How do you know whether solo practice is right for you? As you weigh the pros and cons, consider the following advice from our If I Only Knew panelists at Learning the Ropes 2013:
You have complete independence as to case choice and income; you also have complete responsibility for it. Compare this to an associate at a large firm, who has no independence but has minimal responsibility and a steady paycheck. Small firms tend to be in the middle: some responsibility and some independence.
Sole practice requires a lot of time and work, but you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder. You can work when it is convenient for you. You make all decisions as to how, where, and when to practice law and manage your cases.
Finances and Resources
Take a look at your own situation. What resources are available to you? What financial demands and commitments do you have (i.e. loans, alternative source of income, or sole income for yourself or family)?
Are you personally suited for sole practice? Sole practice means:
- Responsibility, freedom, and uncertainty
- Being self directed and self regulating. Can you get the work out without someone supervising?
- Juggling! Can you practice law, run a business, and keep it all in balance with your personal life?
- Networking and marketing. Can you create your own networking opportunities and business contacts?
- Variety. Do you need routine?
- Taking care of yourself – including avoiding isolation
- Creativity and knowledge – finding solutions to people’s problems in the real world
- Pride in ownership
If you are interested in hanging out your own shingle, contact the Practice Management Advisors at the Professional Liability Fund for free and confidential assistance.