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Gordon Firemark

More starting-out solos need to read this, Chuck! Shout it from the rooftops!

Jay Moffitt

Wow. And I thought I was the only one having a humiliating year. That's such a better expression than humbling; asking people for business, asking other lawyers for referrals, asking people to let you link to their blog, post on your blog, acknowledge your Website (and your existence)... you're right, it never gets easy. I think it's true that the act of renting, getting furniture, setting up an office can distract from the next-to-impossible issue of finding clients, especially paying clients. I loved this post - even though I probably should hate it.

Kevin S. Brady

Excellent story from someone who has been down that long road. Thank you for sharing, Chuck!

I am also starting my own practice - at least part time for now, as I still have a day job as a contractor atty. It will be a shoe-string operation from home. I have no clients yet.

I'm finding many ways to keep costs down. I don't rent office space, I use Google Voice to route calls to my home and cell. A $500 Dell laptop and an Internet connection gets me where I need to go online. Google Calendar for scheduling, $26 for 1000 business cards from Office Max, $160 to register my LLC, Google Scholar for much of my research, and lots of free/open-source software such as OpenOffice. My website is not flashy, but I designed it myself for free, it's optimized and it gets traffic.

The biggest expense for me will be malpractice insurance. Shop around, as the premiums vary widely from one carrier to the next. Many carriers have online questionnaires you can fill out and get you a quote by return email in a few days.


Jonathan Griffith

Great post Chuck. I feel like this post is directed to me ...in fact it's probably inspired in part by the vast barrage of e-mail I've been drowning you in;)

I think you've helped me avoid many of the blunders you mentioned in this article.

To date I have no business or revenue, but I haven't spent almost anything (on business.) I suppose it could be much worse.

I really appreciate this quote from your post in particular:

"First, an understanding that debt comes in many forms. It does not have to be a loan. It can be leases, gas for commutes, and any expense which is required."

I'm in a unique position in that I've managed to totally avoid student loans while becoming an attorney in California. I have no other debt either. I've made a concerted effort at keeping living expenses as low as possible (but they're still not low enough) and am living in a total dump right now as a result.

Unfortunately I may be driven to borrow moderately this month since my new practice has yet to produce its first cent of free cash flow. Even though expense are low we still must eat and have shelter.

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    The opinions expressed in this weblog represent only the opinions of the author(s) and are in no way intended as legal advice upon which you should rely. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
    Charles (Chuck) Newton is licensed to practice law in all courts in the State of Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and all United States District Court and Bankruptcy Courts in the State of Texas.
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