Solo Practice Q&A

(Advantages vs Disadvantages, Hours and Compensation, Career Growth Potential, Company Culture, Getting Hired, Types of Practices- general vs specialty vs complementary, Small & Midsized Firm reviews & experiences)
Anonesq

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonesq » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:32 am

AVBucks4239 wrote:
Anonesq wrote:AvBucks- Few more questions:

1) How do you handle the stress of solo practice? Sometimes I feel like the stress of pleasing everyone can become overwhelming. How do you handle it?

2) How do you handle clients who try to take advantage of your time (as in going outside of your engagement agreement). Has this ever happened to you? I had to send a client a firm email recently that we need a separate engagement letter for additional matters re: xyz.

3) Trying to get more clients....still seems like a difficult task. My goal is to try to get 1 new client a month. I had a few people express interest and some potential referrals but it is difficult converting to a signed engagement agreement. Anything else I should be doing to get more clients? I guess I just need to try to remain patient?

Thanks.
(1) In a firm, you cannot please all your bosses. As a solo, you cannot please all your clients. You obviously need to do your best, but there's a line you need to draw in the sand.

Best practices are to always take your client's calls (unless you are in a meeting/court/depos); even if you can't talk, take it and tell them you will call them tomorrow morning. Second, send them everything you file. They like seeing that progress. Third, make your invoices super detailed, and always, always, always put an "update on your file" memo in their invoice. It lets them know the train is moving forward. Bottom line, just be available and communicate well.

That said, I personally end every consultation with a "here's how I do things" speech. I tell them I will respond to emails within 24 hours; I will not take phone calls before 9:00, after 5:00, or on weekends; and I tell them that any project requiring more than an hour needs a week's notice. This eases the pressure.

In terms of productivity, I only do administrative tasks on Saturday mornings. Go to the bank, run my mileage, organize Quickbooks, etc. I call it my Saturday morning bullshit routine. But it allows me to focus on clients during the week, which means I'm getting more work done.

Lastly, the best advice I ever got was to fire your worst five clients every year. I'm up to six already this year. As soon as they piss me off for being an ungrateful ass, they're out. These people will suck your time and mental energy. Tell them to find another lawyer.

***

(2) This is not a problem -- it's the dream! It means they trust you with their first matter and want more advice. Handle it with gratitude.

I do not think you need a new fee agreement. Check your local rules, but if you already have a fee agreement that says X rate, you can charge X rate for other matters as a continuing business relationship.

I personally just ask, politely, "Do you want me to open a new matter or just put all of this on one invoice?" They know your advice isn't free.

If they are contingency fee clients, maybe do it on a discount. Charge 60% of your rate or something. Put your full rate on the invoice and show the discount.

***

(3) Hard for me to guess what this is, but if you are bringing them in for consultations and not executing, that's on you. You need to do TONS of research for these. I've spent 2-3 hours preparing for consultations. The client knows if you don't know what you're talking about -- you can't let that happen.

Just recently I had a big commercial real estate client whose partner screwed up the 1031 exchange deadline. What's a 1031 exchange? I don't even remember, but I knew it damn well when I was in that meeting.

If you are not getting them into your office, that's a different story. From the time you get the lead to the time they are in your office should not be more than 24 hours. 48 hours max.

Think about them as you would an online shopper. I spent 2-3 hours looking at golf clubs last night. I might go today. But if someone told the local golf pro, "Hey, AVB is looking for golf clubs, give him a call," then I got a call, then I was in doing a custom fitting the next day ... I'd be buying clubs. Instead I'm sitting here typing on an internet forum.

Legal clients are no different. You need to strike when the iron is hot.

In terms of sealing the deal, I always end consultations with something like this -- "Last thing: just remember that your legal fee is not about me writing boring paperwork or filing papers; you are paying me to inherit your problem entirely. You do not need to worry about this anymore. This is my problem now." Clients will get out their checkbooks.

Lastly, if you are struggling for leads, yes, be patient. I would meet up with 2-3 lawyers a week until you don't have the time to do that anymore.

Thanks so much for your response. If I only knew you personally I would buy you lunch, lol.

With regard to your answer to #2, my client has been paying me a flat fee every week to handle certain matters on a continuous basis. He sometimes gets very arrogant and was expecting that if I handle anything outside of the engagement agreement that it will be covered. He was pretty shocked to hear that I would need to charge him to handle a different matter. But he is my only paying client right now so I am trying to handle it calmly but it isn't easy.

