My First Month as a Solo Attorney.
Sitting here in my office, I can hear the faint 80’s pop being played through the hallway speakers, but with my door shut, it is eerily quiet. My phone is not ringing off the hook and the hum and rumble of the office building keeps a steady rhythm in my head. I’m reviewing some medical records for one case and calculating federal guidelines on another. Short a few chaotic days, this has been my consistent reality since I opened my own practice a little over a month ago.
As most lawyers who step out on their own into solo practice, I have given up the security of an employer, a consistent pay check and consitent workload. I traded security for a vision. My wife is a huge part of this vision, because without her support (and income), we would not be able to survive while paying for a mortgage, preschool, after school care, student loans and the full spectrum of other ways a families’ money just evaporates.
This vision is to practice law the way I want, to focus on the practice areas I feel most passionate about and to build a firm that I hope not only produces great legal work, but also becomes a part of the community and a place where people can find information and gain knowledge about thier possible legal issues. Not all legal issues require a lawyer. I had a neighbor recently whose father needed a Power of Attorney in order to make some medical decisions regarding his wife. I provided him some links to free forms and information that the State of Florida provides. Unfortunately, after speaking with him, his problems involved a bit more and it was best for him to speak to competent counsel and I referred him to a specialist in dealing with real estate issues.
I didn’t make any money from helping this person, he just need some free advice and pointed in the right direction. This can be a very important role an attorney can play in their community.
As I continue to learn about taxes, S corporations, IOTA accounts, website design, back links, SEO and the pleathora of other information thrown at the newley initiated solo attorney, I have to sometimes step back and remember why I started this firm. Because I couldn't get a job in another firm? Because I have a problem with authority and don't want to work for someone else? Yes and Yes. But also becuase I believe I can build the firm in my vision and after nearly 10 years of practicing law, it was time.
This post is just a way for me to reflect on the time since opening Clifton Law Office, and maybe pretend like I’m doing some actual work while things are slow. I’m continuing to study marketing, including direct response marketing, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to reach more people and provide the actual information a potential client may be seeking. In the meantime, I’ll write the occasional cathartic blog.