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          From Biglaw to Yourlaw
          From Biglaw to Yourlaw
You’ve always believed starting a is a is resort.
You’ve always believed starting a firm firmlast a last resort.
Here’s why it it may be the ONLY resort in these changing
Here’s why may be the ONLY resort in these changing
times.
times.




                             by Carolyn Elefant
                             by Carolyn Elefant
                                                       From Biglaw toDocument hosted at
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                                       Overview

                                       Overview
       There’s only one goal I want want to accomplish
       There’s only one goal that that I to accomplish
in this e-book: to convince seriously consider
inthis e-book: to convince you to you to seriously consider
the option of of starting afirm. I firm.care whether whether
the option starting a law law don’t I don’t care
you actually start a or not. not. Or whether you
youactually start a firmfirm orOr whether you
conclude that starting a law firm isn’t the right
conclude that starting a law firm simplysimply isn’t the right
choice for you. Or if afterafter reading all you
choice for you. Or if reading all of this, of this, you
decide to pack upup your talentyour potential and
decide to pack your talent and and your potential and
leave the law forfor other greener pastures in another
leave the law other greener pastures in another
profession.
profession.

        All I I ask you is to evaluate the option option of
        All ask of of you is to evaluate the of
starting a a law firm to do to do so from an informed
starting law firm and and so from an informed
perspective. I I want you aside aside the propaganda
perspective.want you to setto set the propaganda
you’ve heard either end - whether it’s (1) it’s
you’ve heard onon either end – whether the (1) the
negative stereotypes about solosolo practice that you’ve
negative stereotypes about practice that you’ve
been fed in law school or by bosses or colleagues
been fed in law school or by your your bosses or colleagues
or (2) the false promise of four four hour workweeks and
or (2) the false promise of hour workweeks and
gazillion dollar practices legal marketing experts experts
gazillion dollar practices that that legal marketing
and gurus hawk to desperate lawyers. Instead, I want I want
and gurus hawk to desperate lawyers. Instead,
to share both the downside of starting a practice as
to share both the downside of starting a practice as
well as the enormous possibility and do so the
well as the enormous possibility and do so against against the
backdrop ofof the seismic changes – economic
backdrop the seismic changes - from from economic
downturn, to to 1762 lawyer layoffs in 2008
downturn, 1762 lawyer layoffs in 2008 and and
crumbling law firms to technological innovation and
crumbling law firms to technological innovation and
socialmedia - that are are forcing the profession into
social media – that forcing the legal legal profession into
the twenty-first century.
the twenty-first century.




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    Here’s what this e-book is intended to do:
    Here’s what this e-book is intended to do:

    1. Provide anan overview of the changes in the
    1. Provide overview of the changes in the
        legal profession and show whatwhatmean for
        legal profession and show they they mean for
        the future of of biglaw and for own future future
        the future biglaw and for your your own
        at biglaw (Chapters 1, 2). 2).
        at biglaw (Chapters 1,
    2. Dispel myths of going from from big solo to solo
    2. Dispel myths of going big law to law
        practice without overplaying the upsides
        practice without overplaying the upsides
        (Chapter 3).
        (Chapter 3).

Enjoywith my best wishes for a for a fulfilling career no
Enjoy with my best wishes fulfilling career no
 matter where you land. sell yourself short.
 matter where you land. Don’tDon’t sell yourself short.




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            The Writing on

            The Writing on
            the Wall

            the Wall

                                        Chapter 1

                                        Chapter 1

        Biglaw isis falling, fast. In thethree monthsmonths
        Biglaw falling, fast. In the past past three
alone,Heller Erhman, Thelen Reid Reid andrecently,
alone, Heller Erhman, Thelen and most most recently,
Thacher Profitt, firms roughly 500 lawyers in size, in size,
Thacher Profitt, firms roughly 500 lawyers
collapsed like a house of cards as rainmaking partners
collapsed like a house of cards as rainmaking partners
jumped ship and efforts at merger As of this
jumped ship and efforts at merger failed.failed. As of this
week, the lawyer body count for 2008 standsstands at 1762,
week, the lawyer body count for 2008 at 1762,
all victims layoffs at 52 firms nationwide during the
allvictims of of layoffs at 52 firms nationwide during the
past year. [Source: http://lawshucks.com/layoff-
past year. [Source: http://lawshucks.com/layoff-
tracker/]
tracker/]

