How difficult is it to start a solo firm? I’m a first year attorney working in insurance defense in Florida. I love my firm and the mentoring I’m receiving and I’m definitely not looking to move anytime soon, but I would love to start my own firm once I feel competent. Maybe in a few years. Any advice for planning? Thanks!

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I opened mine with about $10k in savings. There are a lot of bells and whistles you don't need starting out. For instance, Westlaw and Lexis are great but casetext is 1/5 the price and fast case comes with most malpractice insurance.

You don't need some big office right away, you just need a place to meet so using a service that rents conference rooms is way cheaper.

Networking really helps as others will kick you business they don't want or need. When I started my criminal defense firm, clients would call the established guys and they could say afford 5k for a DUI, but I'd do it for 3k so they would get referred to me. I took traffic tickets, restraining orders, anything that came through the door. It just is like that the first year.

Understand you are running a business. You need to account for taxes. I take 27% of each fee and put it into a savings account to pay the state and IRS each quarter. Ive seen others fall behind in this area and then struggle to pay a 15k tax bill .

Learn to live small the first two years. I paid myself only a $3500 a month salary starting out. You never know when you'll have a lot of income. Some months I brought in 10k others I brought in 2k. You need to budget for this.

Lastly, you just have to go for it. There are a ton of people that will say don't, it's to uncertain, you won't last. Screw all that. It was the best decision I ever made. You reap the rewards. If I want to work 20 or 40 hours a week I decide. If I want to go on vacation, I decide. It's given me the freedom to take pro Bono cases when I want. You'll always be scared of the unknown but you'll love it. And whether you make it or not, you'll at least know you tried. That was my biggest thing. I was going from firm to firm always wondering if I could make it but I was scared until I took the leap.

Best of luck feel free to ask more

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Thanks a lot for sharing!! That’s super informative. I will try to follow your advice and let you know about my experience.

Not difficult from a technical standpoint. More difficult mentally and emotionally. Also depends where you come from in life though. Like if you got it like that it makes it a lot easier. First year hardest thing to do is build those contacts and referrals up.

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In theory you can do it with a laptop and a cell phone. I don’t recommend going that lean — among other things, you probably want some kind of office space that’s not in or attached to your home — but sometimes you just have to start with what you have.

F1 has some good advice above, and I agree $10K is a decent budget.

Marketing is key. If you’ll stick with insurance defense as your practice area, then you want to cultivate good relationships with the insurance companies that might send you work and find out what it takes to get cases from them.

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Where in FL are you? My first few years out of law school, I worked in the panhandle. I would suggest if you do decide to hang your own shingle, do research and move to a more rural part of FL with few attorneys around. Bigger places just have the known attorneys everyone will go to.

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I opened with clients from a big law firm and it was a smooth transition. However I also had ran several law practices before.

Clients are capital.

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