Starting your own law firm doesn’t start with money, a firm name, letterhead, or business cards. It starts with your choice of words, which are free. You can choose words that empower you, which prompt you into action, or words that disempower you, which are excuses.
Surprisingly, lawyers choose disempowering words when deciding whether to go solo. Here are 7 common excuses lawyers make for not starting their own law practice.
“It takes a lot of courage to start your own law firm. I’m afraid I may screw up.” Yes, it does take a lot of courage, but being afraid to screw up is just an excuse. You can also screw up while working for a law firm. Ironically, most lawyers don’t screw up because they have a habit of triple-checking work product before submitting it to a partner or a client.
So what makes you think that you will lose that habit once you open your own law practice? Instead, you should say “I am going to start my own firm and I am not afraid to make mistakes, learn, grow and become a successful solo practitioner.”
“It costs too much.” With advancements in technology and access to information, law firms can be started for under $3,000. Remember, you just need to start. Starting means you simply need the basics: a plan to get, meet, and engage clients, a P.A. or LLC, computer or cloud to store files, smartphone, and email. As your clientele grows, you can upgrade. Instead, you should say “How can I come up with the modest startup costs to achieve my dream?”
“If only I didn’t have a family/wife//kids/mortgage/car note/bills/illness…” As Napoleon Hill said in Think and Grow Rich, millions of people use the “if only” excuse to justify their failure to take action. While having a family/wife/kids/mortgage/car note/illness may make it less easy to start your own law practice, it is still possible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Instead, you should say “I am going to start my law firm today despite having a family/wife/kids/mortgage/car note/bills/illness.”
“What if it doesn’t work out?” If you start your own law practice and it doesn’t work out, you will still have your law degree. You will still have your bar license. Which means that you can still practice law. That’s not a bad position to be in if it doesn’t work out. Instead, you should say “What if it works out? What do I want my life to be like once it works out?”
“I don’t know anything about business.” You are in good company (no pun intended). Most people don’t know anything about business when they first start. Even law schools are trying to address this problem. The truth of the matter is that you will learn about business when you start your law practice. What’s great about learning this way is that you have your own personal law practice to help you hone your business skills. No MBA tuition necessary. Instead, you should say “I will learn everything there is to know about business.”
“I’m not a salesperson/rainmaker. I don’t have any clients.” In order to get into college or law school, or to get a job, you had to sell someone on the fact that you were the right candidate. You had to sell someone through your application, resume or interviewing process. You are a salesperson. You know how to sell. But to get clients, you don’t have to sell. You have to help. Instead, you should say “How can I help more people, which will allow me to start and grow my law practice?”
“The timing is not right. As soon as I….the time will be perfect.” There will never be a perfect time to start. If you wait for the perfect time, it will never come. You simply need to take action and trust that you have the intelligence and resources to come up with a plan and guide you through the process.
So which words will you choose? Words that prompt you to take action or excuses?
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This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.