      Let’s face it it -- for the past few decades, biglaw
      Let’s face -- for the past few decades, biglaw
had a good thing going: a seemingly sustainable
had a good thing going: a seemingly sustainable
pyramid scheme. Biglaw paid top dollar for newly newly
pyramid scheme. Biglaw paid top dollar for
minted lawyers from elite schools and charged every
minted lawyers from elite schools and charged every
second of their sixty hour billable to clients
second of their sixty hour billable weeksweeks to clients
whom they’d convinced toapay a premium for
whom they’d convinced to pay premium for
pedigree. While associates toiled and clientsclients
pedigree. While associates toiled and
subsidized their training, gleefully racked racked up
subsidized their training, firms firms gleefullyup
huge profits with a sense of arrogance that blindedblinded
huge profits with a sense of arrogance that



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them to the possibility this this leveraged
themto the possibility that thathighly highly leveraged
model could fail.
model could fail.

       But just like Nero who fiddled while Rome Rome
       But just like Nero who fiddled while
burned, even now, biglaw remains astonishingly
burned, even now, biglaw remains astonishingly
oblivious to to its fate. Instead of making structuring
oblivious its fate. Instead of making structuring
changes to an antiquated business models, firms are
changes to an antiquated business models, firms are
pinching pennies by by stocking lavatories with
pinching pennies stocking lavatories with cheaper cheaper
quality toilet paper, stopping payment for lawyers’ lawyers’ bar
quality toilet paper, stopping payment for bar
dues,deeply discounting fees fees of course, axing axing
dues, deeply discounting and and of course,
associates to stay afloat in the the short term.
associates to stay afloat in short term.
       In the meantime, firms have given little thoughtthought
       In the meantime, firms have given little
to whether corporate clients will ever again be willing willing
to whether corporate clients will ever again be
to pay exorbitant rates or subsidize $160,000+ associate
to pay exorbitant rates or subsidize $160,000+ associate
salaries even when good times roll again. Have
salaries even when thethe good times roll again. Have
you thought about what will to you if to you
youthought about what will happenhappen biglaw if biglaw
never recovers?
never recovers?




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         Are You Ready to

         Are You Ready to
               Be A Dinosaur?

          Be A Dinosaur?
                                        Chapter 2

                                        Chapter 2
      Even you love what you you do at you
      Evenifif you love what do at biglaw,biglaw, you
must face the reality you you may need
mustface the reality thatthat may need to do it to do it
elsewhere. The signs that biglaw’s days may be
elsewhere. The signs that biglaw’s days may be
numbered are everywhere. Consider:
numbered are everywhere. Consider:

        In a prescient blog post of May May 2007,
        In a prescient blog post of 2007,
(http://blogs.sun.com/dillon/entry/the_way_of_the
(http://blogs.sun.com/dillon/entry/the_way_of_the
_mastodon), Sun Microsystem General Counsel
_mastodon), Sun Microsystem General Counsel Mike Mike
Dillon predicted thatthat biglaw would soon go the way
Dillon predicted biglaw would soon go the way
of the mastodon. Dillon described that through the
of the mastodon. Dillon described that through the
Internet, hehe could assembleown team of experts experts
Internet, could assemble his his own team of
without the need for big play the role of
without the need for big law tolaw to play the role of
aggregator. Dillon also also criticizedfirms’ firms’
aggregator. Dillon criticized large large
antiquated business model, which “which derives derives its
antiquated business model, which “which its
profitability from growing scale and raising hourly hourly
profitability from growing scale and raising
rates,” and wrote these days days “will over.”
rates,” and wrote that that these “will soon be soon be over.”

        Richard Susskind’s new book, The The End of
        Richard Susskind’s new book,End of
Lawyers? argues that technology will ultimately
Lawyers? argues that technology will ultimately lead to lead to
thecommoditization of routine legal work and
the commoditization of routine legal work and
technological advances will erode and and displace
technological advances will erodedisplace much much
of the work that lawyers perform. Loss of large scale,
of the work that lawyers perform. Loss of large scale,
repetitive legal tasks will force large firms firms to
repetitive legal tasks will force largeto rethink rethink
thebillable hour model which depends on leveraging
the billable hour model which depends on leveraging
large numbers of of associates and economies of scale.
large numbers associates and economies of scale.


