Solo Practitioners And Personal Commitment
The benefits of working for yourself often seem distant when working during the 11th hour trying to finish a motion. However, this situation would certainly still occur even if you were working at a firm. Practicing law on any scale often requires hard work after hours seven days a week. For solo practitioners wishing to achieve success, the practice of law involves a deep, personal commitment that will be time-consuming beyond anything else in the practitioner’s life. At least, for some period of years.
Any graduating law student considering a solo practice should address and answer the following questions to get a better idea of workload, practice management, time allocation, and involvement in activities that do not (on their face) produce income.
- How many hours per week will you work on legal work in your practice?
- How many hours per week will you market your practice?
- How many hours per week will you manage your practice?
- How many hours per week or month will you volunteer to do law-related pro bono work?
- Will you make monthly or quarterly reviews of the work generated by your practice to maintain the focus of your practice in each practice area?
- How many hours are you willing to work each weekend to maintain your commitment?
- What % of gross/net revenue will you dedicate to marketing for the first years of your practice?
- How often will you review the effectiveness of your marketing strategy to reevaluate and correct it, as necessary?
- When do you want to purchase the following (computers, office machines, software, library, other) and how will you prioritize their purchases over a period of (6-12, 12-24, 24-36) months?
- When will you spend 5% of your net revenue on new equipment?
- How much will you spend per year on CLE and professional publications/seminars in your practice emphasis areas?
- How much will you spend per year on Section dues and licensing?
- How will you be involved in the local, county, or specialty bar associations sections of the SBA in your area?
- Will you volunteer or request to sit on the Executive Committee of any section of the SBA.
- How often will you discuss the effect of your practice on the malpractice coverage you purchase and review it with your broker to evaluate high-risk areas and maximize coverage at the lowest cost?
- What will be in your office policy and office procedure manuals?
- What type of staff do you need to hire?
- Do you plan on hiring lawyers? If so, when? Gross fees should be at least $ 10,000 per month before hiring anyone fulltime.
- Where do you want to be as far as the number of attorneys and the size of staff at the end of five years?
- How often will you establish checklists of procedures for the various legal practice issues that arise and revise them?
Once you have answered these questions, you can start drafting your firm’s business plan.
The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) is a 21st Century law school that moves students toward a successful legal career on the first day of class. We believe that practical experience in tandem with legal knowledge is the best road to a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.