“Hurry,” I told my secretary when I got back from lunch. “We have to get the table and all the chairs out of the conference room. It’s got to be empty by this afternoon.”
Why? She wanted to know.
During lunch, my colleague, Mr. Jones* had casually mentioned that he was thinking about starting his own firm, but that he wasn’t sure yet. He wanted to know what I thought. He also said he had a meeting with his boss later on that afternoon when he might bring up the topic.
“Well,” I said in response to his question. “I have a conference room you can use for office space. I could get it ready this afternoon, if you like.”
He looked puzzled. He thanked me for my offer and said, “I’ll let you know.”
But, at 4PM, the phone rang and it was Mr. Jones. “Is your offer about the conference room still good?”
“Come on over,” I said. “It’s already empty.” Box in hand, Mr. Jones moved into my conference room at around 4:30 PM.
And, that’s how many attorneys start their law firms.
But, if you don’t want to be Mr. Jones…
Here are the 6 things you need to do before you start your law firm:
Download your old firm’s motions bank
Download everything, and I mean everything. Download all the forms, letters, pleadings, etc. Make sure you download the ENTIRE motions bank, if you can.
Develop your own relationships with all the senior attorney’s clients
Make sure you contact and talk to each and every client, as many as you can, and as often as you can, even if the managing attorney yells at you to “stop calling the clients!” (Your managing attorney knows his clients are always on the lookout for a better and cheaper lawyer. Let this be YOU.)
Let the clients know your new firm’s information and CHEAPER rates
No, this is NOT a solicitation. This is an ANNOUNCEMENT. You are simply letting people know about your new firm, the legal services your new firm offers, and your firm’s CHEAPER rates.
Check your Non-Compete Clause
It’s best to not violate your non-compete whenever possible. However, remember, non-compete clauses must be reasonable in time and scope. AND, most importantly – law firms do not own clients, clients hire attorneys.
Prepare your new office space
Preferably, before you tell your boss you are “thinking” about starting your own firm.
It’s best to be “let go”
When you are ready, tell your boss you are “thinking” about starting your own firm. You will be immediately “let go.” It is to your advantage to be “let go” because you will be entitled to severance pay, any unused vacation and sick pay, and finally, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits, if needed.
Best of luck!
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Disclaimer: This article provides general information and should not be taken as legal advice. *Names, identifying details, and events have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Answers to questions or comments do not form an attorney-client relationship. Kim R Brown is an attorney licensed in Arizona. This article is an advertisement.