I hear lawyers every day complaining about the inability to find law jobs, or to find a law job they imagined for themselves, or to find a law job that pays enough money given their student loans and the costs of living. So, they flounder. By this I mean they make no money, or they work themselves to death and make little money, or practice in areas of the law that does not excite them. And, then we get to hear about all of the dissatisfaction of young lawyers in the practice of law, in their law school education, in the economy, etc.
From one perspective anyway, it is all a bunch of hogwash. Look, some people are just not going to be pleased. But, bad economy or not, many practice areas, such as bankruptcy, collections, and child support, increase in slow times. For those areas that follow the economy down, such as real estate, what better time to prepare for the coming upturn. After all, established attorneys have a lot to lose, but for a new attorney every case is an increase in business and an improvement.
Law schools are to blame in one part. They do not prepare lawyers for this prospect. This is because doing so would affect their rankings.
There is just no evidence to support that law graduates today are less interested in having their own practice, or that the urge to venture out on one's own increases with practice experience.
There is some evidence that shows that lack of money for starting a practice is a major deterrent. It should not be. Sure it is nice to have something coming in every couple of weeks whether the lawyer performs or not. But, if a young lawyer is not earning enough now, or cannot find a job, or hates what has to be done to maintain a small amount of cashflow, then how does this argument really relate?
The truth of the matter is that it can cost almost nothing to start a new practice, apart from what a lawyer likely already has at his or her disposal. Sure, there are a lot of people out there that want to sell things that make it more expensive, but it need not be so. Additional space, staff, consultants, accountants, research tools and the like are not really needed starting out. All a lawyer really needs are clients and cases. That really does not take a lot of money as it takes a degree of tenacity and a willingness not to shy away from success.
As for the lack of experience argument, that is more daunting. Just understand that business knowledge and practice knowledge are not learned in law school. They are learned by doing. Another way of saying it is that the only way a lawyer is going to learn is to just dive into the practice and practice area and start doing. I understand that thought is not overly enjoyable, but my point is that it is not any more enjoyable working for someone else. All most law firms do anyway is to throw a young attorney into the pool and command them to swim. It is not as if they first put them through some private course of study on swimming. Sure, there are more experienced hands around should a new attorney need them, but those hands are available whether or not the attorney is with an existing firm. In fact, a lawyer probably has more access to such knowledge and experience if not associated with one firm, and if the lawyer is just willing to ask.