The decision to start your own law firm is not one you should make lightly. In order to be successful, you will likely need to put quite a bit of time and effort–not to mention no small amount of money–into the firm. You should be prepared to commit yourself fully to the business, especially in a city, attracting talent as rapidly as Macon, Georgia is. There will be plenty of competition, but do not let the challenge deter you.
With your own firm, you can choose to make your practice as broad or as narrow as you would like. As Mann Law Firm notes, thousands of people are injured or killed every year due to car accidents in Macon. Thus, a car accident lawyer in Macon would have a large base of potential clients and would have the opportunity to make a huge difference in these victims’ lives, helping them secure compensation for their financial losses and pain and suffering. Ultimately, how you shape your practice is completely up to you. Although there will be growing pains, going out on your own can be extremely rewarding and a great learning experience.
Here are a few reasons you should start your own law firm:
You Get to Be Your Own Boss
Law firms often place emphasis on putting in time at the office simply so the partners see you are there and assume your presence is an indication of your commitment to the firm’s success. Being busy and doing billable work is what keeps you employed in that type of environment, but you need to be available and in the office for someone to give you work to do. You can easily end up spending ten or more hours per day at the office just to bill for eight hours. If you feel like you are chained to your desk in the empty pursuit of face time with partners who can give you work, starting your own firm allows you to liberate yourself.
You Get to Pick Which Cases You Take
When you work for someone else, you rarely get to choose your clients or your cases. Your superiors decide which clients to take on for long-term engagements or which one-off clients’ cases to accept, then you are left with the task of working on them and making the best of them. You may find the clients distasteful or think the cases are losers, but if your boss wants you to do the work, you have little choice. If you are your own boss, though, it is entirely up to you which cases you take and which clients you represent. You can be a generalist who does a little bit of everything, you can choose a niche area of law in which to become an expert or you can choose an approach somewhere between those two extremes.
The Money You Make for the Firm Will Go Straight into Your Pocket
If you are not one of your firm’s equity partners, making your billing entries probably leaves you wondering what percentage of the amount being billed to the client will actually end up being deposited into your bank account when you get paid. But if you run your own firm, you will not have to wonder this anymore. You get to pay yourself whatever percentage of client billings you want, provided you still have enough revenue to meet all your other financial obligations. You become the arbiter of your own financial destiny.
You Get to Pick All of Your Coworkers
As the boss, you have the opportunity to fill out your office’s roster with whomever you would like. You also get to decide how big your firm’s staff will be. Many lawyers who found their own firms start out as solo practitioners with a bare-bones support staff consisting of an administrative assistant and maybe a paralegal if they can afford to hire one. Firms with multiple founding partners can usually afford a larger support staff, but a larger staff means more potential personnel problems. If you plan on starting a larger firm, you will probably also need an office manager. Make sure there is room in the budget for you to staff your firm appropriately. Do not skimp on your staff.
You Have the Chance to Find, Manage and Build Your Own Business
Every firm has to start somewhere. Even today’s most vaunted, most expensive white-shoe firms started out as relative unknowns and had to rise to the top on the strength of their work and the strength of the connections they built. The way you conduct business, the work product you put out and the professional connections you make will be some of the biggest determinants of your law firm’s success.
You Get to Create Your Own Office Culture and Reputation
You will set the professional and cultural tone for your whole office. Your approach to practicing law and running a business will trickle down to the rest of your employees and play a large part in determining how your community perceives you. You can run a formal, buttoned-down office where everyone wears a suit every day or a more relaxed office where jeans are commonplace. You can open early, close late, close for lunch and close on whichever holiday you would like. The office’s culture starts and ends with you.
It Is Up to You Where You Work
Want a short commute? Work out of your home or in an office near where you live. Want to be in an area that will be professionally convenient? Find office space near the courthouse–not only will you be close to the courthouse, but you will also probably be near many other firms whose offices are also in the courthouse’s general vicinity. You get to choose your office’s location and style, whether you want to purchase your own office or rent one.
You Can Use the Experience to Understand Your Clients Better
Many of your clients probably are or were business owners. Without having to endure the risk and the stress that can sometimes come with running your own business, it can be difficult to understand the legal problems they need you to solve. When a client comes to you after a deal with a longtime business associate falls apart or an employee decides to file a lawsuit against them, having experience in an ownership position gives you a better perspective on what is really at stake and how tricky those situations can be. Having a better understanding of your clients’ challenges will give you the ability to represent them even more effectively.
Starting your own law firm will be a challenge, but it could also be the best professional decision you ever make. It gives you the freedom to create a distinct business identity and the autonomy to work when you want, where you want and only in cases you decide to take. You get to choose your practice areas and all of your employees, creating an office that fits your specific vision. If you want to be free from the obligations that come with working for someone else, starting your own firm might be a good idea.