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The #1 Thing You Have to Take With You When Leaving a Firm

You’ve been having an inner debate about leaving the firm to go solo.

For a while you’ve wondered whether or not running your own practice makes sense. You like the idea of having your own practice. You like the freedom of doing things your way, without the house taking a cut of everything you’ve built.

On the other hand, being part of a firm is comfortable. You don’t have to worry about so many little details.

Suppose you overcome your fear and you’re ready to hang your shingle.

If you leave your firm tomorrow, what’s the most important thing you have to take with you?

Is it the book?

Most attorneys think the number one thing they have to take with them is a huge book of business. You need that foundation of revenue to build on.

That’s important, but it’s not the most important thing. Because if you walk out the door with no business whatsoever, and you have this other thing, in the long run your book today is background noise. I've lost count of how many successful solo/founder attorneys I've met who started with zero book of business.

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Is it the people?

Maybe if you bring an associate, your support staff, or another attorney to be your partner, they could help you become successful. You’ll have more people to share the responsibility.

Or, those people could also bring a new set of headaches. More mouths to feed. More dissention if their vision for the firm doesn’t match yours. It might be great, or just the opposite.

The number one thing to take with you is complete, obstinate confidence.

You need to have the faith and firm belief that you can actually do this.

The biggest reason lawyer fail when starting their own practice is that they stop believing it’s possible to succeed.

They start down the right road with the right attitude. They may have success out of the gates with previous clients.

Then the inevitable bump in the road comes. Three pitches, zero clients. You’re batting zero and doubt creeps in. You start to believe it’s impossible. You start to wonder if you made the wrong choice. Wondering if it's an admission of defeat to go back. Dreading what your family, your friends, your community will think if you tuck tail and go back to work for a firm.

Let me tell you, from personal experience, that you can - and will - succeed with your own practice even if the road seems rocky today.

When you hang your shingle - and for that matter for your entire career thereafter - the most valuable thing you can pack up and take with you is your confidence.

Confidence that you can get clients, because all it takes is having a system, and implementing it.

Confidence that you can handle the work, because you always have until now.

Confidence that you can ultimately succeed, because others have. In every market, in every practice area, in every economy.

Complete, obstinate confidence in your ability will make you believe it’s possible.

Because it is.

 

Raj Jha