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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Solo Law Firm

by Melanie Fischer on September 14, 2016

Opening a new business involves uncertainty – and a solo law practice is no exception.

There are several exciting aspects associated with launching a new law firm. For starters, you get to be your own boss. On the other hand, there are also quite a few ambiguities that go along with opening a solo practice. For example, how will you obtain new clients?

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If you are thinking of launching a solo law firm, make sure to consider these questions before opening your door for business:

Why are you choosing to open a solo law firm? Think about the reasons you are considering opening your own firm. Are you unable to find employment with an already established firm? Have you worked for another firm for many years and you’re ready to work independently? Did you just graduate from law school and this is the direction you’ve always wanted to take? Before opening your own firm, make sure you understand why you are making the decision to do so. You want to make sure you choosing this path for all the right reasons.

Do you have a business plan that states your goals? It’s always advisable to create a business plan before launching any type of business venture. A business plan helps define goals for your business. It also helps you create a timeline for reaching business milestones. A business plan can be used to predict your initial operating expenses and to help forecast your potential revenue for the first months/years that your firm is operational. A business plan can be used as a reference that will help you stay on track with the objectives of your solo law practice.

Do you have the necessary funds to start a new business? It is absolutely possible to start a solo law practice with a very limited budget. Certain expenses cannot be avoided – such as association membership dues, professional liability insurance, licensing fees, the cost of required continuing legal education, and more. However, other expenses can be minimized. For example, it is not necessary to lease space in a luxury office building when your law firm is just getting off the ground. Also, there is no need to invest in new office furniture if your current furniture still looks good. Launching a new solo law practice certainly requires funds, but it’s possible to limit your budget to align with your means.

How many hours a day or week are you willing to work? Operating a solo law practice is rarely an 8:00 am – 5:00 pm job. In fact, owning your own business can require a seemingly endless work week. Most successful business owners understand that it’s tough to leave their work at the office when they actually own the office. As the owner of a solo law practice, you might find yourself working during the evening and nighttime hours as well as on the weekends. This is par for the course – at least while your business is getting established.

The questions above are just the tip of the iceberg. Launching a solo law firm is not easy, nor is it something that should be done without careful contemplation. There is no doubt that you want your new law practice to succeed. The chances for success are greater if you have considered all of the challenges related to running your own business. The better prepared you are from the get-go, the better your chance you have to accomplish your goal.

 

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