With regard to new clients, should I send an email to them thanking them for their call and to let me know if they would like me to prepare an engagement agreement for their review? In other words should I be more proactive to seal the deal?

Thanks.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:22 am

Anonesq wrote:With regard to new clients, should I send an email to them thanking them for their call and to let me know if they would like me to prepare an engagement agreement for their review? In other words should I be more proactive to seal the deal?
If they call you, you need to get them in the office, ASAP.

Anonesq

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonesq » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:50 am

Have you worked with clients who don’t like signing engagement letters? I just basically lost a client bc they didn’t like signing engagement letters.... honestly they seem like a pain in the ass client....which is my next question.... how do you deal with annoying clients? Part of me says I need the $$ but the other part of me is saying will it be worth the stress? :/

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:20 pm

Anonesq wrote:Have you worked with clients who don’t like signing engagement letters? I just basically lost a client bc they didn’t like signing engagement letters.... honestly they seem like a pain in the ass client....which is my next question.... how do you deal with annoying clients? Part of me says I need the $$ but the other part of me is saying will it be worth the stress? :/
You are reading this situation correctly -- it's a huge red flag.

I usually tell them something like, "The Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the ethical requirements of my practice, require or strongly suggest that I have a signed fee agreement."

If clients are annoying, I fire them and tell them to get new counsel. I've fired about 5 or 6 clients this year.

Jinjuice

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Jinjuice » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:00 am

Omg thanks for this thread. I’m a 25 year old... been licensed for a year.... and am getting tired of doing grunt work, contract work, doc review, PD work, etc.

Seriously 100 percent thinking of my own practice and have it mapped out. Next week, I’ll be filing for a PLLC after some more research on my state’s website. I like doing things on my own and prefer it that way.

I’ll be reading this thread closely. I do have a couple of questions. I live with my parents atm. I don’t have an office but do have a home address? Where should I meet my client’s face-to-face? My dad was telling me like Starbucks or a fancy restaurant would suffice for consultations and stuff. I don’t think I can afford a office atm. I know some attorneys just use an office that they rented out, but I don’t think I can afford it. I do have a home address that I can use for my PLLC, or do you recommend getting a PO Box for a PLLC, when I register it? I’m not even sure how much an office costs. Also, I’m not very interested in office sharing... part of the reason why I want to go solo in the first place.

Any advice on this address thing and PO Box/office/meeting clients would be helpful.

I do plan to get my own website, social media advertising, referrals, and business cards once I get this PLLC going. I also plan on doing hourly consulting via social media sites, such as SKYPE (need to read ethics rules one more time to make sure I can only do this for clients in my state or out of staters as well without actually representing them and offering general consultation and just using my J.D. advantage and not my bar card for out of staters.) For credit cards, I will have a paypal set up as well and Venmo as well as other direct transfer apps. I’ve gotten a good fax app that is reliable and not too expensive. Plus, it’s a good idea to see faxes on your phone as soon as you receive them. Also, you can send from phone too. Win win.

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Jinjuice

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Jinjuice » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:40 am

Another question I have is, is it generally a good idea to form a PLLC in the state you’re in? I’d assume so. I’ve looked at some states where forming a PLLC is almost minimal in costs and does not require a lot. Of course I’ll form it in one state and operate out of the state I’m licensed in. Just a thought. Or should I go with the state I’m in.

Sorry for anon lol. I’m junjuice above.
Last edited by QContinuum on Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Deanoned at poster's request.

Anonesq

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonesq » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Another question I have is, is it generally a good idea to form a PLLC in the state you’re in? I’d assume so. I’ve looked at some states where forming a PLLC is almost minimal in costs and does not require a lot. Of course I’ll form it in one state and operate out of the state I’m licensed in. Just a thought. Or should I go with the state I’m in.

Sorry for anon lol. I’m junjuice above.

I’m not the op, but I would say form the LLC where you intend to primarily practice. Also, in my state you cannot form a PLLC.... only a LLC...so depends on the state.

Anonesq

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonesq » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:23 pm

Jinjuice wrote:Omg thanks for this thread. I’m a 25 year old... been licensed for a year.... and am getting tired of doing grunt work, contract work, doc review, PD work, etc.

Seriously 100 percent thinking of my own practice and have it mapped out. Next week, I’ll be filing for a PLLC after some more research on my state’s website. I like doing things on my own and prefer it that way.

