Posted by Jay Kamlet on Dec 12, 2013
5 signs that going solo as an entrepreneurial lawyer could be right for you.
Maybe you’re a mid-career attorney mulling over the idea of leaving a large firm to start your own specialized practice, or maybe you’re a recent law school graduate with big dreams of early entrepreneurial success.
No matter where you are in your career, venturing into a solo law practice can feel like starting at the bottom of the totem pole. It requires a business skill set apart from your area of law, and it can be daunting to even the most daring go-getters.
Do you have what it takes? Consider whether you have the following traits before you make the leap:
5 signs that entrepreneurship is for you
You have a tolerance for risk
Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Jonathan Fields wrote, “In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to shift from being a failure cop to professor of possibility.” Starting a business is inherently risky, but you have to believe in your ability to succeed.
You are self-motivated
Without a boss breathing down your neck, are you motivated to do your work? As an entrepreneur, that work includes tasks like bookkeeping and marketing in addition to servicing your legal clients. Are you prepared for that reality?
You have a plan
While you may not know all the ins and outs of your business before you launch, successful entrepreneurs develop a solid plan, work to the plan and modify the plan as it makes sense. Your plan should outline financial goals, define target clients and scope of work, and map out marketing objectives and tactics.
You have confidence in your ability to sell
With a law degree and, in many cases, years of experience in the field, you know your job. The trick is convincing potential clients that you are the best lawyer for their needs. “In addition to not knowing how to sell, we lawyers often feel uncomfortable selling,” wrote solo lawyer Rachel Rodgers. Every entrepreneur must be willing to market and sell services.
You enjoy networking and connecting with others
You do not have to be an extrovert to be an entrepreneur, but you do have to have the skills to reach out and connect with new people. That said, quality matters more than quantity. Business consultant Punit Arora advises, “Don’t acquire more connections than you can cultivate.” Be strategic. Think about high-yield networking opportunities and groups that can advance your business. LawBank, for example, provides a built-in network of mentors and peers that can provide support and answer questions that come up along the way. Organizations like this can make a profound difference for a solo attorney trying to make headway in today’s topsy turvy legal world.
Check back soon for the sequel to this post: 5 traits that could hold you back.