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        Clientsare beginning to reject the concept of
        Clients are beginning to reject the concept of
paying premium fees for large firm services. They’re They’re
paying premium fees for large firm services.
demanding discounts and micromanaging work,
demanding discounts and micromanaging work,
insisting, for example that firms no longer staff
insisting, for example that firms no longer staff
projects with lower levellevel associates and specifically
projects with lower associates and specifically
asking firms to to outsource discovery to India.
asking firms outsource discovery to India.

       If you’re currently employed at open
       If you’re currently employed at a firm, a firm, open
your eyes and look around. Has your firm been
your eyes and look around. Has your firm been
discounting rates - andand if so,long can it continue continue
discounting rates – if so, how how long can it
to do so? What kinds of per partner partner
to do so? What kinds of profitsprofits per (PPP) will (PPP) will
firms report for for 2008? your firm lost clients? clients?
firms report 2008? Has Has your firm lost
And do you believe that that those clients will return even
And do you believe those clients will return even
when the economy picks up again?
when the economy picks up again?

       You can stick around and your firm
       Youcan stick around and watchwatch your firm
evolve backwards into a dinosaur. But if you think
evolve backwards into a dinosaur. But if you think
that you can improve the way we law and
that you can improve the way we practice practice law and
serve clients, if you frustrated at enormous
serveclients, if you feel feel frustrated at enormous
opportunities that your firm is overlooking, then
opportunities that your firm is overlooking, then
why not give try on your your
why not give it a it a try onown? own?




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                  Dispelling the

                  Dispelling the
                   Myths of Solo

                  Myths of Solo
                                                Practice

                        Practice
                                       Chapter 3

                                       Chapter 3
      This chapter will dispel some of theof the myths
      This chapter will dispel some myths
associated with starting a practice. And myths do
associated with starting a practice. And myths do
abound, purveyed by those with an agenda.
abound, purveyed by those with an agenda.

      Law schools and law attorneys will pile on
      Lawschools and bigbig law attorneys will pile on
the negatives of of solo practice either because they
the negatives solo practice either because they
themselves don’t know better or envy those who
themselves don’t know any any better or envy those who
have the guts to to give it a try.
have the guts give it a try.
        On the other hand, beware the marketers
        On the other hand, beware the marketers and and
gurus hocking their wares. ManyMany don’t know the first
gurus hocking their wares. don’t know the first
thing about the unique challenges and opportunities of
thing about the unique challenges and opportunities of
moving from biglaw to yourlaw, yet they’ll try to
moving from biglaw to yourlaw, yet they’ll try to
convince you that you can work four hours hours a week and
convince you that you can work foura week and
earn millions…so long as you purchase their special special
earn millions…so long as you purchase their
$10,000 silver bullet marketing program.
$10,000 silver bullet marketing program.




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Myth #1: Solo practice is just for losers who
Myth #1: Solo practice is just for losers who
couldn’t find another job. job.
couldn’t find another

        Many lawyers choose to start for a variety variety
        Many lawyers choose to start firms firms for a
of reasons - to to get time court court to find workfind work
of reasons – get time in a in a room, room, to
life balance because they have an entrepreneurial
life balance oror because they have an entrepreneurial
spirit. But even if you to solo practice
spirit.But even if you comecome to solo practice
involuntarily doesn’t make loser. loser. Hey, once
involuntarily doesn’t make you ayou a Hey, once
          time, Skadden, Arps, and Flom trio of
uponaatime, Skadden, Arps, and Flom were a were a trio of
upon
lawyers who couldn’t find find jobs at big white
lawyers who couldn’t jobs at big white shoe law shoe law
firms. Today, the the firmthey started is one of the
firms. Today, firm that that they started is one of the
largestin the country. Some losers.
largest in the country. Some losers.



Myth #2: Sure, solo practice is a great if you want to
Myth #2: Sure, solo practice is a great if you want to
write wills or or litigate petty debt collection
write wills litigate petty debt collection cases for cases for
consumers, but I actually like the complexity of my
consumers, but I actually like the complexity of my
biglaw practice area and and don’t wantit to give it up.
big law practice area don’t want to give up.

