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Author Topic: open your own practice  (Read 2590 times)

orenk

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 08:55:55 PM »
lol this post makes me laught now  ;D  :D

You don't really need a ton of money to start a firm. I think you can open one with something around 10K.

IrrX

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2011, 12:23:44 PM »
lol this post makes me laught now  ;D  :D

You don't really need a ton of money to start a firm. I think you can open one with something around 10K.

Okay, you're either delusional, being intentionally obtuse, or trolling. In any case, trying to help you further would be pointless.
Note: Insults made by me apply to everything associated with the people and ideas being insulted, except for other people.

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pslaw2011

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2011, 03:55:38 PM »
I am in agreement that the op's suggestion seems unrealistic.

I'd like to raise another question from this- what about a group of recent law grads? Say 3-5 that can raise 150k and go into opening an office together?

What are your thoughts on this? I'd imagine risks are decreased with combined experience and shared resources. While its not quite a sole practitioner, it would still be small enough to make key decisions.

if it pleases the court

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2011, 07:39:19 PM »
I think opening your own practice right out of law school can work only if your loans are minimal. Ideally, you will have under 30 thousands dollars in debt by the time you take the oath of an attorney. That is assuming a 90% scholarship in undergrad, and a 75-80% scholarship in law school, as well as parents who have helped you along the way and money saved from jobs that you worked. Say, just for arguments sake, that someone has 27 thousand dollars of debt the day that they are sworn in as an attorney. Well, if you had a 75-80% scholarship in law school, then you were also most likely to be in the 80th percentile (or top 20%) of your class and would have entry level positions at the DA/ADA open to you.

PROS:
If your loans are anywhere near 30 thousand dollars, then you might be able to start your own firm because you are not overwhelmed by loans. You can take your time and gradually grow into an experienced attorney by taking new cases, buying leads, networking, and creating a favorable public image. You might even make as much as an entry level PD/ADA (somewhere in the neighborhood of $38,500) but you will work at your own pace. That is certainly the upside of opening your own practice right out of law school for those fortunate enough not to have big loans of 70 thousand dollars or more.

CONS:
Now here is the bad news. If you decide to open your own law practice right out of law school then you will give up a competitive position that you rightfully earned. That is a real negative because if you ever apply anywhere, then your odds of getting the job are decreased because employers are looking for lawyers to start fresh. If you have been practicing for a few years on your own, the DA/ADA entry level positions that you would have been offered will be offered to someone else who has just graduated. Worst yet, the attorneys that graduated at the same time as you and took the entry level positions are now a pay grade or two better than when they started. They have insurance, pro bono hours, a reputation, have networked with the other attorneys, completed verifiable work under an experienced attorney, worked as part of a team, gained experience, and have found their nitche in the legal world.

If opening your own practice is your plan, then you should understand that getting a job from an employer will be less likely if you ever decide to apply. If you are sure that you do not ever want to work under an attorney, or be part of a team, then opening a practice right out of law school is definitly the way to go, but to others it may look as though you have character flaws that make you unmarketable in the legal world to employers and important clients. If you do not have large amounts of debt and do not want to be challenged everyday, then opening your own practice is something to be considered as long as you are aware of the consequences. Therefore, although it is an option for some, I strongly recommend starting out working under another attorney if only for a few years.

jack24

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 12:27:15 PM »
Yeah, OP is probably trolling or a flame, but I have time on my hands.

The statement that you can open a firm up with something around $10k is absolutely true, but it's stupid.  People who open business with limited start-up capital usually fall into horrible habits.  They live on loans, which means they pay a ton of interest.  (business loans and credit cards have high interest rates.)  and they spend money based on the idea of future income.   A competitive business in this market has a low profit margin, and the real money is made through efficiency and volume.  Maybe a few people can land monster clients, but that's not typical.   When you are trying to compete with all the established offices in town, you'll be tempted, as Thane said, to undercut your competition in price and to put more hours in.  You will have slim profit margins that are immediately eaten up by interest payments.  If you self-finance, every dime you save by not paying interest goes directly to profit and future investment.  You can expand, attract clients, and eventually get rich without having to get lucky.

The best option is to work for another company for 5-10 years and save up 100-200k.  Then you have experience, contacts, an idea of what you like, and the ability plan/budget based on current cash and not future receipts. 

Opening a firm because you can't find another job isn't far better than getting extra student loans and putting them all on black in vegas.

FalconJimmy

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 12:43:55 PM »
On this I do have a lot of thoughts because of my small business background.

Honestly, being an attorney and being a small businessperson are two totally different things.  Just because you can be one doesn't mean you can be the other.  Hanging out your shingle requires you to be both.

