Independent women in law have the ability to change the game
A quick search online for women in law, or women lawyers, scratches the surface of the issues women attorneys face.
The results will show you that women lack leadership and partner roles in the industry. You can read about how women attorneys tackle work-life balance challenges. One article details how they “deploy tactical maneuvers” to manage child care issues, and the list goes on.
One can attend any number of workshops and summits about how to succeed as a woman in law, but maybe there’s another way? Maybe it’s time to move outside the established big law system?
The role of independent women in law
We use the phrase independent women in two ways here. It describes both a woman determined to change the paradigm, but we also literally mean independent lawyers.
All of the independent lawyers we know, both men and women, branched out on their own to create something new. They wanted more autonomy over their work and more choice about the types of cases they accepted. They wanted the flexibility and freedom to create their own schedule and firm culture.
For independent women lawyers, an added nuance could come in the form of status and prestige. Owning your own firm can give you a cachet that might take years to achieve in a traditional law firm structure that requires years of so-called dues-paying.
Law.com delved into the issue in a recent article about women launching law firms. For many of these women, the site reported, lack of respect sat at the heart of their decision to go solo:
“If women were feeling valued, were getting properly rewarded for their efforts, were getting their fair share and it wasn’t a constant struggle to get your origination credit, and feel you are part of the team—then you would stay.”—Nicole Galli, founder of Women Owned Law
Galli went on to say that many of these women had achieved success in traditional firms, but still felt something missing.
Starting an independent firm gives you a chance to become a strong player in the market. You can help shape the legal industry by changing the way you do business, how you interact with clients and even the type of law you practice. Rather than continue to play the game on someone else’s terms, you change the game.
Creating a long-term career strategy
Career coach Rachelle J. Canter advises women in law to create their own career-development strategy, rather than trying to fit into someone else’s prescribed track.
She observes, in a Law Practice Today article:
“I have worked with hundreds of women lawyers in virtually every specialty, level and geography, and I have personally out-placed scores of women who mistakenly assumed that keeping their heads down and working hard would be enough to assure their success and security.”
She goes on to offer advice on how to map out a career plan for yourself. However, she focuses on career steps that tend to fall on a more traditional path. If you would rather forge your own path, independent law might be the best end-goal on your career path.
If the idea of starting your own law business scares you, talk to others who have done it. Schedule meetings with independent lawyers in your region, or in your practice area, and talk through what they have learned along the way. Then begin mapping out what your ideal practice would look like: the clients you would serve, your firm culture, how you would attract clients and more.
If you would like to learn more about starting your own law firm in Denver, contact us. We offer coworking for lawyers and office space at three central locations.