       Who said anything about giving up your practice practice
       Who said anything about giving up your
specialty? If anything, having a large firm
specialty?If anything, having a large firm specialtyspecialty
gives you access well paying clients that solos solos
givesyou access to to well paying clients thatwho who
serve consumer clients lack. For example, if
serve consumer clients lack. For example, if you’re you’re
able to bring even small client with with you,
able to bring even oneone small clientyou, you’ll you’ll
         steady stream of revenue right out of
haveaasteady stream of revenue right out of the gate.the gate.
have
Moreover, most solos whowho comelarge firm
Moreover, most solos come from from large firm
practice report that clients send more work aswork as
practice report that clients send them them more
solos because they’re more affordable.
solos because they’re more affordable.

       Do you have concerns about staffing projects?
       Doyou have concerns about staffing projects?
These days, you can top top credentialed to
Thesedays, you can hirehire credentialed lawyerslawyers to
handle projects a contract basis, and partner up
handle projects on on a contract basis, and partner up
with other solos to bring expertise that you may you
with other solos to bring expertise that lack. may lack.




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Myth #3: Corporate clients won’t hire a solo and
Myth #3: Corporate clients won’t hire a solo and
there’s no other demand for my bigmy big law practice
there’s no other demand for law practice
area.
area.

        First, in an economic downturn, corporate client client
        First, in an economic downturn, corporate
are fast departing from the “no one got
are fast departing from the “no one got fired for fired for
hiring IBM” approach. Plus, having worked at a large
hiring IBM” approach. Plus, having worked at a large
firm, you can offer the pedigreed credentials that
firm, you can offer the pedigreed credentials that
many large firm clients comfortable with.
manylarge firm clients feel feel comfortable with.

       Second, even if corporate clients don’t don’t want to
       Second, even if corporate clients want to
hire, other options abound. With technology
hire,other options abound. With technology
changing and new political administration, new new
changing and a a new political administration,
companies and industries will emerge that even today today
companies and industries will emerge that even
we cannot imagine. A colleague of mine who
wecannot imagine. A solo solo colleague of mine who
represented telecom clients at an AmLaw top ten firm
represented telecom clients at an AmLaw top ten firm
has made aa cottage industry of representing clients in
has made cottage industry of representing clients in
an emerging area that didn’t even exist when he
an emerging area that didn’t even exist when he
opened his doors.
opened his doors.

       Small and new companies aren’t the only
       Small and new companies aren’t the only option,option,
though. Why not offer your your biglaw experience in an
though. Why not offerbiglaw experience in an
of counsel capacity to mid-sized firms? Or provide provide
of counsel capacity to mid-sized firms? Or
legalservices on a contract basis in a sophisticated
legal services on a contract basis in a sophisticated
practice field. Specialized contract lawyers can
practice field. Specialized contract lawyers can
command over $100/hr for work on a contract contract basis.
command over $100/hr for work on a basis.


Myth #4 I’m accustomed to earning at least $200,000 $200,000
Myth #4 I’m accustomed to earning at least
a year with a bonus. I can’t possibly match that
a year with a bonus. I can’t possibly match that
salary as solo.
salaryas aa solo.

       First of all, are you even getting that bonus this
       Firstof all, are you even getting that bonus this
year? Thought True, you may be earning earning $200k
year?Thought not!not! True, you may be$200k
now, but with the the economycurrentcurrent condition,
now, but with economy in its in its condition,
howlong will it last? In addition, how many hours a hours a
how long will it last? In addition, how many
week are you working to collect that paycheck? If
weekare you working to collect that paycheck? If
you’re spending 60 hours a weekweek between office and
you’re spending 60 hours a between office and

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commute, your $200k salary translates into a into a
commute, your $200k salary translates measly measly
$70/hr.
$70/hr.

       Second, you need to think long term.
       Second,you need to think long term. PerhapsPerhaps
you’re making $200,000 today. But what about five,
you’re making $200,000 today. But what about five,
seven or nine years down the you if you don’t
sevenor nine years down the line if line don’t make make
partner - – a likely scenario in tough times.
partner a likely scenario in thesethese tough times.
Without a robust portfolio of business - which – which can be
Without a robust portfolio of business can be
tough to develop at a time when partners are holding
tough to develop at a time when partners are holding
their clients close to vest - you’re toast. toast. By
theirclients close to the the vest – you’reBy
contrast, if if you start a today today and take a pay cut,
contrast, you start a firm firm and take a pay cut,
but develop a real book of business and a specialty,
butdevelop a real book of business and a specialty,
your salary potential and opportunities are unlimited.
your salary potential and opportunities are unlimited.

