Most attorneys dream about starting their own law firm yet few actually make this daring career leap. It is awfully difficult to determine when the time is right to go solo. After all, leaving a comfortable position with a successful law firm to launch your own practice is inherently risky. However, there are a few telltale signs the time is right to make a name for yourself instead of working hard to make those above you on the legal totem pole that much wealthier.
Sign #1: You Have an Abundance of Clients and Steady Work
If your “work pipeline” is primed with clients in need of your legal expertise, it might be the right time to go solo. Alternatively, if you are struggling to attract clients and lack social graces, you will likely find it difficult to succeed as a solo practitioner. Wait until you are sure you will have a steady flow of work before making this risky transition.
Sign #2: You are Looking for a Challenge
Practice law for several years in the same legal niche and you will likely become bored. There comes a time in every attorney’s career when a new challenge is necessary. Embrace new challenges by forming your own law firm and you will enjoy the mental stimulation necessary to be actively engaged with your work. Just be careful what you wish for. Seeking out new challenges has the potential to backfire in a big way. If you are not ready to take on more work or work of a different variety, you will inevitably become flustered and wish you had remained with your former employer.
Sign #3: You Relish the Opportunity to Lead Others
Perhaps the best reason to segue to your own practice is to be your own boss. Part of being the boss is leading others. If you dread delegating work, interviewing potential employees and leading others, it is better to remain in your comfort zone with your current employer. Even if you enjoy leading, there is no guarantee you will enjoy disciplining/terminating employees. Do not make the transition to your own practice unless you are absolutely certain you are willing to hire, fire, reprimand and be a true leader in every sense of the word.
Sign #4: You Have Grown Tired of Law Firm Politics
Office politics are a fact of life. However, such politics do not mean nearly as much when you are the boss. If you are tired of playing the political game at work, you should give serious consideration to launching your own law firm. There is no sense dealing with the passive-aggressive nature of certain employees, a demeaning boss or the shady ways of colleagues when you can go solo. Emphasize your distaste for office politics when interviewing prospective hires and you will have done your part to prevent the formation of a toxic work environment.