JEL23652-Blackford, Sheila P3 (2)   by Sheila Blackford   ©2010   I see more lawyers these days who are launching their solo practice. Some line up office-sharing arrangements while others decide to go slow by initially working from home. An article I wrote for the Oregon Bar Bulletin, “Home Alone: Where to Hang Your Shingle” may give some ideas for lawyers thinking about this option.

An over-riding concern of lawyers starting up their solo practice is making sure that they don’t spend too much money all at once. For some, starting up on the proverbial shoestring seems to be the best they can do given the circumstances. Almost two years later, I still find my article “Law Office Start-Up: Law Office on a Shoestring” can help some lawyers think through their early budget. No matter how small, a budget is essential.

Starting up a law practice as a solo is starting up your professional life. Do it with at much thoughtful investigation as you can. Make a business plan and put it in writing. I remember the following adage: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” being drilled into my head early in the business world. It made me a planner! Sucessful ventures are usually accompanied by well-thought-out plans.

Not all of us are entrepreneurial. Not all successful solo lawyers are either. It is natural to feel nervous and even fearful starting up a business, especially a law practice. Some starting up now will be successful and some will hang it up before the year is up. The important thing is not to become paralyzed by fear wondering which will be your destiny. It’s not knowable today. Today, the task before is to take the first step. Summoning courage that carried you to this point, enables you to move forward or as Goethe urged, “to begin it.”

“Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days…What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has Magic, Power, and Genius in it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted by SBlackford

Sheila Blackford is an Oregon attorney who has been a practice management advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund since 2005. She loves writing, riding her horse, and taking long walks with her husband and their dog.

6 Comments

  1. Before I launched my own solo practice six months after becoming an admitted attorney, I read article after article stating that new attorneys were ill-prepared to competently represent clients, and therefore should not start a solo law practice after law school. This idea that young attorneys are incapable of competent representation is absurd.

    We spent a great deal of time and money education ourselves to become competent, so why should anyone that spends thousands of education dollars and thousands of education hours pursuing the goal of becoming an attorney not take their career in the direction they truly desire?

    Reply

    1. I agree that you should take your career in the direction one truly desires. Law school and preparing to sit for your bar exams represent great expenditures of time and money. Law school trains legal analysis skills and some are fortunate to take clinics and classes that help with law practice. Some schools are including law practice management courses. I was sworn in and was open for business as a solo the next day. Hard work, but there are resources available to support new lawyers and new solos. Remember everything you did that led you to this moment and congratulate yourself! Forget nay-sayers. One who is dedicated to becoming a professional usually succeeds. Important to not become discouraged and turn away before reaching your goal. Invite a newer lawyer to lunch or coffee. Good luck!

      Reply

  2. Hey there I am so excited I found your webpage, I really found you by
    mistake, while I was looking on Google for something else,
    Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible
    post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment
    but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more,
    Please do keep up the great work.

    Reply

    1. Oh thank you! Promise to serve up more content for you.

      Reply

  3. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    Reply

    1. Thank you– we live in amazing times. Glad to become a resource to you – stay tuned for more tips and ideas that I hope will be of help to you.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s