One thing I've noticed about small businesspeople is that they have a driving desire to have their own going concern.  They want to captain their own ship, even if that means being one guy sitting by himself in a rowboat.

They figure out ways to make that happen.  Right now, the hottest trend going on is the idea of zero-capital startups.  Younger entrepreneurs are no longer thinking in terms of ways to get loans and venture capital.  They're thinking in terms of what can I do to start tomorrow.

You are hearing some of these 20-something millionaires saying things like, "the idea that you need a lot of money to start a business is a bunch of crap".  I think they're more right than wrong.

Folks who wait for the perfect circumstances to start a business, frankly, don't ever start a business.  They sit back and talk at their family picnics about how they have this great idea that they're going to do someday and they never get off the dime.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with working for somebody for 5-10 years, getting contacts, then striking out on your own.  That's certainly the lowest risk way to do it.

I'll just open up the idea that the person who does this might be years behind their ballsy classmate who has already been in the market for 5-10 years.  Might not, but might.

There are ways to start a law practice on the cheap.  The technology is so cheap it's almost free.  Fax machines?  Computers?  Internet connections?  The only one of those that most people don't already have is a fax machine and frankly ,those will go the way of the dodo here soon.  I'm surprised they're still around.

You can represent indigent clients for the county for $50 an hour.  You can meet clients at THEIR place of business. 

There are ways to solve this puzzle.  A marketing-oriented, small-biz oriented person will figure those ways out.

OTOH, there are risks.  One of them is that you may end up being subject to legal malpractice accusations.  So, you mitigate that by referring the case out to other more experienced attorneys when the case will be something over your head.

I am a firm believer in the slow, steady, established way to do things.

I'm also a firm believer in the fact that some people know how to hustle. 

I'd say go with what works for you.

orenk

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 02:05:55 PM »
 ;D no I'm not a troll.

Some of you seem to be living in fear.  Grab ya balls.

Couple of you mentioned a few good points. Thanks. (you know who you are).

barond

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2011, 03:28:45 PM »
I am thinking the way the OP is thinking.  You can start your own practice for 10k.  Its certainly no cake walk, but there is absolutely no downside the way I look at it.  If things work out you are steadily growing and growing business.  It probably is not realistic to expect to earn more than 30k your first year.

Hamilton

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2011, 03:34:23 PM »
Slays me how on these boards folks REALLY only want to be told what they want to hear.  Good advice is just ignored.  So heck with it, yea, start a firm right out of school - you will be a smashing success, don't know why more people have not thought of that.  It works best if you have crappy grades from a T4 and carry at least 100K of debt.  You are different.  You are special.

FalconJimmy

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Re: open your own practice
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2011, 05:48:00 PM »
Slays me how on these boards folks REALLY only want to be told what they want to hear.  Good advice is just ignored. 

It is certainly good advice, Hamilton, but it's not as though it's unheard of to go into practice directly out of law school.  I can think of 2 people I've known, in my entire life, who made it into biglaw.  I can think of half a dozen who went into practice directly out of law school.

Now, given the choice between the two?  Go into biglaw, no doubt about it.  The two folks I knew who did that didn't last long (2 and 5 years, respectively, give or take), but they both got great jobs afterwards in private industry as in-house counsel.

The folks who opened their own practice?  Decades later, they're still trucking along.  Do they wish they had gone biglaw?  Sure.  I bet they also wish they'd gone to something other than the easiest law school they could find, too.  They pretty much sealed their fates the day they started 1L.  However, they are practicing attorneys both in spite of, and because of their education from their 4T schools.



So heck with it, yea, start a firm right out of school - you will be a smashing success, don't know why more people have not thought of that.


You seem an intelligent fellow and I tend to agree with you quite a bit.  However, on this one, I'm a little curious:  a lot of people HAVE thought of this and a lot of people HAVE done it.  This isn't a new idea.  I understand that you might want to warn folks, but you act as though this simply can't be done.  Surely you must know practicing attorneys who started a practice right out of law school.

It works best if you have crappy grades from a T4 and carry at least 100K of debt. 

Well... given the choices facing a person like that, I'd say that their odds of getting on in biglaw are pretty poor.  Military JAG is competitive these days.  Most government gigs are competitive.  What do you propose they do?  Seems to me that representing indigent clients for the county at $50 an hour and acquiring litigation skills sure beats the heck out of working the counter at Subway. 

What would you have them do?  This is something they can do.  Plus, even though they SHOULD care, most people, when hiring an attorney aren't asking to see the degree and most people have no idea whether the local law school is good or not. 


You are different.  You are special.

I think warning people about the potential pitfalls is wise.  However, just saying, "don't do it, it's impossible"?  It's clearly not and it's been done many, many times.  I mean hanging out your own shingle isn't exactly getting nominated to be a supreme court justice.