In May 2008, I discussed a tantalizing question posed by reader who at the time was employed in a federal clerkship, after having spent two years at biglaw. He asked do I go solo now and forfeit the $50,000 clerkship signing bonus from a large firm, or take the leap into solo practice immediately after the clerkship? Though $50,000 is a lot of money to turn down, this particular question wasn’t a tough call and I encouraged the reader to go for it. In this reader’s situation, he’d already spent two years at a large firm, plus another at a prestigious clerkship and still, he couldn’t shake the gnawing desire to start his own shop.
The story has a wonderful ending. Here’s an excerpt of a note that I received from Hamid Jabbar, owner and principal of Jabbar Legal:
Well, I am writing you to provide an update on what has happened. Indeed, I went for it! I have had my own solo practice up and running since the beginning of this year, with absolutely no regrets: . The first few months were difficult, but I started making money in month three and am doing quite well now. I’m so glad that I didn’t let the larger state of the economy prevent me from taking the leap (everyone thought I was crazy). I know now that if I can make it work in these trying times, I will be just fine…I couldn’t be a happier lawyer now.
Take a look at Hamid’s bio (which I wasn’t familiar with until now as he didn’t share many details when he wrote me) and you’ll see why big law just wasn’t big enough for someone like him.
Does every person who starts a practice experience success? Not at all. But how will you ever know if you’ll succeed or fail if you don’t give it a try? Hamid Jabbar forfeited $50,000 to take the leap to solo practice. You may not even need to risk as much.