EDIT: your negative to posting ratio is better than mine, so I AM worse than you... sorry.EDIT: heres some constructive criticism.I just helped a lawyer create a new solo practice. Here are some things to consider.1. applying for a license as a corporation. P.C.? L.L.C.? do you need a consultation to figure out which is better? ($$)2. do you have to carry malpractice insurance ($$$) in your state? And god forbid you do muck up a case up with your ZERO experience- are you prepared to watch your premiums jump 10x? and never go down?3. are you going to pay an accountant ($$), or do it yourself? do you have an accountants license or background?4. taxes ($$)- have you ever run a business before?5. Rent- are you prepared to sign a 5 year lease? 15-75$/ square feet ($$$$)? do you have collateral, equity, own a home? 6. do you have excellent credit, or are you going to purchase all infrastructure yourself up front ($$$)? 7. westlaw accounts can be 5,000/person, due up front ($). or you have to buy books. or you could walk to the library...8. do you have a mentor? what happens if your ZERO experience in your field puts you in a malpractice/disciplinary situation? who do you turn to?9. are you going to advertise, ($$$) or just rely on cases fed to you? are you at lease going to pay for a martindale-hubble entry ($)? What happens when clients look you up and realize that you dont even have a C- martindale grade? 10. bar fees, subscriptions, CLE classes, all of this adds up over time. And you need to throw down for it too ($).granted, this guy was probably the premiere med mal attorney in my state, but it was hard even for him. Lots of planning, consultations, and OVERHEAD. He had the cash to pay for it out of pocket. Do you? he ran a 1.3 million dollar bill before he opened his practice...granted, you dont need to purchase a 400,000$ medical library, or oil paintings... but you should still think about this before putting yourself into much more debt than law school ran you.or maybe my boss just did things right, im sure you can cut every corner i just mentioned. except the malpractice one, which is deadly for solos. And if this all fails, you think a firm/agency/judge will hire you after you tell them that you started off solo, got sued, and declared bankruptcy?just a bit of reality. Solos are running businesses, and the business world can be cruel.though im sure they cover all of this in your solo practice seminar.
I have a friend who went solo after 6 months at a firm. Honestly, I question his competence. I'd bet those people slaving away at those big firms and corp. in-house counsel offices are learning more than you'd think. Those "slaves" have the luxury of someone to continue teaching them after law school. They're being groomed to move up in the organization, and its a process that takes time. Theoretically, if all goes well, they'll end up in the position of the partner teaching them the practice. There are attorneys, and then there are good attorneys.Incompetence aside, my friend makes ends meet by taking public defender cases on contract. That jurisdiction doesn't have an established P.D. office. His practice is slowly growing, but its been tough for him. The hours are pretty good most of the time, and he is his own boss. That counts for alot. Other solo attorneys I know got their start in the prosecutor's office. They did that for a couple of years and then went solo. They made alot of connections that way.
This is a post worth re-reading for all, whether or not you're contemplating starting a firm. Among other reasons, for those in a law office of any kind, there is and should be a greater awe in the value being GIVEN to you by being in that office and learning from experienced practitioners. Why is this form used and not that one? Do I confirm this or not worry about it? Why shouldn't we notify x about y? Oh, we need to worry about z?
I don't object at all to making people aware of:1. the financial realities of this path. Old rule of thumb on small biz is that you don't start breaking even for 2 years and may not turn a net profit on the venture for 5. You might very well end up sorting packages for UPS on the night shift to make rent for a while until your practice is started.2. The difficulty of this path in terms of the type of personality required.3. The dangers involved.People should go into this with eyes wide-open. Where I quibble is with the assertion that it can't be done or that trying to do this is a sure path to ruin. The warnings have a good basis, but to be frank, we all know attorneys who hung out a shingle at graduation and did just fine.Given the alternative prospects for many graduates of today's schools, I don't think a solo practice is an unreasonable aspiration.
Given the alternative prospects for many graduates of today's schools, I don't think a solo practice is an unreasonable aspiration.
For this simple reason, and this reason alone, I generally oppose hanging shingles after graduation. In fact, I would favor some type of post-doc internship requirement, MD-style, for bar admittance, but that is perhaps a different subject.
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