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You might be the smartest attorney in the world, but you can’t run a law firm without clients. And believe it or not, getting clients and practicing law are two distinct skills. Getting your first client can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and quite humbling. And for the most part, it’s a two-step process: mental preparation and some old-fashioned pounding the pavement. Be Realistic and Lower Your Expectations Remember your first kiss? It was probably memorable because…
If you work in a large firm, one question you never have to ask yourself is what business entity makes the most sense for your law practice. Strike out in any entrepreneurial venture, however, and this becomes a key threshold question as you set about your work. What You Need to Consider Your choice of business entity has many ramifications, many of which have nothing to do with ethics rules or considerations specific to…
One of the toughest aspects of being an attorney (especially a solo) is that you can find yourself living in your own little bubble. Whether you are calling another member of your firm, or another attorney that you know, reaching out for help is easier said than done. Regardless who you ask, be respectful of the other attorney’s time and advice. Step 1: Know What You Need To Ask It is best to determine how much…
You have taken the plunge and decided to open the doors of your own firm. Now you just need to let the whole world know. This article will focus on different practices you can use to call attention to your new venture. The key to success is doing a variety of things to get the word out, not just one main event. I recommend strategizing a medley of contact points, including a formal…
Reinvention is part of being a solo lawyer. Some solos decide to become publishers or journalists or law clerks, leaving the practice of law behind. But sometimes it is a new practice area that defines a lawyer’s reinvention. With so many options in established practice areas and new ones being created through changes in law and through innovation, there are limitless possibilities for redefining your practice. Why? Lawyers adopt new practice areas for all kinds…
Q: What do you do? A: [Insert elevator speech here.] You must have a great an answer—because your elevator speech strategy is critical to effective professional networking, niche marketing, brand development, and even your social media strategy—but have you ever really thought about it? You should, but you don’t have to make it complex. Most people screw it up. They screw it up by answering the questions completely. Don’t do that, because you’re…
Whether you have a rural or metro practice, most attorneys are looking to expand. In a prior Lawyerist post, I talked about how offering a unique service that you’re passionate about can help you identify a niche area to add to your law practice. Now that you’ve identified a niche area, the next step is to become the expert. 1. Take advantage of opportunities to learn. When most people think of expanding into an…
With the end of one year and the beginning of the next, it’s a great time to take action to keep your practice running smoothly and keep yourself in check from an ethics standpoint. Here are some tasks that should be hitting your to-do list this week. Review Your Archives Take a look at what you’ve put in cold storage, both in hard copy and electronically. Hopefully, you have a document destruction policy in place.…
Ask someone how much they worked last week, and they will probably overestimate the number by 5–10%, according to a study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the more someone thinks they worked, the greater their overestimate is likely to be, says the Economix blog at the New York Times. Humans (well, American humans, at least) have really inaccurate memories when it comes to the time they spend working, in other words. We…
Around this time last year, we got a pretty depressing look at solo income. In sum, it looked like solo income was dropping overall, dropping relative to the rest of the economy, and barely rising relative to law firm partners. Those charts were based on IRS data and research by University of Tennessee law professor Benjamin Barton. His research shows that solos’ average take-home (after-tax) earnings are about $49,000. That seems low. I realize the…