       Finally,while some solos struggle and don’t earn earn
       Finally, while some solos struggle and don’t
anywhere close to to $200,000, particularly right
anywhere close $200,000, particularly right out of out of
the gate, others do do earn much much andIn most In most
the gate, others earn that that and more. more.
instances, those solos who thrive financially
instances,those solos who thrive financially without without
working back-breaking hours use assistants
working back-breaking hours use virtual virtual assistants
and contract lawyers to leverage their time or rely on rely on
and contract lawyers to leverage their time or
a portion revenue from contingency or incentive
a portion of of revenue from contingency or incentive
based fees.
basedfees.

Myth #5: My firm firm told I lacked I lacked
Myth #5: My told me thatme that talent, so talent, so
how canpossibly workwork for myself?
how can I I possibly for myself?

        Come on – isn’t that the pot calling the
        Comeon - isn’t that the pot calling the kettle kettle
black?! Despite all of theirtheir advantages – millions in
black?! Despite all of advantages - millions in
revenue, expansive lines of credit and aand apool of pool of
revenue, expansive lines of credit deep deep
smartlawyers - your firm couldn’t figure out a wayout a way to
smart lawyers – your firm couldn’t figure to
stay afloat? And so it’s blaming you when
stayafloat? And so it’s blaming you when you had you had
neither the control nor nor resources to address the firm’s
neither the control resources to address the firm’s
situation.
situation.

       In addition, keep in mind that sometimes, we
       In addition, keep in mind that sometimes, we
simplydon’t perform to our potential in certain certain
simply don’t perform to our potential in
environments. Perhaps the the constant stress of
environments. Perhapsconstant stress of
potential job loss hanging overover head adversely
potential job loss hanging your your head adversely

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affected your performance. Or maybe your firm
affected your performance. Or maybe your firm
wanted you to undertake certain tasks that youthat you
wanted you to undertake certain tasks
regarded as superfluous, intended simply for the
regarded as superfluous, intended simply for the
purpose of jacking up up the client’s you didn’t
purpose of jacking the client’s bill, sobill, so you didn’t
follow through on them. Trust me, in your own
follow through on them. Trust me, in your own
practice, things will be be different since every bit
practice, things will different since every bit of your of your
effort inures directly to bottom line, notline, not someone
effort inures directly to your your bottom someone
else’s. That thought should give you incentive to
else’s. That thought should give you incentive to
perform at the levels you know you’re capable of
perform at the levels you know you’re capable of
achieving.
achieving.


Myth #6: One benefit of biglaw biglaw is focus
Myth #6: One benefit of is that I can that I can focus
on the practice law, not deal with
on the practice law, not deal with all that all that
administrative and marketing stuff that I’ll have to
administrative and marketing stuff that I’ll have to
do on my own.
doon my own.

       So, you never spent a at biglaw at a gender
       So, you never spent a day day at biglaw at a gender
sensitivity class? Lunching summer associates?
sensitivity class? Lunching with with summer associates?
Hearing a a speaker a dull dull topic? is that atis that at
Hearing speaker on on a topic? Truth Truth
biglaw, you spend a good deal deal of time on non-legal
biglaw, you spend a good of time on non-legal
matters.
matters.

       Still, your point is taken. Starting a firm
       Still, your point is wellwell taken. Starting a firm
meansthat you need to handle tasks tasks like law firm
means that you need to handle like law firm
administration and finding clients on your own. But
administration and finding clients on your own. But
these chores aren’t as distasteful or scary
thesechores aren’t as distasteful or scary as you as you
might imagine. New software as a serviceservice practice
might imagine. New software as a practice
management tools are cheap, inexpensive and
management tools are cheap, inexpensive and make make
law firm administrative tasks like conflicts
lawfirm administrative tasks like billing,billing, conflicts
checks or even trust account management as
checksor even trust account management nearly nearly as
easy as managing your email.
easy as managing your email.



