Starting Your Own Law Firm

It is always challenging to make the step from working at a prestigious law firm to having your own practice. Even though you probably believe that you could be really successful on your own, taking the step to resign from your current position to start off on your own always seems daunting. And if you are a little bit apprehensive about making the leap, we hope that our guide will assist you in making the right decision.

The first thing everyone needs to understand about starting their own firm is that it is not for each attorney. Even if you are a smart, brilliant attorney, you may not be cut out to start your own firm. Why? Because the way you have to behave on a daily basis changes completely. You are no longer doing the work assigned to you by the partners. You are the one who has to go out and generate business. You have to convince clients to hire you, and you are in charge of all the big decisions pertaining to a case or client.

And for some, those responsibilities are something they cherish. But others might find themselves wilting under the pressure. So you have to really assess whether or not you are the type of person and lawyer who would thrive or struggle under those pressures and responsibilities. If you think you would do a good job, then maybe you are ready to start your own firm. But if you think the challenges are too much for your personality, then you may be better off staying at the firm where you currently work.

Now for those who are of the opinion that they are cut out to work on their own, it is time to think about how you are going to start your firm. You will have to decide on the best moment to leave your current job. For instance, you may not want to leave during the middle of a big case, where you are playing an important role. Leaving your current employers in the lurch is never a good idea, as it can burn bridges that could prove useful to you in the future.

Unless you have signed some type of non-compete clause at your current place of business, you may even want to talk with some of your best clients about your idea. If they are open to leaving the current firm to sign up with your new firm, you are generating some built-in business that would see you through the rough first few months of having a startup firm. But if you cannot get any of your clients to join, it is not the end of the world. They may want to stay committed to a bigger firm, but they could always recommend some other people or businesses that you can take on as clients when you start your new firm.

Finally, you will have to figure out whether you want to take any of the lawyers from your current firm with you. Perhaps you can start a partnership with another lawyer from the firm, or you could take some of the first and second-year associates and give them more important roles at your firm. But you will have to figure out how much you are going to pay these individuals, or whether you will offer them partnership in your new firm to ensure the financial rewards are enticing enough to get them on board.

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About Carolyn Kuhn