A complete guide to becoming a ‘Solo Practitioner’

Every person who graduates from a law school sees him/herself as a graded lawyer. However, the patches in the path to excellence are ignored.

Maybe you’re also a part of a law firm where you have to face your rough boss every day or you’re working at a place where you’re underpaid for your professional skills. Law practicing firms have become quite stressful for all the lawyers working there and this certainly motivates them to strike on their own. It is possible that a lawyer takes a stand for his/her benefit and starts practicing unaccompanied.

In the field of law, some attorneys and lawyers are associated with law firms, and some are practicing it independently. The decision of removing oneself from the stressful or tiresome environment and starting as a ‘solo practitioner’ is different from any other business in the market.

10 pro-tips before you start your law firm

Trusting your skill and instincts when the chips are down is an integral part of motivating yourself. The maintenance of work quality is essential even in solitude. For a solo practitioner, it takes an ample amount of courage to market his/her work effectively, so that the clients are willing to offer them an opportunity.

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According to research, these are the points that have immensely helped solo practitioners to become successful. For setting up a law firm on your own, you don’t need to establish legal, financial, or tax advice regarding how to build your business.

Choose your best practice area

It is vital to understand your competencies or what you’re good at. Every lawyer is specifically good at one area out of all. Being jack in all and king in none doesn’t work in this field. Instead of wasting your time while learning different aspects of the lawyer industry, it would be more appropriate to recognize your zone and skillset.

Unnecessary time is spent on learning unconventional expertise which certainly costs irreversible mistakes.

Measure your expenses

Calculation of the capital cost is essential before setting up any business. Other than spending money on the building of the business, will you have money to pay your family expenses, feed them with ease, and keep your house payments covered?

Cutting down or eliminating excessive and less important items from your wish list will decrease the monthly budget. Start with a realistic approach so that both business and personal expenses can be catered to wisely. For example, with the inclusive of every bill, you need to pay $9000 for a month. So, you need to calculate how many clients you need to handle and have on your portfolio so that you can bear the charges.

Be open for every contract in the beginning days

While you’re finding it hard to decide your niche and what you’re good at, be open to contracts that are usually ignored by the big law firms. The core idea behind this is to keep your expenses running during the hard days.

You might be getting several contracts for discovery, motion writing, or even lesser value cases but you need to make sure you are available to take them as a solo practitioner. This way, you would have a substantial chance to develop a great reputation in the market.

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You could register yourself with a document review agency. You might find the work monotonous and dull, however, it would eventually help you to keep overheads flowing. Moreover, instead of choosing an irrelevant practice area, it’s better to become smooth while working with temporary contracts as it even improves your portfolio too.

Purchase a good machine (laptop)

With the advancement in the technological phase of the world, lawyers have become tech-savvy. Notepads and sticky notes are replaced by ‘laptops.’ Being a solo practitioner, you need to own a reliable machine.

If the laptop breaks down in the middle of your work, it would be very hard to keep track of data and there are higher chances that you might lose your valuable work too. It is one of the main machines that would be required to keep your practice running.

Consult a mentor

Relatively, when you’re in the cycle of the learning process, you need to consult a senior person in that respective field. However, it won’t be beneficial to hire a person just for the sake of ideas.

Some attorneys and lawyers are open and willing to help people who belong to the junior state. So, instead of solving every misery with the help of a senior attorney, it is more favorable to learn the skill on your own with their help.

Setup a website

After establishing a solo law firm, to build a good customer base it is important to create a website. The fanciness of the website depends highly on the nature of the practice you opt for. For example, a criminal lawyer’s website would be entirely different from a transactional lawyer’s one.

Complete information should be put on the website regarding your name, address, the services which you’ll be providing to them, and other relevant details. Making a user-friendly website would eventually help you generate clients as people don’t usually prefer complicated things. So, you can put up your offers with the prices mentioned against them so it becomes crystal clear for every visitor on the web page.

How-to-Be-a-Successful-Solo-Law-Practitioner

Purchase Errors & Omission insurance

In some of the states just like Massachusetts buying this insurance is not necessary. Nevertheless, if you are willing to acquire it, it will prove to be beneficial for you. For example, in case of any major mishap takes place, with the insurance you can get your expenses handled with ease.

Whenever a solo practitioner is willing to set up on his/her own, so several firms are enthusiastically waiting to provide help.

Business cards

One way to represent your business is ‘business cards’. Yes, customized cards could be expensive, however, it is better to take the chance instead of having the printer’s name at the back of the card. Whenever a person starts a business, he/she has a strong urge to get their business cards designed.

On the other hand, solo practitioners are suggested to wait until and unless they have their whole information compiled in the best form. Business cards are an expensive way of marketing, and you wouldn’t like to waste them while speeding up the process as the damage would be irreversible.

Keep your forms intact

No matter whatever practice you choose in the law field, there are two kinds of form.

  • Pre-printed standard forms
  • Documents that are repeatedly used in multiple cases

Drafting of the standard forms and the documents which are relatable to every case you take will prove beneficial for you. For example, standard forms can be created before-hand and be saved on the laptop or hard drive. So, whenever a client approaches you regarding that matter, then the template of that specific case is ready.

This way it would save your time and show your efficient skills in front of the clients.

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Perform your challenge productively

The idea of developing a separate law firm or becoming a solo practitioner can sound to be a difficult task. Of course, it is hard to generate business, create a strong portfolio, or build a healthy clientele base, but if others can do it, so can you.

The legal work, assembling of files, or fixing of the copier might seem to be laborious at first. However, eventually when the business starts to provide you with rewards, it will look more promising to you.

Major ways ‘Solo Practitioners’ can evolve with technology

Everyone who belongs to the ’90s and is related to the field of law will surely be aware of ‘floppy disks’ which were used to store important data.

Although, times have changed now. With technological evolution solo practitioners or small firms might try to incur innovations in their work so that the blend of technology and their service provides the perfect mix for the client. Things that have progressed are:

Major ways ‘Solo Practitioners’ can evolve with technology

Online legal research

Previously, lawyers had to put in loads of effort in the search of valuable precedent or the right key case. However, the time has changed now. Due to the development of artificial intelligence, the internet provides you with the best results you’re searching for.

For example, you get access to online libraries where you can find relative stuff to help you with the case.

Work remotely

The importance of a physical office has deteriorated due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Solo law firms have set up their virtual offices where they share their workspace and network through video conferencing.

Even for billing and payroll, internet solutions are available.

Virtual Assistants

Chatbots are becoming quite common with law firms now. Due to virtual assistants, routine work is made easy and lawyers find it easier to focus on their important work.

Conclusion

Sooner or later, working in big law firms allows one to reach the realization that there is no routine set and the work is mostly according to your boss. Hence, just to gain some sense of freedom and to be more rewarded lawyers decide to become a ‘Solo Practitioner’.

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