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Opening a law office - Page 5

post #61 of 82
Originally Posted by MattR View Post

hope it goes well! glad to hear it at least gave you some pause.

Thanks! We'll see how it goes. smile.gif
post #62 of 82
I had a long talk with my wife this afternoon and I think that tomorrow morning is going to be very interesting at Vader Law Group, PLC. Some fundamental changes are on the horizon. smile.gif
post #63 of 82
Originally Posted by VaderDave View Post

I had a long talk with my wife this afternoon and I think that tomorrow morning is going to be very interesting at Vader Law Group, PLC. Some fundamental changes are on the horizon. smile.gif

Casual Fridays?
post #64 of 82
Originally Posted by Bhowie View Post

Casual Fridays?

I'm in CA. If I wear a tie to the office, people ask me if I'm headed to court. Clients think I'm "dressed up" because I tuck my shirt in.
post #65 of 82
Originally Posted by VaderDave View Post

I'm in CA. If I wear a tie to the office, people ask me if I'm headed to court. Clients think I'm "dressed up" because I tuck my shirt in.

This is true, and oh so sad.
post #66 of 82

I might launch in January in either NYC where I currently work or in Westchester. Previously I worked in private equity as a consultant attorney and am now working as a staff attorney at a big firm - not on the big firm wage scale, so I will run a tight ship.  As of right now I have a sole proprietor designation in Westchester county. Like all else in life, if one really wants something the biggest obstacle they face is in the mirror. (I will conceed that capital helps.)


Sources as I prepare for my launch:


Solo by Choice




NYC Bar, NYCLA and NYSBA materials, webinars, etc. (many of these are free!!!)




I love finance, markets, value investing, and business generally.  I have incorporated a few LLC as a contract worker and a solo, also I took mostly financial law based courses in the last two years of law school.  Maybe gaining admission to the bankruptcy court would help too.


My worry is that while small business law is my passion and where I want my practice to be...foreclosure defense and criminal law are going to be my bread & "buttah" in 2012 to keep the lights on.  This may not be a bad thing but it becomes difficult to cross-sell those client groups.


I was wondering if a fellow SF'er had any experience shifting or running divergent practice areas until the fork in the road - or continuing down the same road?


Any thoughts, critiques, advice, or general comments are truly appreciated.  I want to be as best prepared as possible so that I can maximize this opportunity in my life. 

post #67 of 82
Thread Starter 
Small business law will crossover with criminal law and foreclosure defense pretty well, I think.
post #68 of 82
Late addition to this thread, but I have been considering the solo practice as well recently. It's something I would need to plan and save for in the far future (maybe a year from now), but I really value the advice.
post #69 of 82
I've run my own practice for a year now since I graduated, without even a secretary, and while the money is alright and the work schedule awesome (usually less than 5 hours a day, with vacations whenever I want), it does get boring and lonely quite often, and the prospect of doing crim and family law forever is more than just moderately depressing. There are a few classy, intelligent solo general practitioners in my county, but there are a lot of sleezy idiots in the field as well, especially in family law where encouraging clients to litigate, milking them dry, then withdrawing before trial is disturbingly common. I'm in a very rural area yet $15k + a month is about average for the middle-aged/older lawyers, and entirely doable if you can get enough clients. Getting that many calls however can be tough as a new guy; some of the advice in here works for that, a lot of it doesn't. It's very tough, as a young person, to maintain the decorum that people expect of lawyers and at the same time hustle for business. I'd add that running in a election, for yourself or someone/thing else, and doorbelling, is a common piece of advice I've been given; but again, I'm in a very rural area and I'm not sure how that'd work in say in nyc wink.gif
post #70 of 82
Has anyone done a combo of contract work (read: Doc Review) and started their own practice at the same time? I have met some people that seem to pull it off. It seems like a reasonable way to make it work financially.
post #71 of 82

I have done contract work and several of the attorneys - right out of law school and laid off experienced attorneys, run their firms right on the job.  However, successfully doing so requires the cooperation/turning a blind eye to your constant phone calls by the manager of your contract. I rarely witnessed any of these solo-doc reviewers being the type of attorney I want to be.  If you can devote a few weeks to full out planning and have money saved to cover the first six months that seems to be the best way to go. At that point taking a doc review job for a few weeks to stablize cash flow/reserves would seem to allow you to run an operational law firm and pick up projects when needed. However, necessity demands innovation, sacrafice, and action - you may have to try to work document review to save up until you reach a point where you can invest fully in your law firm with your time.


@Svenn sounds like you're doing well, Soloing entrepreneurship has been an evolution for me and I am just researching!  Kudos to you for your courage to launch and congratulations on your successes to this point.  Would you say that "marketing, marketing, marketing" is the name of the game?  Any books or tools you found particularly useful - Foonberg,, Solosez?


Right now I am discussing a partnership with a guy I went to law school with who just passed, if this runs its course we'll be located in a building his family operates in Midtown.  I also have an opportunity with a solo in Westchester who went to my law school 40 years prior to my time there.  When my contract job expires in a few weeks I will have a better idea of my plan for 2012. Does anyone else have a plan in place or how is your firm progressing?

Best of luck to all the solo/small firm guys on here, I'll keep you posted on my progress. 

post #72 of 82
Please do update us. I am always inspired by this stuff.

I have one or two friends who have made a go of the solo thing. None of them are necessarily making a ton more money then contract work or the like, but I respect that they are getting solid experience and taking control of their career path.
post #73 of 82
Thread Starter 
The best thing that happened to me was having a space I could use to meet clients. I did some work for a startup company that some friends of mine own and in exchange I have a small office and the use of their conference room. It saved me a lot of money in the beginning. I'm looking into getting an office with a couple of other solos right now.

BTW, has anyone else been approached by the Lexis-Nexis people? They are offering unlimited access to almost the entire database for $175/month. You have to sign a contract, but it seems like a pretty sweet deal. At this point I'm concerned that it would be more of a luxury than a necessity, but being able to use Lexis on an unlimited basis is something I haven't been able to do since law school. I could see myself staying up until 3 surfing those treatises and whatnot.
post #74 of 82
Completely unrelated, I love your avatar Munch.
post #75 of 82
Thread Starter 
Me too, friend, me too.
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