Increasingly “alternative” legal career paths are becoming not-so-alternative. In the past, the two most common paths to a successful career in law were working towards partnership in a large law firm or joining an in-house legal team. Going solo was an option, but typically less lucrative and very difficult to maintain. Much in the way that we are seeing the rise of the entrepreneur, we are also seeing the rise of the solo practitioner. Many of the barriers that once existed have been removed by technology and the evolution of the legal industry towards efficiency, cost reduction and client experience. For those lawyers looking to ride the wave to a more flexible, self-sufficient career as a solo practitioner, here are a few things to think about when you decide to take the leap.
Have an Online Strategy
The emergence of the internet is probably the number one contributor to the growth in entrepreneurship and sole proprietorship. Small businesses have more reach than ever before and anyone looking to build a business needs an online strategy that will let them tell their story and connect with potential clients looking for legal services. A website, search engine optimization tactics (including content creation) and pay-per-click advertising are a good place to start for anyone looking to go solo.
Build a Strong Network
Business development is something most lawyers are used to doing, but it will be a critical component to the success of any practice. While I would always recommend finding way to connect with prospective clients in person, platforms like LinkedIn also allow us to connect on a much greater scale than ever before. Provide value to your network without expectation and you will benefit exponentially long term from the referrals you receive as a result.
Maintain Low Overheads from the Beginning
It is important that sole practitioners and start up entrepreneurs understand that nothing happens over night. The benefits of maintaining low overheads will have a twofold impact;
- Costs will remain low while the sole practitioner builds their book of business giving them a longer run-way to succeed.
- Cost savings can be passed along to clients who are increasingly looking for value out of their professional services contracts.
Invest in Technology
If there is one area of your business worth investing in early, it is the tools and technology that will allow you to work efficiently enough to provide real value to your clients. Low rates are only as good as the legal service you receive for it and maintaining a high-quality service in a low-cost, low-overhead model will require the right use of both legal and client experience related technologies.
How CEO Law Can Help:
At CEO Law we appreciate the flexibility lawyers who leave traditional law are looking for and work hard to provide them with the benefit of choice when it comes to how much work they’d like to take on and in what areas of the law they want to build their practice. If you’re looking to start your own practice or if you’re a solo practitioner already and are looking for ways to grow, we’d love to hear from you.