This posting is unusual because it involves law office management rather then plaintiff’s trial work. The reason is that oneof the lawyers who went through the Spence Trial College e-mailed me that he was taking the challenging step of opening his own law office and suggested I offer some information about it.
I am hardly qualified since it has been over forty years ago that I borrowed money from a small town bank in the town where I was practicing to buy an old house, remodel it into an office and start my own law practice as a solo lawyer. I had been turned down for a loan by the local branches of the national banks, but Jim Bishop, God rest his soul, was the president of thesmall local bank in town. He listened to my story and agreed to loan me the money in spite of my lack of assets.I have kept that bank as my primary bank ever since and have processed millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements through that bank out of appreciation and loyalty.I remained a solo lawyer doing exclusively plaintiff’s litigation for many years, but with a large number of paralegals until I began to add lawyers. Even today our firm is small with only six partners and three associate lawyers. The strange thing is that early in my practice I published articles and books as well as participated in seminars on small law firm law office management for many years.In fact, I was selected as a fellow in the national College of Law Practice Management. So, with that backgroundI thought I’d share some brief sources of information about opening your own law office.
I highly recommend my friend Jay Foonberg’s writings. Jay and I participated in law office management seminars around the country. He is an expert on the subject of small law offices and office management. The book I’d recommend is Jay’s How to start and Build a Law Practice, 5th Edition. See http://www.foonberglaw.com/prod/htsab.html.
Here are some other resources that I don’t have personal knowledge about, but which are available on the internet. These include a publication of the Michigan Bar: How to kit: Open a Law Office See: http://www.icle.org/NewLawyers/content/2001TK3803_files/
There are some published checklists for setting up a law office available for downloading from the internet. See Checklist for Setting up a New Law Office at http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:oaHFG_l306sJ:www.alabar.org/pmap/articles/office_checklist.pdf+checklist+opening+law+office&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us
Another checklist for opening a law office can be found at http://www.tba.org/tnbarms/tba_settinguppractice/checklist.html
Jeffrey Allen has published Checklist: Setting up A Law Office that is helpful from my brief review at http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/magazine/1996/fall/f96allen.html
The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association has a publication available How to Open a Small Law Firm at Published by the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Associationhttp://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:1zLLUK3PXD4J:younglawyersdivision.ncbar.org/LegalResources/Publications/Downloads_GetFile.aspx?id=3676+opening+law+office&hl=en&ct=clnk%am987�=8&gl=us
For those of you who are thinking of opening your on office I offer my best wishes. I do remember laying awake at night wondering if I could afford the overhead and worrying about settlements or case outcomes because I needed the money. I also remember worrying about new clients and keeping the doors open. But, I never once regretted my decision to run my own office. Good luck to you all.