I’ll be reading this thread closely. I do have a couple of questions. I live with my parents atm. I don’t have an office but do have a home address? Where should I meet my client’s face-to-face? My dad was telling me like Starbucks or a fancy restaurant would suffice for consultations and stuff. I don’t think I can afford a office atm. I know some attorneys just use an office that they rented out, but I don’t think I can afford it. I do have a home address that I can use for my PLLC, or do you recommend getting a PO Box for a PLLC, when I register it? I’m not even sure how much an office costs. Also, I’m not very interested in office sharing... part of the reason why I want to go solo in the first place.

Any advice on this address thing and PO Box/office/meeting clients would be helpful.

I do plan to get my own website, social media advertising, referrals, and business cards once I get this PLLC going. I also plan on doing hourly consulting via social media sites, such as SKYPE (need to read ethics rules one more time to make sure I can only do this for clients in my state or out of staters as well without actually representing them and offering general consultation and just using my J.D. advantage and not my bar card for out of staters.) For credit cards, I will have a paypal set up as well and Venmo as well as other direct transfer apps. I’ve gotten a good fax app that is reliable and not too expensive. Plus, it’s a good idea to see faxes on your phone as soon as you receive them. Also, you can send from phone too. Win win.

I actually have a virtual office.... so when people look me up they see a professional office building. Look into ipostal1... I pay around $40 a month for this service.

You can rent conference rooms for cheap if you really need to meet a client.

Good luck with your new practice. I just started as well.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Jinjuice » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:58 pm

Thanks for your advice. I have zero clients atm, but I won't let that deter me. I was looking into this further, and I am stuck between either forming a LLC now or just being a solo proprietorship. Obviously there are greater benefits to an LLC, such as liability protection(s) and tax, but being a solo proprietor does not require much. In my state, if you are a solo proprietor and do not wish to use your surname in your business, you can file for a doing business as certification with the county where your business address is. The certificate is only about $10 in the county. When starting out the solo route is much better I think than LLC.. you can always go and form an LLC by filing with the secretary of state later on down the road..huh? Opinions?

What do you guys have going as far as the formation? I'm assuming you both have filed as a LLC or (P)LLC?

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:10 am

Okay, so I am starting my own virtual law firm.

After working 260+ hours in July and only be paid less than $3,000 the entire month, I have decided to work for myself.

Does anyone advise starting a firm that is geared towards business law, like small businesses? Or should I do litigation?

Anonesq

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonesq » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Okay, so I am starting my own virtual law firm.

After working 260+ hours in July and only be paid less than $3,000 the entire month, I have decided to work for myself.

Does anyone advise starting a firm that is geared towards business law, like small businesses? Or should I do litigation?

I am just cringing at 260+ hours and making less than $3k for the month. How did that happen?

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by albanach » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:Okay, so I am starting my own virtual law firm.

After working 260+ hours in July and only be paid less than $3,000 the entire month, I have decided to work for myself.

Does anyone advise starting a firm that is geared towards business law, like small businesses? Or should I do litigation?
MRPC Rule 1.1: Competence
Client-Lawyer Relationship
A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

What are your competencies. Have you ever represented a client in court? Do you have potential transactional clients?

Are you leaving your firm? Otherwise you'll need to discuss this with them too. They'd almost certainly need to know who your clients are for conflict check purposes (and you'd need to be able to conflict check your virtual clients against the firm records too).

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:36 am

Is opening a small solo practice law firm, selling mostly innovative solutions and doing some small misdemeanors on a personal level and traffic tickets as well as wills and small commercial matters alongside with the business also geared towards offering bar prep advice, law school admissions, transfer advice, personal statements, and how law school actually works, a good idea? Most of the law school prep stuff will be consulting and half of the legal practice will be blogs selling innovative ideas and solutions. The actual physical practice will be geared towards the state I am licensed in, that is if someone decides to hire me.

I mean it would be a law firm that also provides law students or future law students an intake on the whole law school approach?

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:46 am

Jinjuice wrote:I live with my parents atm. I don’t have an office but do have a home address? Where should I meet my client’s face-to-face? My dad was telling me like Starbucks or a fancy restaurant would suffice for consultations and stuff. I don’t think I can afford a office atm. I know some attorneys just use an office that they rented out, but I don’t think I can afford it. I do have a home address that I can use for my PLLC, or do you recommend getting a PO Box for a PLLC, when I register it? I’m not even sure how much an office costs. Also, I’m not very interested in office sharing... part of the reason why I want to go solo in the first place.

