Solo From the Start

Beginning your legal career as a solo attorney

I went to an alumni event for Austin College recently and as always, enjoyed chatting with several alum. Since it is a small college, alumni who come vary greatly in their graduation dates, so I meet new graduates just beginning their careers all the way to retirees. On this occasion I had the pleasure of talking to a young woman who just finished her masters degree. I asked her about her career plans. She started off telling me generally some of the different things she could do and then after a minute talked about what it was she wanted to do.

Whenever I ask that kind of question, I’m hoping I’ll think of someone of interest to the person speaking. For this young woman, I couldn’t think of anyone until she mentioned she is interested in community outreach working with refugees.

When marketing and networking, have in your head your 30-second “elevator speech” to answer “What do you do?” or “What do you want to do?” Always! Mine: I am an estate planning and probate attorney helping clients with asset preservation and inheritance. I also guide clients through guardianship matters. I have now given my listeners a few keywords to trigger names of people to whom I might be of service, or who might be of service to me.

Psychology tells us that recognition is easier than recall. Give your listener specifics so they aren’t left guessing what kind of client you want or the area of law you practice.