Question: I am an attorney that has been in practice for 10 years with a large firm (200+) in the mid-west. I represented fortune 500 clients in the area of business and commercial transactions. I was a non-equity partner in the firm. Recently I was let go due to the economy and I have no idea when or whether I will ever be called back to work. For three months I have been applying for positions with no success. I am considering starting my own solo practice. Where and how should I start?
Being an attorney in solo practice will be a much different experience than what you are used to. You will have to handle more of the nuts and bolts of running and operating a practice. You will not have people to do everything for you like you did in your last firm. You will need to learn how to be an entrepreneur and think like a businessman.
First, I suggest that you give some thought as to whether you have what it takes to operate your own firm and plan out your business. The best way to go about this is with a business plan. Click here for an article on the subject.
After your have developed your plan begin developing your business identity, firm name, tag line, website domain name, and related graphic package. For ideas download a copy of our Best Practices Guide.
Consider legal structure for the firm. Register with appropriate governmental and tax authorities.
Determine where you will practice, how you will staff your practice, and techology needs. Keep as much of your overhead as possible. Consider virtual employees. At first do as much work yourself as you can. Add staffing resources as your firm grows. Don't skimp on technology.
Implement a first class website on day one.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC