Back in 2008, before the thousands of big law associate layoffs that would come in 2009, I threw together this online e-book, From Biglaw to Yourlaw, urging large firm attorneys to at least give a moment’s consideration to the option of starting a law firm. For better or worse, the book has stood up remarkably well to the test of time as the biglaw hasn’t changed much from the practices in place twelve years ago.
But some things have changed. The pandemic has revived memories of 2009 but it’s also given lawyers time to pause and really reflect on whether the work they’re doing – particularly when they’re paid 20 percent less – is really what they want long term. The world has changed too: in 2008, the iphone was still a relatively new device, two legal cloud practice management companies, RocketMatter and Clio were in their infancy, barely ready for primetime and Facebook was still a young person’s hangout, Instagram had been invented and outsourcing companies like LawClerk.legal and HireanEsquire didn’t exist. Not only have these tools further slashed the time and expense needed to start a law firm, but they spawned a thriving digital economy with new companies also in need of lawyers.
The point is that today, it is easier than ever for an attorney at biglaw to launch a law firm today. What’s more, there are far more opportunities for biglaw attorneys to break off a piece of an existing practice area like privacy law, cannabis law, blockchain, bankruptcy, or appeals – and resize it for smaller clients dealing with these 41 practice areas that didn’t exist 15 years ago. That was much tougher to do back in the day. Of course, biglaw attorneys don’t have to follow that path; they can also start firms to represent consumers on issues like family law, criminal defense, estate planning, special education or personal injury.
As we wind down to the end of the year, I’d like to invite you to join me at a Facetime Live scheduled for Friday, December 11 on From Biglaw to YourLaw: Why Lawyers Need to Stop Loaning and Start Owning Their Talent. Here’s a link to the event and further description. If you have any specific topics you’d like me to address, post them in the comments or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!