Another question from our readers ...
Hello Greatest American Lawyer,
I have been vigorously reading your posts since I found your website a couple days ago. I have a question for you that I hope you can publish an answer to (I don’t know if you take requests, but I thought I would ask and see if I get a response).
I am just about finished with my first year of law school. I am very entrepreneurial, having owned three companies during my college and pre-college years. After law school, I would really like to start my own practice, but I don’t know how wise it would be to hang my “shingle” right out of law school. What advice would you give a law student about starting a small practice right out of school?
You can go solo right out of school. It more possible now than ever in history. With a little low cost technology, you can make it happen in three easy steps:
1. start a blog now! if you start publishing content now, you can do six figures in income your first year out guaranteed. pick a topic and start publishing. you will be page one of the rankings in your niche area by the time you get your bar number. i did about 100k my first year in business from prospective clients who read my blog (not this one but my commercial blog site). walla. your first problem solved. You now have clients right our of the gate.
2. brand yourself as something and start proving it. i quickly became 'the high tech' lawyer in my neighborhood. where do you think the technology companies go when they have a legal problem. adopt skype, basecamp extranet tools, digital diction, nirto pdf, leapfile.com, gotomeeting.com. you will be tech stud.
3. be different. adopt a progressive client friendly business model. deliver service and don't be greedy. never take more value than you delivered. if you don't accomplish your client's goals, waive fees eve if it wasn't your fault. provide cost certainty to your clients. try "a max budget flat rate or hourly rate, whichever is less" billing structure. you will underbid a few projects. but soon your experience in bidding projects will put you on solid ground. if you are missing your mark, make the projects smaller. tell your client, we will do a basic documents analysis, chronology review and some basic research. do no more than $2,000 worth of work and then report your recommendation to your client. many times, it will make sense for the client to spend the next $2,000, and again, and again.
don't buy the big firm hype. it is pink kool-aid. go non-solo. be an independent practitioner. plan ahead and leverage technology. you can do it. the time is now. the only thing to fear is ... jump jump jump