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Opening a law office - Page 6

post #76 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchausen View Post

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.

I've only had the need to look up caselaw maybe less than a dozen times in this past year, not that I would even remember how to use Lexis lol. I would say that solo practitioners need to focus on being businessmen above all else, the career choice is not kind to lawyers who prefer to study... but if lexis is your thing wink.gif
post #77 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by proximatecause View Post


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. 

I would suggest that you and the other guy "date first" before becoming formal partners. You can operate out of the same offices and even share some costs, but don't throw all your income into one pot. In many new partnerships, one partner winds up bringing in more revenue than the other(s), which often leads to resentment and the feeling that the others aren't "pulling their weight."
post #78 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaderDave View Post

I would suggest that you and the other guy "date first" before becoming formal partners. You can operate out of the same offices and even share some costs, but don't throw all your income into one pot. In many new partnerships, one partner winds up bringing in more revenue than the other(s), which often leads to resentment and the feeling that the others aren't "pulling their weight."

I worked for a group of lawyers who did this for years. It really is a better arrangement for the small time- solo type guys. They shared the office costs, paralegal, secretaries, etc. and they passed cases around based on who had time and was better at a certain area. One guy did real estate and some lobbying, , one guy was the local probate judge, one guy tax and business stuff, one guy collections and family, and my guy did PI and criminal. They all did a little of everything but those were their areas of focus. They seemed to have a lot less drama then some of the 4-5 man firms I have seen with a formal partnership structure.
post #79 of 82
Thread Starter 
Follow-up. It's weird to me to realize this thread is less than a year old. Sometimes I feel like I have always been doing this.

I'm not a great success story, but I do feel like I've learned a little that I can pass on to anyone reading this thread in the future.

1) what people are saying about networking is true. However, I found that building relationships with other attorneys was overrated to say the least. The other attorneys, especially the ones that have enough status to be referring out a significant number of cases, already know a lot of other guys. Unless he's your best bud or you have carved out a distinct niche for yourself (which won't happen too soon), you are way down on his priority list. Better to look for people who are in a non-law business where they meet a lot of clients and are trusted. I was lucky to get hooked up with a guy who runs a credit counseling business and is a bit of a guru. I did some work for him on the cheap (sued the IRS, which was pretty sweet) and since then he's kept me flush with bankruptcies and consumer claims. I also get a lot of referrals from friends, and even friends of friends. Barking about work on Facebook nonstop actually paid off, I think.

2) be open-minded. I was planning on doing PI (the only practice I even knew at the time) and maybe a little criminal on the side. I ended up doing mostly bankruptcy, consumer law, with a handful of family cases.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the advice and well-wishes. I'm actually at my second crisis point, realizing that it's time for me to take this grubby little DIY practice and turn it into a real law firm with a building and employees. I'm actually looking for someone to share space and a receptionist with, so if there are any Dallas lawyers on here looking into the same (or who has an office they would like to rent out) let me know.
post #80 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchausen View Post

Follow-up. It's weird to me to realize this thread is less than a year old. Sometimes I feel like I have always been doing this.
I'm not a great success story, but I do feel like I've learned a little that I can pass on to anyone reading this thread in the future.
1) what people are saying about networking is true. However, I found that building relationships with other attorneys was overrated to say the least. The other attorneys, especially the ones that have enough status to be referring out a significant number of cases, already know a lot of other guys. Unless he's your best bud or you have carved out a distinct niche for yourself (which won't happen too soon), you are way down on his priority list. Better to look for people who are in a non-law business where they meet a lot of clients and are trusted. I was lucky to get hooked up with a guy who runs a credit counseling business and is a bit of a guru. I did some work for him on the cheap (sued the IRS, which was pretty sweet) and since then he's kept me flush with bankruptcies and consumer claims. I also get a lot of referrals from friends, and even friends of friends. Barking about work on Facebook nonstop actually paid off, I think.
2) be open-minded. I was planning on doing PI (the only practice I even knew at the time) and maybe a little criminal on the side. I ended up doing mostly bankruptcy, consumer law, with a handful of family cases.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the advice and well-wishes. I'm actually at my second crisis point, realizing that it's time for me to take this grubby little DIY practice and turn it into a real law firm with a building and employees. I'm actually looking for someone to share space and a receptionist with, so if there are any Dallas lawyers on here looking into the same (or who has an office they would like to rent out) let me know.

Good to hear that you are surviving (and learning). I wish you the best of luck on your expansion. smile.gif
post #81 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchausen View Post

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the advice and well-wishes. I'm actually at my second crisis point, realizing that it's time for me to take this grubby little DIY practice and turn it into a real law firm with a building and employees. I'm actually looking for someone to share space and a receptionist with, so if there are any Dallas lawyers on here looking into the same (or who has an office they would like to rent out) let me know.

Congrats! A couple of things you might want to consider:

1) Make your office scalable--only hire part timers (even 3/4 timers) with a minimum hour promise. That way if you need them for extra hours, they're available, but if things slow down the overhead won't eat you alive.
2) Try to find a remote answering service that can handle your phone calls and maybe even scheduling. This will help you be scalable and a good service will ensure that you have phone coverage from 8-5 every single business day (no sick days, no lunch breaks, no vacation, no benefits from you). The one I use (even now, for our multi-attorney practice) only costs about $250 per month, which is way cheaper than hiring a full-time receptionist, even if you split it among several attorneys.

Anyway--I'm a big advocate of slower, controlled growth. Keep that overhead low and learn to work as leanly as possible.
post #82 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaderDave View Post

Congrats! A couple of things you might want to consider:
1) Make your office scalable--only hire part timers (even 3/4 timers) with a minimum hour promise. That way if you need them for extra hours, they're available, but if things slow down the overhead won't eat you alive.
2) Try to find a remote answering service that can handle your phone calls and maybe even scheduling. This will help you be scalable and a good service will ensure that you have phone coverage from 8-5 every single business day (no sick days, no lunch breaks, no vacation, no benefits from you). The one I use (even now, for our multi-attorney practice) only costs about $250 per month, which is way cheaper than hiring a full-time receptionist, even if you split it among several attorneys.
Anyway--I'm a big advocate of slower, controlled growth. Keep that overhead low and learn to work as leanly as possible.

This sounds like great advice - my dad took similar steps as both the above while establishing his accounting practice years ago.
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