Hah. Starting your own practice is only good for tons of stress and no money. I know from experience. It took me 6 months to give up on that little experiment born from desperation!
Someone with actual real world experience and not just rehashing BS they read online or heard in class............ VERY REFRESHING!
Just out of curiosity what type of law did you practice in those 6 months, how did you find clients/very many/how much would you say you made overall and what were your overall costs for that period? Was it just you or you and a few other grads? Did you get absorbed into a firm, find a non legal job, or just hop into a line at the soup kitchen(nothing wrong with soup, I love it)
I ask since I am curious about hearing real life experience on it. Was it just the lack of clients or what? Don't most businesses (legal or non) take at least 2 years to grow regardless of what you are selling?
Well, for me, I really had no desire to grow a business / be a business owner. Way too much stress for me, personally. If it was someone's lifelong dream to run their own practice and had the business background (education and/or experience) I think they COULD be successful at it, so I'm not saying it's impossible - just extremely difficult for most folks.
What happened for me was about 4 months after passing the bar (I had continued being a law clerk at a medium sized firm that wasn't in a position to hire me and then did a legal fellowship with the city through our law school during that time) is that I made a connection through craigslist. Someone was looking for an office share. I met with this attorney (he is in his 50's and experienced and a solo practitioner) and ended up using a small office in the space (there were 2 other experienced solos in the office). None of them were SUPER organized, but they were successful enough. They definitely helped me a lot, but my heart just wasn't in it.
I did the "general practice" thing, but most of what I got were domestic relations / family law clients (which I knew nothing about, and panicked over constantly). I only had a handful of my "own" clients while practicing (about 5 or so) ... and getting them to pay was always like pulling teeth. The only things I ended up really doing on my own were writing a couple demand letters on contract disputes, getting a woman child support, and a couple dissolutions (uncontested divorces). I helped the one attorney with a lot of his work and he would kind of just give me money sometimes, but I didn't have to pay rent or anything. My costs, therefore, were pretty low (malpractice insurance was dirt cheap - around $500 for the year) and I bought some furniture and did CLE's, etc.
Most of my income during this time, though, came from a part-time "of counsel" position I took with a national "debt settlement" firm - very sh!tty sh!t law, but money is money. I also did appearances for several firms (just show up for multiple types of hearings and don't spit at the judge, and you get paid $100-$135 - we have multiple courts in our area).
I am married, so I didn't have to worry too much about making money to live - I definitely wouldn't recommend it if you aren't being supported by a spouse or parents. My only expenses were student loans (mine aren't incredibly high) and whatever clothes / food / etc. I bought for myself.
So ... it worked out and was a good experience. I think it was worth the try, and I met tons of awesome mentors / colleagues while doing it, but it was a struggle! I transitioned out by applying to anything and everything I could ... finding out about a contract attorney position doing doc review ... did that for a bit, and then got lucky and am now a staff attorney at a big law firm. I know this isn't the "end place" for my career, but it's great for now! Pays well and is relatively stable. It's a relief!
Basically, it's just incredibly difficult to do what you intended to do with a law degree with the state of the legal economy now ... beggars can't be choosers!