What Are Some of the Key Questions to Ask Yourself If You Think You Want to Open a Solo Law Practice?
Do I have the persistence and patience necessary to run a business and practice law?
It would be nice if once you wrote your business plan all you needed to do would be to execute it and your practice would grow. Maybe it happens for a few lawyers but usually in some part of the plan you get different results than you expected. It takes patience to wait for the result in the first place. It takes persistence to keep updating your plan and then trying something else until you find how to make it work.
Does having my own practice really energize me?
Am I really excited about it?If your vision of this practice is really compelling it will give you the energy to move forward on your idea. The energy allows you to persist even when things are not going as planned and it helps you to generate enthusiasm in others.
Am I convinced that I am exactly the right person to open this practice? Can I articulate why?
Self-confidence is important in the success of the practice. You must believe in yourself before others will believe in you.
Do I have the ability to convince others that I am really good at the kind of law I practice?
Rainmaking is the key to the solo lawyer’s success. Solo practioners have to spend most of their time marketing initially. Attorneys with a book of business still need to market in order to grow their practice. Attorneys must be able interest others in themselves and their work.
Do I have the commitment necessary to put aside other interests to focus my energy on my practice?
There will be lots of distractions while you start your practice. Are you willing to commit to whatever it takes to get the practice up and running successfully?
Am I able to quickly recover from setbacks and not take things personally?
Can you still keep working and feeling confident even on a day that a big client decides to take his/her business elsewhere?
Who will support me in this endeavor?
It helps to have people in your life that appreciate you and really want you to succeed. Family support is critical because you’ll need to spend large amounts of time working and your family needs to understand this. Mentors, colleagues and coaches also are important for advice and encouragement.
Do I have enough financial reserves to carry me until I am profitable?
Your practice needs enough capital to get going until it is profitable. You also need money in reserve for your personal expenses if things get tight. Worrying about money will sap your energy.
What weaknesses do I have that may get in my way as I start this practice? What will I do about them?
Identifying your weaknesses and strengths is an important task. Use your strengths in running your practice and find ways to off load the tasks you are not good at. Shore up those weaknesses as best you can in the beginning when finances are tight. Being aware of them is the first step.
What is my intuition telling me about this venture?
Be in tune with your intuition. Lawyers can get caught up in looking at the numbers of clients they have. The numbers are very important in running your business but don’t ignore what your gut tells you. Leave some time in your day to spend time thinking about your vision. (Daydreaming!)
Article courtesy of Alvah Parker