Statistics from the BLS show that lawyers make a median pay of $126,000 annually, making it a relatively lucrative career. The salary can vary from one state to another based on the lawyer’s experience and the legal firm they work for.
Lawyers who hope to make more than they can get from their employers or wish for more autonomy have the option of going solo. However, succeeding as a solo practitioner takes skill.
Required Skills For Solo Practitioners
If you feel like going solo is what you need at this point in your career, the skills listed below are a must-have to succeed.
The first step in a law career is getting four years of undergraduate bachelor’s degree program. After the bachelor’s degree program, you will have to take another three years at an ABA-accredited law school, after which you take and pass the bar examination. After passing the bar exam, you qualify for admission into the bar.
After admission, it is always important to join an established law firm to learn the ropes of law in a real-life setting. After all, some skills cannot be learned in class, so you may want to treat your first few years of legal practice as part of your training.
When working under a successful law firm, you will learn something about what makes them successful, which you could apply in your firm after going solo.
When working for a law firm, you only worry about your assigned task. Every other thing you leave to the firm’s leadership. But it is different for solo practitioners, as everyone else in your office if you have employees, will look up to you for leadership.
Leadership includes formulating the vision for your firm, providing an enabling environment for your employees to achieve those goals, offering guidance, and leading from the front. To some people, leadership skills tend to flow freely; others learn not so much. But either way, you will need formal leadership training.
Also, your solo career is your business, so you may also want to get some training in business management which can go a long way to help you make sound business decisions.
Getting into solo practice means you will be going against law firms that have been in existence for decades. All factors considered, it is fair to say the odds will be against you. But there is a way around it.
Most established companies may not see the need to go hard on marketing. After all, they are guaranteed a steady flow of clients through relationships built over the years. You can tilt the odds by ensuring you get your marketing right.
There are many forms of marketing, including billboards, TV and radio ads, newspaper ads, etc., but these options may not be for you. The best idea would be to sharpen your online/digital marketing skills.
If you are looking to hone your marketing skills, this Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing: Ultimate Guide can give insight into all you need to know about digital marketing for your solo legal practice.
The legal practice involves working closely with people making communication skills a must-have if you are keen on succeeding in your legal practice. Almost all lawyers offer free first consultations, and so should you.
Most clients use these consultations to gauge a lawyer’s suitability for their case. If you fail to impress them with communication and listening skills, there is a high chance they won’t hire you for their case.
Some people are naturally good communicators, while others struggle quite a bit. Fortunately, it is easy to learn communication skills. You only need to enroll in a communication course and put what you learn into practice. With time, good communication will flow as you get used to it.