Solo From the Start

Beginning your legal career as a solo attorney

This is part two in a series of posts, read part one here.

Last week, I shared the first two things I share when attorneys ask me about “going solo.”

  1. You’ll need money. Starting solo is expensive.
  2. Do everything within your business at least once.

    And now:

  3. You will discover how creative you are in getting what you need, or you’ll spend a lot of money. I am resourceful. I managed a small business when I was a college student so I learned where the best places to get furniture and office supplies were, how to save money on rent, when to hire a pro for something I can’t do, and how to manage answering the phones. I love to dig around and rarely pay full price for supplies. I find coupons, comparison shop, buy used, and “inherit” supplies and furniture. My office right now has very little in it that I paid for, and even less that I paid full price.

    While you’re out meeting people, stay alert for retiring business people who might want to off-load their furniture for a bargain. Retiring attorneys are especially good folks to know, because many don’t want to bother selling furniture and they might hand you a box full of supplies while they’re at it. Did you know those accordion folders so beloved by litigators are several dollars a piece?

    Don’t be a snob. Your clients are more interested in you and your skills and will never know if your furniture is used or that you recycled their file folder that sits in your drawer.

  4. See? Only the scanner & shredder are new. Are you impressed by them?
  5. In order to ask for what you want, you must know what you want. Study the types of law, find what excites you, and put away from you all areas that make you cringe, ill, uncomfortable, and angry. There are plenty of attorneys who like to litigate so if you don’t, leave it to them. Also, some people, like me, light up when faced with a tangled mess of an estate. You may look at the same mess and want to run. Plan to be an expert, so narrow down until you find your niche.

    I learned this one the hard way. I was broke, I needed work. So I accepted three personal injury clients. Remember when I mentioned my health last post? I had six weeks of stress-induced migraines because I despise personal injury cases. And family court? Makes me feel sick to my stomach in a way that probate courtrooms never do.

Coming soon … 5 and 6