Any advice on this address thing and PO Box/office/meeting clients would be helpful.
Whether you need a physical office depends on your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions (I think New Jersey is one) actually require a physical office.

At the absolute minimum, you should get a P.O. Box. Think ahead here -- you do not want your Google listing, business cards, letterhead, etc. listing your parent's address.

While I think you should get an office, if you don't, then yes, I would meet at coffee shops, or if it's business, meet at their place of business. Always come up with a white lie -- "Oh, I have court downtown at 1:00 PM, how about we meet at 11:30 at [coffee shop] right next to there?" People will buy it and not ask questions.

Again, though, you may want to look into an office share. Some attorneys will charge you extremely cheap rent if you are just getting started. Mine was $400/month.
Jinjuice wrote:I do plan to get my own website, social media advertising, referrals, and business cards once I get this PLLC going. I also plan on doing hourly consulting via social media sites, such as SKYPE (need to read ethics rules one more time to make sure I can only do this for clients in my state or out of staters as well without actually representing them and offering general consultation and just using my J.D. advantage and not my bar card for out of staters.) For credit cards, I will have a paypal set up as well and Venmo as well as other direct transfer apps. I’ve gotten a good fax app that is reliable and not too expensive. Plus, it’s a good idea to see faxes on your phone as soon as you receive them. Also, you can send from phone too. Win win.
There's a lot here, but I would be extremely cautious of representing out of state folks. I would also strongly encourage you to actually meet your clients in person. This business is about relationships, and there's no way around that.

I would also say absolutely do not accept credit cards unless you want an immediate four percent loss in revenue.
Anonymous User wrote:Another question I have is, is it generally a good idea to form a PLLC in the state you’re in? I’d assume so. I’ve looked at some states where forming a PLLC is almost minimal in costs and does not require a lot. Of course I’ll form it in one state and operate out of the state I’m licensed in. Just a thought. Or should I go with the state I’m in.

Sorry for anon lol. I’m junjuice above.
You should form an LLC in the state you're going to primarily practice in. Some states will require a PLLC if you're a lawyer. Just check your state.

Again, I think you're off your damn rocker if you think you are going to willy nilly practice for clients outside your jurisdiction.
Jinjuice wrote:Thanks for your advice. I have zero clients atm, but I won't let that deter me. I was looking into this further, and I am stuck between either forming a LLC now or just being a solo proprietorship. Obviously there are greater benefits to an LLC, such as liability protection(s) and tax, but being a solo proprietor does not require much. In my state, if you are a solo proprietor and do not wish to use your surname in your business, you can file for a doing business as certification with the county where your business address is. The certificate is only about $10 in the county. When starting out the solo route is much better I think than LLC.. you can always go and form an LLC by filing with the secretary of state later on down the road..huh? Opinions?

What do you guys have going as far as the formation? I'm assuming you both have filed as a LLC or (P)LLC?
I've been there, so I know what it's like to overthink everything, but get an LLC and stop thinking about it.
Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone advise starting a firm that is geared towards business law, like small businesses? Or should I do litigation?
Why not "small business law" and practice both the corporate and litigation side of that? That's pretty much what I do and it's been profitable.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is opening a small solo practice law firm, selling mostly innovative solutions and doing some small misdemeanors on a personal level and traffic tickets as well as wills and small commercial matters alongside with the business also geared towards offering bar prep advice, law school admissions, transfer advice, personal statements, and how law school actually works, a good idea? Most of the law school prep stuff will be consulting and half of the legal practice will be blogs selling innovative ideas and solutions. The actual physical practice will be geared towards the state I am licensed in, that is if someone decides to hire me.

I mean it would be a law firm that also provides law students or future law students an intake on the whole law school approach?
This reads as stream of consciousness, Silicon Valley hogwash and an absolutely horrible business plan.

If you are going to have two completely separate businesses (law school consulting and law practice), create two separate entities. Create two separate websites and business plans for each.

I have no idea what you are talking about regarding "innovative ideas and solutions."

