Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lawyers: Why Start your own Law Firm?

A reader of my book recently asked me why, and how I was going to start a law firm so early on in my legal career. Great question. Here was my answer:

As far as starting my own firm, yes, it's true. Crazy, but true. I am starting it with a law school buddy of mine, who articled in the same city as myself. I became convinced very early on that I did not really like doing work in a subordinate role. I was a very successful business person before law school, and the large drop in pay, responsibility, and autonomy was too much for me to take. I also found early on that my favourite part of the practice of law was client interaction. I was lucky at my firm in that I was given the opportunity to jump into the deep end and fend for myself. As such, it made perfect sense to set up my own shop and enjoy the benefits of higher remuneration, more responsibility and more autonomy. I figured that if the Law Society says that I can do it, then it must be OK. I have known others who have started a solo practice after articling. It's rare. There are two main obstacles, I have found - $ - most people think that they don't have enough money to cover the first 3-6 months. But, I have found that most people who do start a solo practice do so by going and getting a line of credit for $20-30K and away they go. The second obstacle seems to be a timidness about running a business. Admittedly, many law students have zero background in business. I have an advantage in that I have run a number of businesses, or been an executive in a number of businesses.

Further, I am in an area of the world that is booming, there is no shortage or work, and a relative shortage of lawyers.

Lastly, Carpe Diem. Why not?

Post-note: I was extremely lucky to have such supportive mentors in my firm. As well, I have some fantastic friends in law who have promised support when required.

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