Starting a solo practice is hard. It takes persistence, attention to detail, and a realistic, implementable business plan in order to succeed as a solo lawyer. Of these challenges, the most prominent are the basic issues of business administration, office space, and legal marketing.
Besides the work you are doing in the court room, when you run your own solo practice there is always more work to be done in the office. Between answering emails, scheduling consultations, processing billing, and document preparation a solo attorney may find themselves overwhelmed by paper work.
The Thomas Reuter’s Solo and Small Law Firms Group recently completed a study asking attorneys about the most challenging aspects of their profession, and not surprisingly, time spent on nonbillable, administrative tasks was at the top of the list. Survey results concluded that 31% of all solo and small law firm time is spent handling administrative tasks. These results should be a wakeup call to solo practice attorneys. The 31% is even more shocking when you break down its impact on a firm’s profitability and bottom line. Take the breakdown below, for example:
- 40 hour work week * 31% of admin time = 12 hours of unbilled work
- 12 hours of unbilled work * $150 hourly rate = $1,800 lost weekly
- $1,800 unbilled hours per week * 48 weeks per year = $86,400 lost yearly
Obviously, no firm can carry the high costs of inefficient administrative methods without seriously diminishing potential profits. As a solo attorney finding a better way will be essential to your success.
Another challenge comes in the form of finding a place to meet your clients. It’s no secret that a more professional image leads to higher hourly rates. Attorneys who meet clients at a coffee shop will just simply never make as much as those who meet on the 8th floor in an executive office suite. Unfortunately, solo practicing lawyers often cannot afford prime real estate. Meeting at home is no better. Lawyers who go the home office route soon find they sacrifice their privacy and comfort at the expense of their practice.
One of the most difficult things for young, solo practice attorneys just starting out is finding clients. Marketing is challenging for all businesses and there is no lack of competition in the legal field. New attorneys need a networking group to support them and spread their name. They need high quality printing and copying equipment to print flyers and direct mailers. They also need a professional address and local phone number to promote online and on business cards. If your address is a P.O. box and your phone number area code is from Maine, no one will ever find your firm when they search for a Baltimore attorney.
So What’s the Solution??
Luckily, there is a solution for solo practice law firms and attorneys. At Officense we have been helping attorneys for over 10 years. Our team of executive assistants can scan packets of discovery materials in mere minutes, and make your scheduling and client follow up a breeze. Stop meeting your clients at restaurants and use our beautifully furnished offices and conference rooms which can be rented hourly, daily, and yearly. Attorneys can leverage our network of business connections and take advantage of Officense community events to propel their firm from an unknown to being talked about by business owners throughout all of Baltimore. The resources and amenities provided by Officense are what every solo practice and small firm needs to beat the competition and reach their potential success. Call us today at 410-814-7500 and learn how we can make your life easier and help your practice grow!