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by albanach » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:09 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote: I would also say absolutely do not accept credit cards unless you want an immediate four percent loss in revenue.
Is this the case, even for private misdemeanor/traffic clients? I'd have thought the revenue loss might be offset by better avoiding bad debt and making it easier for someone that might not have $500 liquid to get your help.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:16 pm

albanach wrote:
AVBucks4239 wrote: I would also say absolutely do not accept credit cards unless you want an immediate four percent loss in revenue.
Is this the case, even for private misdemeanor/traffic clients? I'd have thought the revenue loss might be offset by better avoiding bad debt and making it easier for someone that might not have $500 liquid to get your help.
Accept credit card as a last resort. When it comes to points on a license or an OVI or whatever, clients will find a way to come up with cash.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Aptitude » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:18 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:
Jinjuice wrote:I live with my parents atm. I don’t have an office but do have a home address? Where should I meet my client’s face-to-face? My dad was telling me like Starbucks or a fancy restaurant would suffice for consultations and stuff. I don’t think I can afford a office atm. I know some attorneys just use an office that they rented out, but I don’t think I can afford it. I do have a home address that I can use for my PLLC, or do you recommend getting a PO Box for a PLLC, when I register it? I’m not even sure how much an office costs. Also, I’m not very interested in office sharing... part of the reason why I want to go solo in the first place.

Any advice on this address thing and PO Box/office/meeting clients would be helpful.
Whether you need a physical office depends on your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions (I think New Jersey is one) actually require a physical office.

At the absolute minimum, you should get a P.O. Box. Think ahead here -- you do not want your Google listing, business cards, letterhead, etc. listing your parent's address.

While I think you should get an office, if you don't, then yes, I would meet at coffee shops, or if it's business, meet at their place of business. Always come up with a white lie -- "Oh, I have court downtown at 1:00 PM, how about we meet at 11:30 at [coffee shop] right next to there?" People will buy it and not ask questions.

Again, though, you may want to look into an office share. Some attorneys will charge you extremely cheap rent if you are just getting started. Mine was $400/month.


Why not "small business law" and practice both the corporate and litigation side of that? That's pretty much what I do and it's been profitable.

A lot of clients seem to strongly prefer they meet at their place of business. For estate law planning work, a lot prefer to meet at their home if offered. If you don't have an office, you can just not charge a traveling fee if it's within convenient driving distance. A lot of more bro-y clients like meeting at boughy bars and happy hour lounges.

If the option is offered (meet at their place of business or home), I can't recall anyone still wanting to come into the office. When colleagues didn't really want to drive, they wouldn't offer it, because it seemed like everyone would go, "Let's do that, let's meet at my home." I know other attorneys who offer to meet at the client's home, and to do it on weekends. It's gotten so competitive out there for clients, and they appear to really like that. Though that sounds like a pain, when those 4 hours could be spent on a Saturday at the beach or golf course.

When I've used legal services I've always preferred to meet at the attorney's office. It seems like I'm a big time exception. I've seen attorneys starting out just work at home, then rent meeting rooms for the time they'll be in meetings. I've felt bad in those scenarios because I think to myself, "Darn, he/she probably paid for the office time out of this consultation fee. I should have just said we could do it over phone."

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:09 pm

Aptitude wrote:A lot of clients seem to strongly prefer they meet at their place of business. For estate law planning work, a lot prefer to meet at their home if offered. If you don't have an office, you can just not charge a traveling fee if it's within convenient driving distance. A lot of more bro-y clients like meeting at boughy bars and happy hour lounges.

If the option is offered (meet at their place of business or home), I can't recall anyone still wanting to come into the office. When colleagues didn't really want to drive, they wouldn't offer it, because it seemed like everyone would go, "Let's do that, let's meet at my home." I know other attorneys who offer to meet at the client's home, and to do it on weekends. It's gotten so competitive out there for clients, and they appear to really like that. Though that sounds like a pain, when those 4 hours could be spent on a Saturday at the beach or golf course.

When I've used legal services I've always preferred to meet at the attorney's office. It seems like I'm a big time exception. I've seen attorneys starting out just work at home, then rent meeting rooms for the time they'll be in meetings. I've felt bad in those scenarios because I think to myself, "Darn, he/she probably paid for the office time out of this consultation fee. I should have just said we could do it over phone."
Completely agree that estate planning clients love to meet at home and business clients love to meet at their office.

Tip -- put your travel time on the bill and put "(NO CHARGE)" at the end of your entry.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Aptitude » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:14 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:
Completely agree that estate planning clients love to meet at home and business clients love to meet at their office.

Tip -- put your travel time on the bill and put "(NO CHARGE)" at the end of your entry.
Do you offer the service of meeting at client's place of work or home?

