It’s not easy running a law practice–especially a solo or small firm. Small missteps or unexpected changes can have a big impact on a small law practice, as was the case with a solo law firm profiled at Above the Law last week. As described in the post, which is the first post in a somewhat depressing series that will focus on firms that didn’t make it, the firm failed in its third year, despite some initial successes.
Carolyn Elefant, a champion of solo and small firms, took issue with the Above the Law series focused on failure and suggested that the reason for this particular law firm’s lack of success was due in large part to its rapid expansion and the decision to suddenly increase overhead in Year 3:
Certainly, the $3000/month overhead bump was largely to blame – but why did this solo feel that it made sense to ramp up so quickly? With so many outsourcing options – independent contractors and virtual assistants or even part time work force – readily available and well-documented at websites galore, it is difficult to understand why this solo chose to lock himself when the cash had barely started to flow.
Many of those who commented on Carolyn’s post agreed, with some suggesting that poor choices rooted in lack of business experience were the main cause of the firm’s failure.
Of course, as I’ve discussed here many times in the past, the reason most lawyers don’t know how to run a business is because they were never taught this set of skills in law school. This is because, for the most part, law schools completely ignore the business aspects of running a law firm, instead focusing their curriculums on theoretical and substantive law.
That’s why we launched our blog series 10 Things You Didn’t Learn in Law School. Our goal was to help fill in the knowledge gaps from law school. Through a series of blog posts we sought to help lawyers learn how to run their law practices more efficiently and economically–and in the process avoid the fate of the failed law firm discussed above.
Below is an infographic which summarizes our findings. Then fill in your law school knowledge gaps by following the links listed in this post for an in depth discussion of each topic!