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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Monday, April 28, 2008

If I Knew Just One Thing When I Started My Practice...

Ah lets make it two...

So I'm on enough lawyer list serves that invariably and frequently some newbie asks advice in some form of the above. I thought there were some interesting points made recently.

First, and this should be a no-brainer, CONTROL YOUR EXPENSES. I still kick myself about throwing away money in the early start-up years. For me it was overspending on office space and commercial lawyer referral programs. A law firm can potentially earn you a nice living, but it's different than a non-legal start-up business where oftentimes you can really grow a business for 3-5 years and then sell it or go public. A legal services business is much harder to sell even though now (at least in IL) you can sell a Firm and your growth will generally be more slow and steady.

Second, get your 10-60 second "elevator speeches" down. Take some time to figure out how to explain to people (clients, potential referral sources, family members) EXACTLY what you do. Many people don't understand what attorneys do, and what types of cases you are and are not willing to work on. I could kick myself for the number of times I've answered oh "I'm a family law and real estate attorney." BAD ANSWER!

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