Two factors are conspiring to make 2008 a break out year for starting a law firm. Factor 1: rapidly weakening credit and financial markets are causing law firms like McKee Nelson to offer voluntary severance packages to associates and leading other firms Thacher Profitt to give notice of impending layoffs. Factor 2: rapidly increasing hourly rates at large firms – now up to one thousand dollars an hour are spurring some lawyers to start their own practices to attract clients who can’t afford big firm rates.
So, if you’re affected by one of these factors – if your job is in jeopardy because you practice in an area that’s going under, or if you can’t find clients with sufficiently deep pockets to pay your current overhead, why not consider starting your own firm? Sure, there are other options – you could move to a smaller firm, switch practice areas, move to another firm or consider employment in academia or in house. Just be sure to that as you consider these options, think about solo practice right along with them.
And stay tuned for my upcoming book, Solo by Choice which contains a specific section on “Biglaw to Yourlaw,” as well as several examples of lawyers who’ve taken that route, and found financial success and personal satisfaction.