Virtual office NYC lawyer, Vivian Sobers, knows it’s a gamble when a new case comes her way.
I was walking down Broadway near City Hall the other day and had a moment of nostalgia.
I reminisced about the days of interning with a councilman’s office during law school. It made me think about my past self and how I was so confident back then.
I walked with my spine straight and proud because I knew for a fact I was on my way to doing what I loved: being a lawyer.
I walked like I had already conquered the world.
Looking back at my former self, I cannot help but to laugh at her because I knew absolutely nothing about being a lawyer or the practice of law.
Thinking like a lawyer vs. being a lawyer.
When I look back, I realized (not for the first time) that you are not taught how to be a lawyer in law school.
Law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer, not be one. Especially as a solo practitioner there are considerations that I didn’t even think about back then.
All cases are not created equal.
Just because it’s interesting on an academic basis (because you’re a law geek) doesn’t mean it will help your business grow.
I recently settled a case that I took on contingency. It looked like it had potential and I accomplished a ton of work between paper and appearances.
When everything was said and done, I ended up losing money on the case!
What do I mean by that? Another thing they don’t teach you in law school.
Every case you take has to be thought about in the context of time. How much time will you have to spend on this case to get it to its rightful conclusion?
If you cannot charge your client, you lose money because that is time you could be spending on another file or on marketing or accounting or any other of the million things you have to do as a solo practitioner.
Learning the hard way about taking a gamble.
I took this case because it had potential. Ultimately, after several court rulings it was the best to settle it even though it wasn’t nearly the outcome I thought it would be.
In litigation there is no guarantee about the outcome of a case. You can just make your best guess and go with it. There is always risk, especially where your fee is contingent on a successful outcome.
The decision of whether to take on a case can sometimes feel a lot like betting in Las Vegas. My sense is that the odds get better as you become exposed to more and more cases.
As I look back at my former self and laugh at her blissful ignorance, I also realize that I will some day look back at my current self and probably laugh for the same reason.
In solo practice we are in the business of selling legal services. But we must also be in the personal growth business to stay successful.
Starting a solo practice means taking a gamble on your future.
Increase your odds for success.
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Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.