       Moreover, the Internet opens multiple
       Moreover, the Internet opens multiple
possibilities for marketing a -firm – for example, if you
possibilities for marketing a firm for example, if you
enjoy writing, could start start to market market your
enjoywriting, youyou could a blog a blog toyour
practice. If you hate bar networking events, you can you can
practice. If you hate bar networking events,

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connectwith other lawyers on listserves or through through
connect with other lawyers on listserves or
social media. Trust me,me, you can build a successful practice
social media. Trust you can build a successful practice
without ever once running a a cheesy commercial or
without ever once runningcheesy TVTV commercial or
yellow pages ad or schmoozing at weekly networking events.
yellow pages ad or schmoozing at weekly networking events.
And ifif you don’t believe me,can refer youyouat least one one
And you don’t believe me, I I can refer to to at least
hundred other lawyers on Twitter whom I consider friends
hundredother lawyers on Twitter whom I consider friends
or collegial relationships who have done just that. (follow
or collegial relationships who have done just that.    (follow
me @carolynelefant).
me @carolynelefant).

Myth #7 I’d be be willing to try consumer practice areas
Myth #7 I’d willing to try consumer practice areas
like wills or trusts, but you need special expertise expertise to
like wills or trusts, but you need special to
handle those matters and I even know anyone anyone
handle those matters and I don’t don’t even know
who practices in in these areas to
who practices these areas to ask. ask.

         Ironically, in some ways, starting a practice after
         Ironically, in some ways, starting a practice after
life at biglaw puts lawyers at a disadvantage
life at biglaw puts lawyers at a disadvantage becausebecause
they lack the practical skills and local contacts that
they lack the practical skills and local contacts that
many of their solo small firm firm colleagues acquired
manyof their solo andand smallcolleagues acquired
in law school or or through membership in local practice
in law school through membership in local practice
bars.
bars.

        Still, the experience and contacts are hardly
        Still, the experience and contacts are hardly
unattainable. Many barsbarspro bono organizations
unattainable. Many and and pro bono organizations
offer training on on a variety of such as criminal
offer training a variety of topics topics such as criminal
defense, wills and estates, bankruptcy andlaw.
defense, wills and estates, bankruptcy and family family law.
Often, the courses areare taught by experienced
Often, the courses taught by experienced
practitioners, carry CLE credit (which many of you
practitioners, carry CLE credit (which many of you
need anyway) and will tell you exactly what you needyou need
need anyway) and will tell you exactly what
to know. In many ways, these courses are like a bar
to know. In many ways, these courses are like a bar
review course, except actual practice.
review course, except for for actual practice.
Supplementing in-class courses are are online trainings
Supplementing in-class courses online trainings and and
webinars and blogs, which also offer a wealth of
webinars and blogs, which also offer a wealth of
information on many topics.
information on many topics.

       One change you’ll find between big law and theand the
       One change you’ll find between big law
soloand small firm community is that most solos solos
solo and small firm community is that most
readily share information. On list serves like Solosez
readily share information. On list serves like Solosez
or Twitter, you can can other other lawyers willing to
or Twitter, you find find lawyers willing to

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respond to questions and assist with with problems.
respond to questions and assistproblems. There There
are also many specialty bar bar associations that provide
are also many specialty associations that provide
training materials that help you learn differentdifferent
training materials that will will help you learn
practice areas. Finally, don’t forget – much of your
practice areas. Finally, don’t forget - much of your
big law training such as research skills,skills, writing and
big law training such as research writing and
analysis- – will help you distinguish yourself even in
analysis will help you distinguish yourself even in
newpractice areas.
new practice areas.



Myth #8 I’d love to consider starting a Ifirm, but I
Myth #8 I’d love to consider starting a firm, but
just don’t have the money. There’s office space,
just don’t have the money. There’s office space,
computer equipment, research tools and
computer equipment, legal legal research tools and
administrative support, not to mention my huge
administrative support, not to mention my huge
student loans.
student loans.

       Money doesn’t guarantee success in starting a
       Money doesn’t guarantee success in starting a
business or law practice. Remember all of all of
businessor a a law practice. Rememberthose those
dotcom ventures likelike pets.com or etoys.com that
dotcom ventures pets.com or etoys.com that
started out with millions in venture Where are
started out with millions in venture capital?capital? Where are
they now? ByBy contrast, most of today’s Internet
they now? contrast, most of today’s Internet
success stories - think YouTube initially grew on their on their
success stories – think YouTube initially grew
won using cutting edge technology to build
wonusing cutting edge technology to build sites sites
without relying on VC and teams of developers.
without relying on VC and teams of developers.

