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Thursday, June 23, 2011

starting your own law practice 2

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges in starting your own practice: the buck stops with you.  There is no room to point fingers when a case goes awry, or a when telephone call is not returned promptly.  Not unless, of course, you enjoy pointing a finger at yourself.  So what is the solution?  Organization.  Starting out on your own, you will need to spend substantial time coming up with an organizational scheme to keep you on task and up to date on your cases.  More importantly, you must follow through with the organizational scheme you put in place without fail.  As a solo, I try to keep my organizational scheme as simple as possible.  When I am retained by a new client, I create a new file and calendar important deadlines and court dates the day the client retains me. I then schedule time to review the case and create a case strategy within a week of the initial client meeting.  This process ensures that new cases, particularly ones without imminent deadlines, don't fall off my radar.  Again, I find the key element in my system is sticking to it without fail.  In addition, I find it helpful to print-out a list of current clients from my client management software on a weekly basis, going down the list and mentally reviewing each case and making sure I am moving everything along at a reasonable pace.

Why are these organizational steps so important?  Apart from the obvious... zealously and effectively representing clients, having an organization system in place is critical because as a solo practitioner you must wear many hats: business owner, office manager, accountant, business promoter, et cetera.  Without a solid organization structure in place to manage your cases, you may find yourself spending too much time wearing every hat except for the one you need to focus on to succeed: lawyer.

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