The most overlooked reason to have your own practice

I just started Physical Therapy and my therapist was commenting on how nice it is that I can wear jeans to work.  I said that unless I am in court or with a client that day, I opt for jeans to be comfortable; it is one of the perks of working for yourself.

A few appointments later I asked her if we could start meeting once a week instead of twice a week because of the cost.  She looked at my file and noted that my co-pay was $40.00 per visit.  Yep, I said, one of the cons of being self-employed.  She made the connection.

I try to remind myself regularly why I chose to be in business for myself.  For the newly licensed attorney, there seem to be as many pros to working at a firm as there are to starting your own practice.  If the new attorney goes straight to solo practice, like I did, it is easy to overlook one of the most positive reasons to have your own practice.  

I get to try the case.  I get to be in the courthouse.  I get to know the judges.  I get to practice law the traditional way an American lawyer has practiced for more than one hundred years.  Nothing beats the experience of being in the courtroom because someone hired you to be there to protect their interests.

A few reasons I started my own practice is for flexibility when I needed it, the ability to make money on my own terms, to be accountable to myself and my client, and to try new ideas for operating a law firm.

Once I got started I often lost sight of the big picture.  I got overwhelmed by how long it took to draft a basic legal document, how long it takes to file a case in court, how hard it was to always track my time.  Not to mention the frightening aspect of malpractice, peaks and valleys in revenue and unpaid invoices.

I don't get to be in court everyday, but the option is there if I want it.  If an attorney gets a natural high from being in court and being part of litigation, it is theirs for the taking.  

Hope WoodComment