Are You Ready to Strike Out On Your Own?
Working for big firms can be frustrating, and the temptation to just say, “That’s it! I’m starting my own firm!” may be huge. But starting your own law practice – or any business – is a big step, and one that should not be entered into lightly. You need to spend a significant amount of time evaluating WHY you want to have your own practice, what your plans and goals are, and how you will accomplish them. Running a business is hard, so you need to make sure that the disadvantages of the big firm you are leaving are outweighed by the advantages of running your own practice. Below are some common factors that drive the decision to strike out independently:
Different Client Relationships
It is possible that the way you relate to – or want to relate to – your clients is not possible within the structure of your current firm. Going solo can give you the freedom to structure your client relationships the way YOU want to.
It can be hard to get the compensation you feel you deserve within a traditional big firm. Often the time it takes to work up the ladder takes longer than you feel it should. Of course, while you get to pay yourself whatever you want if you are your own boss, keep in mind all the costs you will have to bear on your own with a solo firm – things you might not even realize your big firm is providing until they’re gone.
The field of law is notorious for being behind the curve with technology and innovation, and big firms are the hardest ships to steer. The modern lawyer is flexible, mobile, and knows that up-to-date technology can help win clients and create a more flexible and personable law practice.
So much about practicing law is different today – more lawyers are going solo, services are getting unbundled, there are alternative fee structures and Alternative Dispute Resolution. The way clients view their legal representation has changed, and going solo can give you the opportunity to become the lawyer YOU most want to be.
These are just a few of the reasons a person may decide to go solo. Make sure you identify the exact reasons you want to take the plunge. Make a list – in fact, make these things the mission statement of your new practice. Keeping yourself grounded in why you started this whole journey in the first place can help you keep focus and remember why you are where you are.
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