This has been an exciting week! I have at least one client for sure, two that are almost for sure, and one I’m still waiting to hear back from. I’m definitely feeling like a real lawyer, giving legal advice and the whole 9 yards!
For anyone who is really thinking about opening a solo practice, the way I’ve gotten almost all my first clients is referrals from lawyers who know me and really want to see me succeed. So having existing relationships with people who have some business to refer to you is absolutely essential. These types of referrals are not enough to sustain a business on, however, and there are other things I’m doing to try and grow my client base. But getting people to know, like, and trust you – and remember your name and what you do when they need legal help – takes time and patience. So while I’m waiting for my efforts to get my name out to the masses to bear fruit, it is essential to have established connections to lawyers willing to give me contract work and referrals.
I’m also doing low flat fees for people who otherwise would not be able to pursue their claim, or would have represented themselves and would really prefer not to. This is great because they can pay much less than they would for most other lawyers, a more experienced lawyer would be hard pressed to take their case since it would not be economically advantageous for them, and I get the legal experience I need as well as some incoming cash to sustain the business. It’s all around a winning situation.
So hopefully things keep building up. At this point I’m hopeful, and less nervous than I was about succeeding. I think it will take more time than I originally anticipated to have the income I want, although if I keep going at my current pace of bringing in 2-3 clients a month (and get some clients that are paying a full rate) I should be right at my income goal. So here’s hoping this keeps up!