From law school to solo practice

When Lisa Hardin graduated from law school, she knew she wanted to go into estate planning and tax planning, but found that the Denver market had limited relevant openings at existing law firms. So, rather than moving to a different state or joining a large firm with a more general focus, Hardin launched her own independent law practice right away.

“After graduating and passing the bar, I went straight into owning my own firm,” she said. “I enjoy having my own practice because it allows me to work closely with my clients and create a relationship of trust with them, which allows me to better serve their estate planning needs.”

Prior to launching her business, Hardin had spent time researching business ownership and independent law practice management, and she also spent time expanding her network.

Independent law practice of Lisa Hardin

Estate planning attorney Lisa Hardin

“I had met many, many people before doing this,” she said. “I had done my research pretty well.”

Yet, she cautions lawyers who are contemplating hanging their own shingles to not get too bogged down in the research and the pre-planning.

“At some point, you just have to start,” she said.

She admits that the learning curve has been challenging in some areas, including marketing and overall practice management, but she has tapped in to her network of mentors as well as the attorneys she has met at LawBank for advice on how to best manage a solo practice.

She advises other young lawyers to get involved in networking groups and committees to help develop solid relationships. During law school, she worked at the Colorado Bar Association in the trust and estate section and joined committees. She said the relationships she developed there have given her a resource when she needs to consult another attorney about a legal matter or business advice.

“I probably use the people at LawBank more for the practice management side,” she said, noting that the other attorneys at the co-working space have been a good source of advice about general business management questions.

She joined LawBank when it first opened in February 2013 as part of a grant program LawBank established with the University of Denver Law School for recent graduates. That grant covered Hardin’s first year of co-working dues at LawBank, and she has now renewed her membership for 2014.

“I really like the space,” she said. “It’s really convenient and, cost-wise, it makes sense for me as a new attorney.”

She added that the lower cost for office space allows her to price her legal services more competitively for her clients.

In her practice, Lisa Hardin focuses primarily on estate planning, estate administration and tax planning. She earned her law degree and Tax LLM from the University of Denver and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Learn more about her and her law practice at