Carolyn Elefant is a lawyer in Washington D.C. with an energy regulatory practice and also a national author and speaker on solo and small firm law practice. In December 2002, Carolyn launched the blog, MyShingle.com - the longest running and most comprehensive blog on solo and small firm practice. Carolyn is also author of Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be and co-author, with Nicole Black of Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier. Carolyn has advised hundreds of law school graduates and practicing lawyers on starting and growing a successful law practice. Above all, Carolyn is on a mission to ensure that in these changing times, solo and small firm practice remains a sustainable and viable career path for lawyers.
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This class presents an overview of the opportunities presented by starting a 21st Century Law practice as well as a detailed nuts and bolts guide on how to get started. The class is comprised of 6 modules ranging from 15-35 minutes each, which cover (1) the socio-economic context for starting a firm and changes in the legal profession; (2) the 6 characteristics of a 21st Century practice; (3) FAQs on where to locate, how to find clients and whether to generalize or specialize; (4) Rules and Tools for getting started (including elements of a successful website and free tools) and (5) Setting and Getting Fees. This class is directed at existing law students, new grads, displaced lawyers and others considering starting a firm but who have been deterred by law school and peers. It is also intended for free use by law schools who want to present the concept of starting a practice to students.
Overview of context for starting a firm
This is four page checklist for starting a law firm. One of the matters on the checklist which I didn't address in any of the other modules is choosing a corporate structure for your firm. Most lawyers starting out often begin as a sole proprietorship and incorporate when they rent office space or begin using outside support staff. In contrast to ordinary businesses, a lawyer's most significant source of liability are malpractice claims and a corporate structure will not insulate lawyers from malpractice. Nevertheless, some lawyers do opt for creating a corporate entity - either an LLC (or a professional limited liability company or professional corporation - it's jurisdiction dependent) - and this blog post from Apex Legal (see here - http://www.apexlg.com/?p=468) offers a good discussion of options.
This is a 35 minute presentation on making cold calls to prospective referral sources and clients. It's not easy but the results are usually very worthwhile.
I am not a lawyer. I have no plans of becoming a lawyer. I decided to take this course because I thought it would give many insights into what solo lawyers need and want. I market web development and online advertising services to solo lawyers. I am certified by Google in Adwords. Sure enough, I was right. This is an excellent course! I will definitely recommend it to my friends and clients who are lawyers. We often discuss fees. Carolyn has many answers to questions we discuss. Besides, I got a brand new business idea while I was taking the course.
Carolyn - Thank you for taking the time to put together this very valuable training. In about 3 hours, I obtained valuable advice that I would have willingly paid for. I look forward to any other training or materials that you may decide to provide in the future. And it was helpful to get your assurance that many others have built successful practices and that I can as well.
This course gives some very practical advice and tips that have given me some direction. Wonderful resource, worth the time to watch. Thanks for making this free!
This series give a good introduction to some of the basics of starting a firm. That Ms. Elefant provided it for free made it all the better. Thank you, Ms. Elefant.
a lot of valuable information from an experienced lawyer made for young lawyers and completely free, wow