5 Signs It’s Time to Start Your Own Law Firm

Why you should start your own law firm

As an Associate counsel for a prominent personal injury firm, I started to realize it was important to move on to start my own law firm. It seemed to me that there were five obvious signs that told me that it is time to move on.

1. You Have the Financial Infrastructure in Place

The first and probably most important consideration on when to start your own law firm is monetary backing. If you don’t have a healthy line of credit and resources to pay for overhead and disbursements, it’s nearly impossible to run a successful law firm. It’s no different than saving for a down payment on a home. You need to have a down payment in order to move on without having severe financial pressures.

2. You are Getting Your Own Case Files, Regularly

Another important factor is the ability to draw in sufficient clients to maintain a healthy bottom line. If you are still being fed files from your old firm on a regular basis in order to maintain billings, you are not ready to move on to start your own law firm. As a rule of thumb, if you are not drawing in at least 50% more files than you need personally to run a busy practice, you are probably not at the level where you can move on and start your own law firm.

Assuming you have sufficient monetary resources to run a law firm and you can get enough files, there are a few other signs that it is time to start your own law firm.

3. You Feel the Senior Partners Resenting Your Success

If over time you are finding that the senior partners at the existing law firm become increasingly jealous of your successes and want to minimize your ability to succeed, it’s time to move on. This is a common occurrence amongst law firms. Lawyers are inherently competitive people and it is difficult for some lawyers to enjoy the successes of others without feeling some level of resentment.

4. You’ve Built a Strong Internal Team at Your Current Firm

Another sign that it’s time to start your own law firm is the fact that you are developing allegiance with junior lawyers and staff members. If you have become a leader then starting your own law firm allows you to lead.

5. You’ve Always Wanted to Manage Your Own Firm

The last sign that it’s time to start your own law firm is your ambition level. If you truly want to excel in the legal community, often it’s necessary to have your name on the letterhead. The law industry can be quite stuffy and if you stay behind as an associate at a law firm you won’t get the same accolades as if you have your name as part of the partnership at your firm.

Starting your own law firm is not an easy venture as it involves a lot more administrative work and financial investment. It’s only for the highly motivated lawyer who has a flare for business. If you’re seeing, even just a couple of these signs, it may be time for you start your own firm.

Written by Wes Mussio of Mussio Goodman Law Group