I'm about a year in practice in PI work and may be leaving my job soon. I'm torn between looking for a new firm job or striking out on my own. Thinking I could take court appointed cases to keep the lights on while I build a criminal/PI practice.

What resources should I be consulting to plan what it would look like to start my own firm?

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Jay Foonberg’s classic book, ‘How to Start & Build a Law Practice,’ is worth a read, even if some of it may be outdated. Plenty of good stuff in there.

As for taking court-appointed cases, you’ll want to do some due diligence first to make sure that’s a viable option in your area. For example, in the county where I’m located, there’s a public defender agency staffed by government-employed attorneys who represent most indigent criminal defendants. Lawyers in private practice only get appointed when the public defender agency is conflicted out, and getting on the list for conflict cases is easier said than done.

Yet if you go one county west, out in the suburbs, it’s quite easy for an attorney to get appointed cases. You pretty much just express interest and volunteer. I know an attorney who started a successful practice by doing exactly that.

Thanks for the recommendation!

My home county has a pretty active PDs office, but surrounding county's don't.

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