Dave Johnson: Yeah, it’s a great question. I look at people coming out of law school, and I pay attention to law students, what they’re doing, and where they want to go. And on LinkedIn I see lawyers guiding law students, to go out and start their own firm. I cringe when I see that because yeah, it’s nice to start your own business. I did. I started coming out of law school, I went through it. And I screwed it up left and right and it’s terrible.
While I appreciate people wanting to start their own business and be their own boss, it is just a minefield out there of mistakes and tragic outcomes that can happen. Plus, it’s a very demanding challenge to start your own firm. You can’t take a vacation. You can’t walk away from it at five o’clock at night. You have to advertise, sell, perform your legal duties, chase down invoices, do financial reporting, and file taxes – it’s a multi-person, full-time job to work as a sole proprietor, and all of this in one of the most competitive industries. You don’t have the benefits, you don’t have the free time, you don’t have the support staff, and you just don’t have the resources to adequately serve your client or to have a life.
My advice to new lawyers is to spend some time with a reputable modern law firm, like Modern Family Law. Spend three, four, or five years learning and honing your skills, and then decide if it is worth it. Should I do it? Can I do it? Is that what I want to do? As far as going off and starting your own practice.
Most people figure out quickly starting a law firm is not a great future versus coming over to, a firm like us where you do have a future. You can become a partner, you can become an equity partner, you can learn and work on other projects. If you’re interested in marketing and you find that interesting, you can be a lawyer and do marketing and maybe eventually one day just do legal marketing, if that’s what you want. With our firm, you have the freedom of choice.
When you start at a bigger firm with more roles, you can chart which course interests you most. I loved being in court. I loved cross-examining witnesses. I loved getting a case ready to go, but I loved the creative side of running a business and seeing the success of running a business, but I had to figure out what that business would be, and how I would want to run it, first.