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Working as a solo practitioner has both pros and cons, just like any other attorney. Some of the pros include complete freedom over what cases they work on and making their own destiny. Some of the cons include a lower average salary compared to private practice attorneys and less support staff to help you in than you would have in private practice.
Solo practitioners enjoy various benefits that larger firm practitioners may lack, such as complete freedom over the cases they choose and the nature of their practice. That being said, there are some downsides to becoming a solo practitioner, including reduced staffing and a lower average salary as compared to larger firm practitioners. All in all, you should weigh your options and consider becoming a solo practitioner if it is the right fit for you.
1. Why did you decide to become a solo practitioner?
When I first started out, I worked for a large prominent New Jersey law firm. After about 7 years, I was a partner in a small firm, Davis & Davis, LLP. When that firm dismantled, I had the option of seeking a job or hanging a shingle on my own. I chose the latter because it afforded me more freedom, independence and a far greater financial potential. At the time, the legal market was also very difficult, and I was not impressed with the offers I was receiving.
2. What is the best part of being a solo practitioner?
By far, independence. I answer to nobody but my clients, and all decisions are mine to make. In addition, as a solo practitioner I have developed wonderful relationships with my clients, and they like that I personally handle each and every case.
3. What is the worst part of being a solo practitioner?
The administrative hassles.
4. What advice would you give to others looking to become a solo practitioner?
Be confident in yourself, establish relationships with other attorneys, join the bar associations, network, be very attentive to your clients' needs, consider alternative billing arrangements, invest in a good website, take vacations.
5. What is a typical day like for you as a solo practitioner?
My days vary. Though I have become somewhat of a general practitioner, I am primarily a commercial litigator. Some days I am in court or at depositions, other days I am drafting pleadings, motions or corporate documents. I am constantly on the phone with clients, courts and adversary attorneys. I also strive to network and develop new business. My days are extremely busy.