College Advice Blog

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Mar 20, 2013

Going Solo After Law School- Hints and Tips

Cliché and parent-y as it sounds: when you hang your shingle, particularly right out of school, law is the easy part; it’s building your business that’s tough. It requires a lot of time, a lot of work, a lot of sense and skill, sometimes a lot of money and definitely a lot of organization. If you feel like you have that stuff wired and decide to swing the shingle right from the get go there are a few things you’ll need to do.

Speaking of wired- the net has become an absolute necessity.

Get online and get your name out there. Eight times out of ten (the other two being referrals), that’s where your business is going to be coming from. To snag that business, brand yourself; find a niche. Obviously, if you have an absolute passion for some facet of the law- go for it. If you’re not entirely sure though, think outside the box (or the drunk tank and ambulance). Almost wherever you are, chances are good that the DUI and Personal Injury markets have been pretty well hit. But what about marketing yourself as “the high-tech attorney”. Depending on the size of your market, have a semi-official specialty in social media law, or bullying.

Play to your market’s particulars too. If you live near the ocean, specialize in maritime law or read up on the most common cases and suits related to maritime regulation and specialize in that. I have one friend who’s studying up on maritime law as it’s apparently going to function as the template for Space Law (which is also an excellent name for a thriller starring Vin Diesel).

If working for a firm or other cooperative attorney-hiring entity isn’t your style but flying solo seems a little too safety net-less, consider an intermediary option- find some like-minded classmates or colleagues and rent space together without forming a firm. Sharing property while remaining autonomous allows both the freedom to keep your own counsel, so to speak, but provides a support network; even if it’s just moral support.

In my opinion, working for someone before hanging the shingle, even if it’s just a year or two, can be invaluable. Being in a firm, with the local government, etc., establishes a network of colleagues and perhaps clients along with providing practical experience. And practical experience is almost always better learned under someone’s wing than it is on the fly under your own roof. Especially since a great deal of practical experience can only be gleaned through the making of mistakes. Beyond that- consider buying and reading some well-reviewed books on the business of law, do your best, work your hardest and good luck.

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About the Author
Noah Kovacs has over twenty years experience in the legal field. He has since retired early and enjoys blogging about small business law, legal marketing, and everything in between. He recently purchased his first cabin and spends his free time remodeling its kitchen for his family. Twitter: @NoahKovacs
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