Starting Your Law Practice: Taking the First Steps
Posted on April 11, 2016 by CEB
This material is reproduced from the CEBblog™, Starting Your Law Practice: Taking the First Steps, (https://blog.ceb.com/2016/04/11/starting-your-law-practice-taking-the-first-steps/) copyright 2016 by the Regents of the University of California. Reproduced with permission of Continuing Education of the Bar - California. (For information about CEB Publications, telephone toll free 1-800-CEB-3444 or visit our Web site, CEB.com).
The following is a guest blog post by Jeremy M. Evans, Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer, representing sports and entertainment professionals in contract drafting, negotiations, licensing, and career growth.
“Those who never try or quit too early end up working for those who tried and never quit.” True in any business and life in general, even more so in the solo practice of law—going solo requires you to step out and charge ahead.
Starting a law practice is hard, and you will feel stretched in every direction. Time management is difficult. Your clients want everything from you. You also never want to neglect your friends and family. And everyone, including your clients and the State Bar, expects the best from you.
It can be overwhelming, but take it step-by-step:
1. Do your Research. Before you start your practice, read materials, books, blogs, and meet with established and newer attorneys for informational interviews to gain insight into going solo. Choose your preferred practice area and try to specialize. This wisdom gathering exercise will save you a lot of time and money.
2. Handle the transactional items. Take care of the foundational transactional tasks first, including tax requirements, entity formation (DBA, LLP, etc.), and malpractice insurance.
3. Sales and marketing. You will need to build your brand, e.g., by creating business cards, a law practice website, and social media accounts. Make sure to be consistent and ethical in all of your marketing activities.
4. Join legal and non-legal organizations. Being involved and being present is everything in life and business. People need to be reminded of who you are, what you do, and how well you provide those services. Serving in the community is the best way to create and maintain genuine relationships.
5. Continue to learn. Going solo can be lonely, so take the opportunities to get out among other people and learn at the same time. Continuing education is required by the State Bar, but it also helps grow your knowledge, business, and ability to connect and stay relevant with your colleagues and your clients.
In coming upon four years in practice, my life and law practice have gotten better and more exciting. This is not to say that working for someone else, a company or lawyer(s), for example, is all bad. Of course not. However, in going solo you have the freedom to choose much more in your life and practice.
When you are solely responsible, you have the opportunity to rise to the occasion and work more efficiently. As a solo, you are the last line of defense. No one else is going to take care of it. The human response to being challenged can showcase our best strengths as well as our greatest weaknesses, which can and should be addressed and understood so that we can constantly improve.
If you have been debating on whether to take the leap to go solo, let this serve as an encouragement to do so. Start with CEB’s upcoming Livecast series on How to Hang Your Shingle with presentations beginning on April 21, 2016. Attorneys from different practice areas and backgrounds will give you tips on how they made the transition and what you need to do to successfully start your own solo practice, including programs on choosing your practice area, getting started, attracting clients, and getting paid.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- Ten Things Every New Lawyer Should Know (Part 1)
- Do You Have What It Takes to Go Solo?
- 7 Tips to Becoming a Great Legal Networker
© The Regents of the University of California, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.