you graduate and don't go work for a firm or something like that, how do people pick up skills that would otherwise come through training at a firm?

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Matthies
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby Matthies » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:55 pm

Great Satchmo wrote:Although this is not something I'm looking for, I'm curious about how it works.

From what I keep hearing, law school essentially prepares you to take the bar, not necessarily how to be an attorney.

Also, it seems that if you take a firm job after graduation, the expectation is that they will train you to become an attorney.

So, if you graduate and don't go work for a firm or something like that, how do people pick up skills that would otherwise come through training at a firm?


You get yourself good menors and ask for help A LOT. I have a few freinds who did this right after school, most are doing well but its becuase they have good mentors they met in LS to advise them and send them biz.

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Aeroplane
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby Aeroplane » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:00 pm

I only know one person who went solo straight out of law school, doing criminal defense via taking appointments. I believe that person had one or more mentors, but generally it was learning-as-you-go. I'm sure there wasn't much money in it, but their degree was from a then-very-cheap public school (low debt), and my city has pretty low COL as well (you can get a pretty nice place w/a couple roommates for $300-400/person).

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Great Satchmo
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby Great Satchmo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:07 pm

Matthies wrote:
Great Satchmo wrote:Although this is not something I'm looking for, I'm curious about how it works.

From what I keep hearing, law school essentially prepares you to take the bar, not necessarily how to be an attorney.

Also, it seems that if you take a firm job after graduation, the expectation is that they will train you to become an attorney.

So, if you graduate and don't go work for a firm or something like that, how do people pick up skills that would otherwise come through training at a firm?


You get yourself good menors and ask for help A LOT. I have a few freinds who did this right after school, most are doing well but its becuase they have good mentors they met in LS to advise them and send them biz.


This goes outside of the scope of the initial question, but have they given any impression as to how happy they are with their decision to go solo? Or was this a last option for them?

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eandy
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby eandy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:10 pm

I know someone who worked in a firm for a while then went solo. It's been very hard for him, and he recently suffered some brain damage that impairs his speech sometimes. He's on food stamps now because he didn't have a safety net.
Solo practice is risky.

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Matthies
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby Matthies » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:43 pm

Great Satchmo wrote:
Matthies wrote:
Great Satchmo wrote:Although this is not something I'm looking for, I'm curious about how it works.

From what I keep hearing, law school essentially prepares you to take the bar, not necessarily how to be an attorney.

Also, it seems that if you take a firm job after graduation, the expectation is that they will train you to become an attorney.

So, if you graduate and don't go work for a firm or something like that, how do people pick up skills that would otherwise come through training at a firm?


You get yourself good menors and ask for help A LOT. I have a few freinds who did this right after school, most are doing well but its becuase they have good mentors they met in LS to advise them and send them biz.


This goes outside of the scope of the initial question, but have they given any impression as to how happy they are with their decision to go solo? Or was this a last option for them?


The two people that I know very well that went solo right after law school seem to really enjoy it, and it was the plan from the beginning for both of them. One dose environmental law for public interest organizations (under many statutes if you win or settle you get legal fees). It allows her to work from home and take care of her three young kids. I know a couple others who did it, but not really well enough to speak to their happiness or income (at least new lawyers, I know quite a few experienced lawyers who went solo, in fact from the people I have met that seems to be the norm at some point in most lawyers careers. There seems to be a point at which, if you're a good lawyer and in demand in makes more sense $ wise to go on your own and stop splitting fees with people who don't generate as much as you. I would say of the lawyers I know who have 15+ years more than half are solo or small firm now (but did not start out that way).

The other was a criminal law paralegal for like 20 years before going to law school and she stayed extremely active in that legal community all through LS (went part-time and clerked during the day). She loves it, but is working herself to death. Interestingly of everyone I know (at least those who I know well enough to know what they make) she is making FAR more money than anyone else from our class including those who went to big law. There is money to be made in criminal defense, you would be surprised with how much a person can raise from family or friends when they are facing real jail time, or are a normal person who just got a DUI or some pot of them. She also does NO ADVERSTING AT ALL, all word of mouth. She's doing very, very well, spent last weekend at her new condo she bought in Vail.

But again, these two folks know everyone, I mean everyone in their legal circles. Seriously, you name somebody in town who does what they do and they know them personally from either before or during school. THAT IS KEY. Who you know is KEY. Referrals are key, people only refer people to people they like, are good at it and they trust. Mentors and having a network is fundamental to having ANY shot at making it right of law school I think.

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nahgems
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Re: Solo practice?

Postby nahgems » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:50 pm

I know two people who decided to do solo practice. One started immediately after law school. She was not at the top of her class, and not at a T1 school. She had a job offer, but the starting salary was around $50k and she decided it wasn't worth it. She advertised to local immigrant populations via community groups / newspapers. She does mostly bankrupcy / crim. She wasn't making huge amounts of $$$ at first, but now does very well. She says she is happy with her decision.

The other person worked big law for a few years. She paid off her law school loans and then started her own practice. She says she would never have been able to start her own practice without the experience she gained working for a firm. She is *also* happy with her decision although she is just starting out and I get the impression she is struggling to get clients.




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