        Point is, you can start a firm firm incrementally.
        Point is, you can start a law law incrementally.
In fact, it’s never been easier. You don’t need to start to start
In fact, it’s never been easier. You don’t need
with Class A A spacea fancy building - you canyou can rent a
with Class space in in a fancy building – rent a
small space with other lawyers or if itor if it suits your
small space with other lawyers suits your
lifestyle, work from homemeet clients clients in a virtual
lifestyle, work from home and and meet in a virtual
office. As forfor computer equipment, technology is so
office. As computer equipment, technology is so
advanced, you can literallyarun a law firm off of a
advanced, you can literally run law firm off of a
smart phone and a laptop. Legal Legal research costs are
smart phone and a laptop. research costs are
competitive asas well – youoften often negotiate deals
competitive well - you can can negotiate deals
even with providers like LEXIS or Westlaw up
even with providers like LEXIS or Westlaw or team or team up
with a a few colleagues to sharecosts. Starting out,
with few colleagues to share the the costs. Starting out,
you may not need administrative support at
youmay not need administrative support at all, but ifall, but if


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you do, there are many highly experienced
youdo, there are many highly experienced virtual virtual
assistants who can help with a variety of tasks at rates at rates
assistants who can help with a variety of tasks
ranging from $25 $75$75 hour.
ranging from $25 to to an an hour.

       As for student loans, youyou deferdefer for up for up
       As for student loans, can can them them
to six months. NotNotidealideal solution,least you
to six months. an an solution, but at but at least you
buy some breathing room. With interest rates rates
buy some breathing room. With interest
declining, you mayableable to refinance at more
declining, you may be be to refinance at more
favorable rates or or take out a of credit.credit. You can
favorable rates take out a line line of You can
also apply for small business loans.
also apply for small business loans.

       The good news is that most solos report that at that at a
       The good news is that most solos report a
minimum, they able to cover their their expenses
minimum, they are are able to coverexpenses by the by the
end of year one and start generating profit
endof year one and start generating profit by yearby year
two. Most importantly, you are building equity, equity
two. Most importantly, you are building equity, equity
in yourself you identify and and capitalize
in yourself asas you identifycapitalize on new on new
opportunity. that’s the best return return hope
opportunity. AndAnd that’s the best you can you can hope
for.
for.


Myth #9 I’dI’d like to make the leap, IBut in
Myth #9 like to make the leap, I would. would. But in
these troubled times, I don’tdon’tto lose thelose the security
these troubled times, I want want to security
of a law firm position.
ofa law firm position.

Ah,good old security. Sounds nice, but that concept concept
Ah, good old security. Sounds nice, but that
is going the way of the the dinosaur in biglaw. Perhaps,
is going the way of dinosaur in biglaw. Perhaps,
there was once a time when law took care of
therewas once a time when law firms firms took care of
their own or or made good on word that every every
their own made good on their their word that
lawyer hired would stand a credible of making
lawyer hired would stand a credible chancechance of making
partner simply by working hard enough. But these
partner simply by working hard enough. But these
days, rainmaking partners jumpjump shipfirstthe first sign of
days, rainmaking partners ship at the at sign of
trouble and firms ax ax associates to preserve partner
trouble and firms associates to preserve partner
profits. Ultimately, the security that law firms
profits. Ultimately, the security that law firms offer is offer is
false, a pallid skeleton of the camaraderie
false,a pallid skeleton of the camaraderie and and
collegiality of of daysyore.
collegiality days of of yore.


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       One thing that’s myth at all is all solo
       Onething that’s notnot myth at thatis that solo
practice doesn’t offer security. Not an iota. an
practice doesn’t offer anyany security. Not Youiota. You
get by on your skill persistence and sheer
get by on your skill and and persistence and sheer
doggedness. Any dayday you open for business, you
doggedness. Any you open for business, you
could find that all of youryour clientsleft andleft and you
could find that all of clients have have you
haveto pick upup and start all again.again. It’s that
have to pick and start all over over It’s that
realization that you could lose it all anyall any second, that
realization that you could lose it second, that
gives you the determination your job well
givesyou the determination to do to do your job well
enough to make sure thatthat never happensit’sand it’s the
enough to make sure never happens - and – the
recognition that you a law firm out of nothing
recognition that you builtbuilt a law firm out of nothing
once that gives you thethe confidence to know that you
once that gives you confidence to know that you
could do it again, if you you to. to.
could do it again, if had had




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                                                        Have I

                     Have I
             Convinced You?

