Posts Tagged ‘solo practice’

How soon after graduating from law school can/should you start your own practice? I hear conflicting reports. On the one hand, I hear lawyers and entrepreneurs advising that you should not try to start a new business until you have worked in the field for several years, not only to build skills but also to build important contacts. On the other hand, I have heard attorneys say that it is harder to start a new practice if you have first worked the grind in a D.A.’s office or large firm because you pick up too many bad habits that need to be undone and because the skills you learn as a bottom-level associate are not really all that transferable to — well, to anything. (See my post here.) I don’t know which of these is “right” (perhaps both are true in some way), but I do know that I have personally spoken […]

There has been, beginning quite recently, a growing movement to create training and support systems for new lawyers who want to pursue the small or solo practice route, including more real-world practice-oriented training for law students and incubator and residency programs for recent graduates. This week, I spoke to leaders of two organizations that represent another support model for solo and community lawyers: virtual networks. The Community Legal Resource Network (CRLN) a New York group affiliated with CUNY’s law school, and Starting Out Solo (SOS), a Massachusetts group. Both are new creations: CRLN was established in 1998, Starting Out Solo in 2008. Both were bottom-up responses to the perceived lack of support for solo practitioners and both, independently of one another, developed — in some respects at least — similar models. CRLN’s 300 member lawyers, from the five boroughs of New York City, have varied experience and expertise. They can ask […]

During my last year of law school I learned about tech start-up incubators like Y Combinator – which provides seed money, guidance, and networking opportunities to new start-ups – from my friends in Silicon Valley, and I was intrigued about the potential for using this model to help lawyers who wanted to create their own “start-up” law practice. In late August, I learned about the existence of law school incubators (the first of which was created only two years after Y Combinator) and booked a flight to see one of these incubators in person: the Access to Justice Initiative, affiliated with California Western School of Law. (For background on law school incubators, including the Access to Justice Initiative, see my recent post here.) In the upscale office space that houses the Access to Justice Initiative, looking out over a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling view of airplanes flying low over the city and onto the tarmac […]

First, discuss the unpaid bills with the client. This might give you insight into why she is not paying. (E.g., maybe she didn’t understand the payment arrangement you made.) Second, inform the client that if she fails to pay the past due amounts, you will have to withdraw from representation. ABA Model Rule 1.16 and most states’ ethical rules allow a lawyer to withdraw from representing a client for nonpayment of fees if the client “has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled.” Third, if the client agrees to pay, secure the commitment to pay by a certain date in writing. If you do not receive payment by the agreed date, withdraw from the representation. Resist the temptation to keep the case based on the client’s promise to pay later. This will make it significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to withdraw later. In […]

Demand for more cost-effective legal services models, increased interest in self-representation, and advances in technology have made unbundled legal services (limited scope representation) more appealing to clients. Limited scope representation applies to a range of areas of law, such as family law, employment law, consumer issues, insurance coverage, and small business assistance. Model Rule 1.2(c) allows a lawyer to offer limited scope representation “if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.”

Doing low bono foreclosures or even court appointed work (which in many jurisdictions, is another version of low bono) lets lawyers gain valuable experience and earn a little money while doing good, ultimately, a 100 percent low bono business model is not sustainable in the long run . . . Carolyn Elefant, “Solo Incubator Launches at UKMC”