Have you always dreamed of starting your own law practice? Maybe working for someone else just doesn’t suit you. At the same time, there are those who could never see themselves being a boss. So, it’s all a matter of your personal preference and inclination.
If you are weighing this decision at the moment, here are some signs that indicate that you are, in fact, ready.
You Are a Leader
Most people start a law practice because they want to be their own boss. However, they usually don’t understand what that means until they start. While setting your own hours and having more freedom and flexibility certainly is fun, it takes determination and discipline to get a business running properly.
First-time business owners can fall into a lazy spiral because they may be used to having someone tell them what to do and when to do it. Realizing that you can sleep in and work when you feel like it certainly doesn’t help either.
But a real leader cultivates discipline. A real leader understands that having your own law practice means working harder than ever.
You will see these signs in small things: when you feel like you could do something better than your boss, or when you have ideas that would improve your current law practice, or even when you notice mistakes in the way your employer does business and you have actionable solutions. These are traits of a strong leader.
You Are Tired of Office Politics
One of the many reasons people consider leaving their current job and starting their own law practice is the culture and office politics that surround them. Some people simply work better alone, others need to be with a group that motivates them and challenges them in positive ways.
Perhaps there may be some toxic competition in your office or maybe your boss is too aggressive and dominating. This can all add stress to your already stress-filled life. Obviously, having your own business is no walk in the park, but working in a great environment—either with other people or by yourself—takes away much of that stress and leaves you to focus on your work.
Many big firms have office politics that create a bad atmosphere, like having uncertainty with the referral process, becoming a partner, inequity and so on. Your own law practice means creating your own culture of fairness and accountability.
If you notice that there are things your office could change to get better results and retain more employees, you may be more sensitive to office problems than your bosses. Not a great sign that upper management cares about the culture of the business.
You Want to Make a Difference
There are those who choose to take a riskier path and start their business with no cares about money, what others think, or how things are going to look down the line. They are simply passionate about the law and they want to make a difference in the world.
This is a strong inclination to leave your current job and start your own practice—in fact, this is one of the best reasons to do so because passion often means success in the end. You might have your own creative ideas on how to handle clients or work on cases but your current superiors don’t give you the chance to be heard in those procedures.
Maybe you want to work in a very specific area of law but you don’t have that opportunity in your company because it doesn’t bring in a lot of money. You might want to help people no one wants to help. There may be no better reason to start your own practice.
You Want a Challenge
If your current law practice isn’t giving you enough of a challenge, you could start to feel bored and fall into a monotonous routine you can’t get out of. While you don’t want to be overwhelmed in any work environment, it’s important to feel challenged and engaged in the work you do to sustain a sense of purpose.
Starting your own practice gives you just that. You will feel a newfound sense of meaning and responsibility. Still, there will be moments when you will need to push yourself to the limit and moments where you will be unsure and fearful of the decisions that you have to make.
But if you can embrace that fear, you will find yourself stronger than you were before and able to make better and wiser decisions to ensure that you will have plenty of work for years to come.
You Are Sure You Can Have Work
Sometimes, it can all come down to the practical. If you dislike your current law practice—as well as your boss, office politics, and the types of cases you get—and you know you can have work once you quit, starting your own law practice just makes sense.
How can you know this?
Well, for one, you might have several clients already who like working with you and who would leave with you.
Another case could be that you have a family with plenty of wealthy contacts. Maybe one of your family members has a successful company and they would hire you as their attorney. Friends and family can easily send you work.
You could also be the only attorney in your town or area. This could mean people would trust you, their own neighbor and friend, much more than they would trust someone in a big law firm.
Starting your own law practice certainly isn’t easy; it will take a lot of work and it will be a learning experience. But if that’s where you see yourself and if that is what you feel you are meant to do, it’s absolutely possible. Embrace the challenge that it is, and let your passion and reason lead you.