Former solo attorney and LFS’ NYC Sales & Operations Manager, Phil Andre, shares how he ended up going solo, and how he transitioned from law back into business.
Prior to joining Law Firm Suites, NYC Sales & Operations Manager Philippe “Phil” Andre practiced law for almost five years. Initially, he worked for a small firm that focused primarily on commercial litigation, and later in his own solo law practice doing commercial litigation, employment law and some transactional work.
Here, we detail Phil’s story about why he chose to go solo, and then transitioned out of law into business.
Phil’s time as a solo attorney.
Phil worked as a solo attorney for three years. According to Andre, “I liked the small firm where I was working, and the partner for whom I was working. But he had older kids who were finishing up college and he seemed to be more focused on his quality of life than building a firm. I didn’t see any growth potential there and decided to start my own practice instead of seeking a different job. I saw it as an investment in myself.”
Phil’s experience with a virtual office.
Phil used a Midtown virtual office rental as his solo law practice’s first place of business. “I knew virtual offices were commonly used by other industries, but at the time I didn’t know very many lawyers who were using virtual office services for their primary office.”
For Phil, a virtual office felt like a good solution for a young solo on a tight budget.
“I didn’t start out with a big book of business, so budget was an issue for me,” says Andre. “I was very young, didn’t have the deepest professional network, and I was nervous about finding new clients. It was inappropriate for me to meet clients in my apartment, but I needed to keep my overhead as low as possible. A virtual office solved that problem.”
Phil rented his Manhattan virtual office from a national multi-professional executive suite operator. According to Phil, there were no networking, referral, or community benefits that came with his virtual office.
When Phil first learned about Law Firm Suites, it really clicked for him.
“When I learned that LFS has this huge network of other solos who are all in the same boat and are eager to assist each other and refer cases, I was amazed. That’s an incredibly valuable resource for a new solo, especially considering you can get access to it for less than the cost of a mediocre dinner out. I know I would have built my practice much faster with that kind of support.”
Phil’s biggest challenges as a solo.
According to Phil, his challenges were similar to that of every other new solo. “My biggest concern was ‘where am I going to get business from?’ followed closely by some insecurities about the fact that I was only two years out of law school,” says Phil. Similar to other young solos, getting clients to trust his abilities wasn’t easy for him.
But Phil had several years of business experience prior to attending law school. “I was a good networker and I actually enjoy it. Some persistence in that area helped me work my way through these issues. Plus, I liked being my own boss and doing things on my own terms, which kept me going through those first several lean months.”
How Phil transitioned from solo practice back to the business world.
While practicing as a solo, Phil got the opportunity to work for a high-growth start-up. “The company was growing fast and I took a gamble that it would really take off. At first, I was brought in as in-house counsel but, as the company grew, I became more involved on the business side of the company.” As it often happens, the company ran out of funding before it reached its full potential.
“I’m excited about this opportunity at Law firm Suites because it gives me the opportunity to use my business skills within the context of legal community, and doing what I liked best in my solo practice: networking with other lawyers.”
Phil Andre is the Sales & Operations Manager for Law Firm Suites’ NYC shared law office suites. In addition to introducing new clients to Law Firm Suites’ shared law office space concept, Phil is primarily responsible for coordinating and facilitating Law Firm Suites’ very unique peer-based Community, which includes referral and co-counsel matching, coordinating strategic referral partner introductions and hosting regular Community events. You can email Phil at [email protected].