Archive for the ‘Starting up’ Category

Starting a solo practice

January 4, 2008

I started this blog because there weren’t many resources for solos around.

So the publication of Carolyn Elephant’s Solo by Choice is noteworthy.

Her My Shingle blog is a great advocate of the views of solos.

Canada’s Wise Law Blog also has a detailed post on Starting a Law Firm.


Keeping inspired and focussed

April 6, 2007

It’s very easy to get swept up in client matters and lose focus in what you’re trying to do as a solo and small firm owner.

How do you get back on track?

If you’ve written a brochure or website or blog description of your firm (or even a strategic or business plan), it’s worth going back to  that document from time to time to see what you said and test whether you’re on track.

If you said you were  specialising in a particular area have you accepted some commodity work “for the cash flow”?

If you said you were going to be selective about clients have you taken on a high risk client because “the matter was interesting”?

To stay on track you need to align your day to dap practices with your goals.

The Inspired Solo gives some good examples of checking your email “one more time” at night and agreeing to bill by the hour when you had decided to fixed fee bill.

Here’s your opportunity: declare your independence

August 7, 2006

In 7 Opportunities for Law Firms in 2006 Neil Oakes from FMRC Legal declares the boutique firm as the norm of the future.

Within five years boutique providers will, most likely, make up the entire top quartile of the high profit sample population in all FMRC Legal performance surveys.

These firms will out-perform the generalists in many areas, most critically in client quality and talent attraction.

Yes, some might regard the now-large Gilbert & Tobin as a boutique firm but the formation in the last few months of new firms by 2 or 3 partners breaking away from larger firms (even a large boutique firm such as Atanskovic & Hartnell) shows that the small firm has a solid future.

But if the facts and figures aren’t enough, turn your sound on and watch Declaration of Independence from Escape from Cubicle Nation and get motivated.

Research calls as a marketing aid

July 1, 2006

It’s hard for most professionals to “cold call” for work. But what professionals are good at is doing research.

This article by Gale Crosley explains how you can use a “research call” to gain valuable information about a market and possibly get new work at the same time.

Other people’s stories

April 28, 2006

If you aren't able to talk to someone about your plans, it's good to read about what others have done to achieve their goals.

JD Bliss is a blog about work/life balance and personal growth. It features regular profiles such as the profile on attorney Joanne Sternlieb who operates a trusts and estates practice out of her home . The practice employs four lawyers and two assistants who also work out of their own homes, on their own schedules, whenever they want. There are no set hours, no billable-hour requirements, no guaranteed hours, and no guaranteed pay.

Finding confidence at 4am

April 25, 2006

It's 4am and you're looking for some confirmation that your ideas about going on your own aren't impulsive, irrational and high risk: open up your web browser and have a look at My Shingle. The author is a sole practitioner who gives a solo's view of the world: confident and independent but willing to share and learn.

One of the original features of My Shingle was the Online Guide to Starting a Law Firm. Even though the regulatory bits are for US lawyers, sections like Do You Have the Head and Heart to Hang Out? and Plan for Big Success will give you plenty to think about.

And then if the F Word is still worrying you, read Curt Rosengren's article on fear in Worthwhile magazine:

Fear is a dream killer. It’s the biggest and most common obstacle I see in my work helping people create passion-filled careers. Fear paralyzes, and it magnifies failures. Worst of all, it brings an acceptance of the status quo, however unpalatable that might be.

Starting a new firm

April 22, 2006

There are so many issues associated with the decision to start a new firm (before we even discuss the mechanics) that I expect this will be an ongoing series.

For this first post I will simply link to 3 writers from different backgrounds who will stimulate and provoke you:

Discuss and comment!