[Update 9/23–Readers – thank you for your response. We’ve collected an enormous amount of information, some very helpful, some of it obvious and some of it (diving in full force to cases by copying pleadings stood out to me as inadvisable and potential career killer but there are others). I’ve got to read through everything myself and post my thoughts sometime next week]
To read the blogs on solo practice or to see the joyful utterances emanating on Twitter (just signed up five clients!!! Best. day. ever!) you’d think that every solo in the world was running a bustling and lucrative practice. But as we all know, that’s not the case — it’s just that no one ever wants to admit that keeping a law firm operational, after the heady excitement of the early days is really hard. So even though there are more resources than ever for solos seeking help — listservs, blogs and educational communities, at the same time, it’s also harder to ask for help because the constant stream of online success stories can make even the hardiest among us — myself included — feel like an utter failure.
Thus, I was gratified when one MyShingle reader reached out to me seeking advice. But this time, instead of just offering my own response, I’d like to give my reader the benefit of your advice. So take a look at the letter below, and share your thoughts in the comments section, or write your own blog post and I’ll link to that as well.
Here’s the email which has been sanitized to remove identifying details:
I am a solo with a practice in a large East Coast city. I handle real estate transactions, bankruptcy, divorce and general litigation. I started my solo practice three years ago, following several years of employment at a smaller firm. Initially, I was able to sustain a practice through referrals – although even then it was a struggle. But lately, I find that people don’t want to pay for legal services. I do an initial consult, but then the potential client will haggle over the price. In addition, the referrals come in spurts and I would like to find a way to produce a steady revenue stream.
I am updating the firm resume, adding a Facebook page, joining Linked In and I have started sending email updates to colleagues. But I would like ideas to jump start my practice – to start bringing in work right away while developing a reliable stream of revenue for the future.
So readers, the floor is yours. What’s your advice for jump starting a solo practice? I know that there’s not a lot of detail here, but work with what you have. What should – and shouldn’t this struggling solo do to succeed in both the short and long term.
Update 9/23] Readers – thank you for your response. We’ve collected an enormous amount of information, some very helpful, some of it obvious and some of it (diving in full force to cases by copying pleadings stood out to me as inadvisable and potential career killer but there are others). I’ve got to read through everything myself and post my thoughts sometime next week]