The Single Biggest Factor for a Successful Solo Law Practice

December 29, 2021

To solo or not to solo?

That is the question weighing on the minds and hearts of tens of thousands of attorneys. This existential question gets amplified around the new year. And, as we begin 2022, in the midst of a seemingly interminable pandemic and a much-hyped “great resignation,” maybe it’s a question that is front and center for you.

Should an attorney leave a perfectly good job for the uncertainty of opening a solo law practice in 2022?

If you’re thinking about joining the ranks of hundreds of thousands of attorneys (in the US alone) who have taken the leap, I believe that there’s one threshold question that you should be asking yourself, and everything else is just housekeeping.

Ask yourself:

Do I believe I will succeed as a law firm owner?

If you answer “yes” then you’ll be as successful as you want as a solo. If you answer “no” or “I’m not sure,” there’s some additional groundwork to do before, in my opinion, you should take the plunge (more on this in a future post).

Having started two solo practices myself, and having played a small role in the solo journeys of more than 1,000 other attorneys, it’s pretty easy to predict who will succeed.

Can you vividly visualize yourself as a successful law firm owner?

Even if you don’t have all the answers to questions about the mechanics of how to start, grow and run your legal business (nobody does!), if you can visualize yourself as a successful solo practitioner, you will succeed when you take action.

Can you picture yourself in your own practice? What does it look like? Where are you sitting? What clients are you talking with? What matters are you working on? What are you wearing? How do you feel in your body? Are you comfortable? Are you relaxed or are you stressed? How much money are you making? How does that balance out with the free time that you have? Do you have staff? How do you feel when you start work each morning? How do you feel when your day is done? Are you excited?

There are hundreds of other questions that I could add to the above, but you get the the picture.

There are hundreds of blog posts, articles, books and seminars that purport to tell you what you need to start a law firm. And there’s some great info out there. But the most important factor is the only one that nobody else can teach you, and that you can’t outsource. It’s your belief in yourself and your inevitable success.

About The Author

Attorney Dan Jaffe previously built successful small law practices in WA and AZ. He currently serves as the CEO of LawLytics.

Other posts by Dan.