             Convinced You?
                                 Conclusion

                                 Conclusion
        At the beginning of e-book, I asked you for a
        Atthe beginning of this this e-book, I asked you for a
chance. chance to to make the for starting a law
chance. AA chance make the casecase for starting a law
firm as a a viable option to largepractice. I know I know
firm as viable option to large firm firm practice.
that many of of you have considered this question before,
that many you have considered this question before,
and won’t so arrogant as to assume that my e-
and I Iwon’t bebe so arrogant as to assume that my e-
book has changed your mind, and that you’ll
bookhas changed your mind, and that you’ll jump jump
ship over toto the solo side tomorrow.I’ve opened opened
ship over the solo side tomorrow. But if But if I’ve
youreyes just a little bit, if I’ve gottengotten include include
your eyes just a little bit, if I’ve you to you to
“starting a firm” on the scalescale along with going in-
“starting a firm” on the along with going in-
house, going to to government, doing contract work or
house, going government, doing contract work or
changing the profession entirely, then I’ve done
changing the profession entirely, then I’ve done what I what I
set out to do.
set out to do.

       Now, IIwant toto hear from you…If I’ve gotten you
       Now, want hear from you…If I’ve gotten you
thinking about, or tempted by starting a law firm, let me
thinking about, or tempted by starting a law firm, let me
know. Please drop me aa line at elefant@myshingle.com and
know. Please drop me line at elefant@myshingle.com and
provide me some feedback on my e-book or tweet me on
provide me some feedback on my e-book or tweet me on
Twitter at @carolynelefant. For more of writings on
Twitter at @carolynelefant. For more of my my writings on
making the transition from biglaw to your law, law, please visit
making the transition from biglaw to your please visit



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MyShingle at http://www.myshingle.com/articles/biglaw-
MyShingle at http://www.myshingle.com/articles/biglaw-
practice-and-issues/ or take look at Solo by Choice.
practice-and-issues/ or take aa look at Solo by Choice.




               About the Author
               About the Author




                                  with her
Carolyn Elefant is an attorney with her own practice, the Law Offices
   Carolyn Elefant in Washington D.C. where she specializes in energy
of Carolyn Elefant in Washington D.C. where she specializes in energy
            and enforcement matters, emerging renewables, appellate
regulatory and enforcement matters, emerging renewables, appellate
               select Section 1983 civil rights matters. Elefant also
practice and select Section 1983 civil rights matters. Elefant is also
    internationally recognized marine renewables expert,
an internationallyrecognized marine renewables expert, having
                         specialty 15 years ago
pioneered this practice specialty 15 years ago as a young lawyer.
                                                             lawyer.
         co-founded and serves as counsel to the Ocean Renewable
Elefant co-founded and serves as counsel to the Ocean Renewable
                       national trade association for marine renewables
Energy Coalition, the national trade association for marine renewables
Energy Coalition,
        United States.
in the United States. You can find her online at
                                find
http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/20036-dc-carolyn-elefant-
               or    Twitter at @carolynelefant, among other places.
888937.html or on Twitter at @carolynelefant, among other places.

Intent on making the solo practice option more appealing and
                      solo practice option
accessible to lawyers, Elefant created MyShingle.com over six years
accessible to lawyers,
ago. Since then, the site has inspired dozens of lawyers to start
ago. Since then, the site has inspired dozens of lawyers to start their
own practices and has served as a resource to assist them in doing so.
own practices and has served as a                             doing so.


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                  Elefant published Solo by Choice: How to Be
In January 2008, Elefant published Solo by Choice: How to Be the
Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be, book on why to consider
Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be, aa bookon why to consider the solo
option and how to leverage twenty first century technologies
option and how to leverage twenty first century technologies like
                         billing, collaborative technologies,
outsourcing, alternative billing, collaborative technologies, social
                                successful law practice. Elefant also
media and Internet to start a successfullaw practice. Elefant also co-
blogs for Incisive Media’s law.com Legalblogwatch.typepad.com.
blogs for Incisive Media’s law.com




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