Posted by Jay Kamlet on Aug 10, 2017
You are entering a whole new world when starting a new law firm
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make the mid-career transition from lawyer to business owner:
First, the naysayers
You will encounter people who say it can’t be done. Reframe their words in your head: What they are really telling you is that they couldn’t do it. Business ownership intimidates a lot of people, but it can lead others to a new level of career satisfactions and freedom. If the latter applies to you, take the time to explore your options.
Adjust your expectations
Building any new business takes work. More importantly, it takes the right attitude. For lawyers who used to built-in clientele with a big law firm, part of your new attitude should include openness: Be open to new ways of doing business, new types of clients and even contract work.
When you first launch your new law firm, business might trickle in slowly. That’s ok! Take that ramp-up time as an opportunity to craft your business strategy, to meet new people and to market your firm well. How you approach your first several months in business can help you build strong momentum for future success.
Revisit the idea of success
For many lawyers, the traditional idea of success comes with words like partner. When you venture out on your own, you have a glorious opportunity to completely redefine what success means to you.
For some, it’s more time to spend with family or to pursue personal interests outside of work. It could mean building something new and providing excellent client service. It could mean earning accolades like “top lawyer” in your independent practice. It’s your firm, and it’s your life. Now is your chance to dream bigger and achieve success on your own terms.
Your reputation follows you whether you work for yourself or for someone else. As a business owner, that reputation can make or break you. People matter in business, and it’s worth the time and effort to cultivate and maintain genuine working relationships with peers and clients.
As your positive reputation grows, so will your referral network. Beyond that, you reap the personal benefits of knowing your law business is built on good work, respect and great service.
Independent doesn’t have to mean alone
A sense of isolation can sneak up on many entrepreneurs, especially those who work from home. However, running an independent law firm doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
Others before you have forged into the realm of independent law, and you can learn from them. In fact, that’s why we exist: We have created a community of independent lawyers at our two LawBank offices where entrepreneurs build their law businesses side-by-side. Shared offices and coworking space like ours can help you develop a valuable support network that also fosters collaboration and referral exchange.
In addition, join professional and business organizations, but don’t stop there. Attend events and actively seek out connections as you build your new law firm. While you are in business for yourself, nothing can replace the impact of strong, genuine connections with a community.
To learn more about starting a new law firm, contact us. We offer affordable office space and coworking space to lawyers in Denver.