It's a real pain in the ass sometimes to meet after hours right in rush hour traffic, where instead of going home you're going into another meeting for 2 hours. Weekends just suck too, but when other attorneys are eagerly offering it it leaves little choice. Have the client wait until next week or two and try to schedule into their busy weekday, while another attorney will eagerly meet them that Saturday or Sunday afternoon :?

EP and local business law, I was told had one of the best work-life balances. Predictable hours, and there were no real hard deadlines or fires compared to litigation. But when you put add in the driving to meet clients at their office or home, and networking events or seminars on weekends, the hours, especially outside of 9-5 really add up.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by nixy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:30 pm

This is an honest question, not meant as snark - if you’re a solo, can’t you just meet someone else after hours and then not work the next morning (or part of) to make up for it? Is it really after hours when you set your own?

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:12 pm

Aptitude wrote:Do you offer the service of meeting at client's place of work or home?

It's a real pain in the ass sometimes to meet after hours right in rush hour traffic, where instead of going home you're going into another meeting for 2 hours. Weekends just suck too, but when other attorneys are eagerly offering it it leaves little choice. Have the client wait until next week or two and try to schedule into their busy weekday, while another attorney will eagerly meet them that Saturday or Sunday afternoon :?

EP and local business law, I was told had one of the best work-life balances. Predictable hours, and there were no real hard deadlines or fires compared to litigation. But when you put add in the driving to meet clients at their office or home, and networking events or seminars on weekends, the hours, especially outside of 9-5 really add up.
For initial consultations, I bring clients into my office. I want them to see that I'm professional, organized, and have my shit together. My entire office is laid out for the client. I have a 55" TV that I find a way to use for the client consult. Clients eat it up.

After initial consultations, I almost always go to the client's business unless I'm slammed.

Regarding estate planning, I only do 3-4 wills a year. I usually bring them in but I will make an exception if it's needed.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:17 pm

nixy wrote:This is an honest question, not meant as snark - if you’re a solo, can’t you just meet someone else after hours and then not work the next morning (or part of) to make up for it? Is it really after hours when you set your own?
Yes, you can meet whenever and make adjustments to your schedule. I've certainly met after hours before.

The big thing, though, is setting boundaries, and doing too many after-hours/weekend appointments will kill your schedule. Clients will assume, "Oh, he's a solo, he's available whenever, he met me at 6:30 on a Thursday night."

You need to make them shut up with that nonsense right away. And you tell the client this right up front. "I made a special exception to bring you in, but I have a wife and four month old at home, and I have my own life, so here's how I operate. No calls or emails after 5:00. No calls or emails on the weekend unless it's absolutely necessary. I return emails and calls within one business day."

Once you create these expectations they roll with it.

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by Jinjuice » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:26 pm

Damn nixy is on Fire!!! Lololol :lol:

Anyways, so debit cards are okay I assume? I mean if you’re using a third party to process your transactions, you’re still losing some money on it right, but not as much as a you would on credit cards?

Let’s say I still use PayPal for debit cards... I mean PayPal will probably still cut a processing fee. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, is the cut you mention AV, only applicable to credit cards primarily or is it same with debit? A lot of clients have debit cards... especially in the small misdemeanor criminal law practice realm.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Solo Practice Q&A

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:35 pm

Jinjuice wrote:Damn nixy is on Fire!!! Lololol :lol:

Anyways, so debit cards are okay I assume? I mean if you’re using a third party to process your claims, you’re still losing some money on it right, but not as much as a you would credit cards?

Let’s say I still use PayPal for debit cards... I mean PayPal will probably still cut a processing fee. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, is the cut you mention AV, only applicable to credit cards primarily or is it same with debit? A lot of clients have debit cards... especially in the small misdemeanor criminal law practice realm.
Depends on your servicer, but you should just be using checks (cash) or Quickbooks invoicing (Simple Start Plan), which allows for free ACH transfers. Again, there is extremely little reason to fork over 3-4% of a fee. I just got a $10,000 retainer -- not a chance in hell I'm letting $400 of that go because my client wants to rack up points on his AmEx.

What you are likely discounting at this extremely early stage in your planning is how many opportunities there are for your expenses to slowly but surely put you out of business before you even get your practice off the ground. Credit card fees, case management software, invoicing software, timekeeping software, cloud software, fax service, etc. It's all unnecessary and it all adds up -- especially over a yearly basis.

You should seek to avoid that until you are well into the six figures in revenues.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


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