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Solo Law Practice: Ready to Hang Your Shingle?

Five tips for running a successful solo law practice

So you’re ready to strike out on your own as a solo lawyer. Independence and work that fits your passion beckons, but uncertainty and questions about how to run a business loom. Where do you start?

Here are five tips for starting your independent practice. Don’t worry, we’ll share more in future blogs, but starting a business is an elephant that’s best eaten one bite at a time.

Work on business basics
As a lawyer, chances are you know someone who specializes in small business law. Call him or her. If not, connect with your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE office for classes and consultation to learn some of the basics you will need to start your business: how to file a business entity, where to file, taxes, marketing 101 and more. This checklist from Nolo provides a good jumping-off point.

Connect with other solo lawyers
Talk to your former colleagues and friends who have successfully started their own solo practices. Not only will you benefit from their going-solo experiences, but their success will help give you the confidence you need to know it’s possible to make it in business on your own. (Hint: You can find a built-in network of solo lawyers right here at LawBank.)

Reach out to your network
When you are ready to launch, schedule coffee meetings and lunches with several trusted peers in your field. Let them know your plans and ask for advice where appropriate. Don’t be shy about asking for leads or referrals – some of the best business leads come through word of mouth.

Meet non-lawyers
Good business owners know and connect with people outside of their field. Seek out entrepreneurial networking groups, chambers of commerce and other organizations that allow you to mingle with a diverse group of business people.

Make use of the cloud
Cloud-based technology can help the new solo lawyer save money on overhead costs – not to mention hours of IT headaches. The ABA offers some advice on technology for solo lawyers here. In addition, a co-working space like LawBank provides all the necessary equipment for doing business – from phone lines to copy machines – which gives you one less thing to worry about as you start your business.

What are some of the questions or concerns you have about going solo? Share them with us here, and we may feature your question (anonymously) in a future post. 

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