So, you’ve decided to head out on your own and start your own law firm, but have no idea where to start. Well, worry no more! There are plenty of resources available to newly solo lawyers, both online and offline. Whether you’re looking for information on the nuts and bolts of setting up your office or are researching your legal software and technology options, there is a vast array of information designed to get you on the right track. So, let’s get started.
There are a number of great books about the ins and outs of starting your own law firm. These books walk you through everything you need to know when starting a law practice:
- First, there’s the recently updated Solo By Choice: How to be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be and the Solo By Choice, the Companion Guide, both written by solo guru Carolyn Elefant.
- Another option is Solo Contendere: How to Go Directly from Law School Into the Practice of Law Without Getting a Job written by Marc Garfinkle.
- And finally, there’s the old standby How to Start and Build a Law Practice authored by Jay Foonberg.
Of course, there are a number of great law blogs devoted to solo and small firm attorneys which cover topics ranging from marketing and technology to law practice management issues. Here are a few of the most useful blogs for solo and small firm lawyers:
- Attorney at Work–a group blog covering a wide range of topics relevant to running a small firm practice
- Lawyerist–another group blog devoted to providing information useful to solo and small firm lawyers
- Solo in Colo–A blog by a solo attorney in Colorado that focuses on practical resources for solo attorneys
- My Shingle–Carolyn Elefant’s long-standing, extremely helpful blog devoted to all things solo.
Online forums and resource centers
Aside from blogs, there are a number of other online resources available for solo and small firm practitioners. First off, don’t overlook the solo practice listservs and groups offered by your local or state bar associations. And, in addition to those resources, here are a few of the more well-traveled online resources created for solo attorneys:
- Solosez–A listserv for solos sponsored by the GPSolo section of the ABA
- LAB–A forum for solo and small firm lawyers sponsored by the Lawyerist blog
- Findlaw’s “How to Start a Law Firm” page–Findlaw provides free resources for solo and small law firm lawyers who are considering hanging up a shingle
- Solo Practice University–An online university designed to teach lawyers how to open up and run a solo practice
- Google + Communities devoted to solos–SoloSmallTech and The Solo Lawyer.
Technology is at the heart of every 21st century law firm. This is especially the case for solo firms, since cloud-based law practice management software and mobile technologies make it possible for solo attorneys to compete with larger firms in ways never before possible. So learning about new and emerging technologies is an important part of opening and operating a solo practice. Here are a few great places to start:
- Google + community–Cloud Computing for Lawyers is a community devoted to legal technology, including cloud computing, and its use in law practices
- MILO group–A Google group for solos and small firm lawyers who use Apple products in their firms
- ABA Legal Technology Resource Center–The ABA provides lawyers with a wealth of information related to using technology in a law office
- ABA Technology books–The ABA’s Law Practice Management Section publishes a large number of legal technology books designed to teach lawyers about law software, emerging technologies, online security, and more.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the assortment of great legal conferences aimed at solos. These are fantastic educational and networking opportunities. So choose to attend one of two of these and invest in your practice and your future:
So if you’re thinking about hanging out a shingle, there’s plenty of information out there to help you establish a solo practice that works for you. So why wait? Seize the day and turn your dream of starting a solo law firm into a reality.