Making the transition from solo practice to partnership
In our blog, we talk a lot about seasoned attorneys ready to leave Big Law and start their own firms, but what about the next step? After you have run a successful independent practice for a few years, it could be time transition your solo practice to partnership.
So, if you have hit your stride in independent law practice, why would you upset the apple cart by adding a partner or staff? You might be ready for this next step if any of the following ring true for you:
You’re ready to grow
When you work as one lawyer, you only have your 24 hours per day to give. It goes without saying that, here at LawBank, we’re big on work-life balance, so we sincerely hope that 24 hours includes sleep, family, hobbies and personal time in addition to work. (If it doesn’t, that’s perhaps your first clue that you need staff.)
As a partnership, you have more hours to give, but it offers more than that. A partner can add a depth of experience to your practice to help attract new clients. Together, you can approach clients in new practice areas or go after bigger, higher-paying cases.
In a blog for Solo Practice University, one lawyer talks about her decision to add a partner after years in solo practice:
“I had already come to the conclusion that I needed to increase my firm’s bandwidth. If my business continues to grow, I can’t be the only lawyer working here. We need more hands. And [my partner] was ready to be more than an associate at someone else’s firm.”
If you have been turning away business, or if you have been dreaming about landing a new caliber of client, it might be time to think about finding a partner.
You miss working as a team
The lawyer mentioned above pointed out that her new partner was ready to “be more than an associate at someone else’s firm.”
Think about your existing network and your former colleagues. Who fits that bill? Is there a fellow attorney with whom you work well? Do your practice areas naturally fit together? Is he or she ready to leave Big Law and work on building a firm?
Although independent law practice can feel incredibly liberating, the flip side for some lawyers is isolation. They miss exchanging ideas with fellow attorneys, and they miss having someone else to lean on. Working in a co-working space or shared office can alleviate a lot of that isolation, but for some lawyers, working as a true team is what breathes new life into their practices.
You need help
As we alluded to above, your work-life balance matters. If you have reached a point in your independent practice where you log extra hours to complete administrative tasks, or work weekends to complete case work, you need help.
Now, that help doesn’t have to come in the form of a partner. Maybe hiring a paralegal, administrative assistant or even an associate would fit the bill better for now. As your firm grows, hire strategically to meet the needs of your caseload, administrative workload and goals for your firm. Beyond that, consider each new hire an investment in both your firm’s growth and your personal work-life balance.