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Solo practice for new lawyers

Entrepreneurship offers alternative for new law school grads.

Over the past few years, news reports have painted a sobering picture for new law school graduates. Publications from Fortune to Time have used words like “grim” and “a perfect storm” to describe the job prospects for newly minted lawyers, citing American Bar Association stats that a little more than half of 2012 grads had found full-time, long-term law jobs.

However, that stat chart includes a line that many may overlook – solo practitioners. Solo practice for new lawyers offers a silver lining for recent grads, as entrepreneurship offers an alternative to a traditional career path.

As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to build your business around the specialties that interest you most, create a flexible schedule and more. In a piece for Law Practice Today, one young lawyer shares his lessons learned since graduating and starting his own law practice, writing “I came to the conclusion that, if I cannot find a job, I will need to make one for myself.”

Modern technology makes it easier than ever for young entrepreneurs to start a business. With a website, social media and a willingness to self-market, early-career professionals can forgo the sometimes long job search and get to work almost immediately. One writer/attorney listed unbundled legal services as one of the “13 top businesses to start in 2013 for the under 30 crowd.”

Starting a business can be daunting, but the right support can make a big difference. Doing research, seeking out mentors and talking to small business experts go a long way toward building confidence that a solo practice is achievable. Local SCORE offices and Small Business Development Centers are a good place to start for resources.

In addition to financing and marketing concerns, many entrepreneurs worry about going it alone. As a new graduate, you may not have an extensive network of legal and business colleagues, which is key for collaboration and building referrals. One benefit to co-working as a new graduate and new business owner is that very network, and that is part of the reason LawBank caters strictly to legal professionals. Sharing space with others in your field allows you to draw on all the resources of an established network from the get-go.

In future posts in this series, we’ll cover some key tips for going solo, how to build your network, generating referrals and more. Let us know which topics you would like to see covered.

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