Monday, May 30, 2011

Starting a Law Firm - Going Solo!

So, after much soul searching and discussion, I decided to go solo. So, what are some pros and cons that I am facing before I even start?

1) Making sure you are connected
2) Making decisions alone with no one else to blame if something doesn't work
3) Major changes including being home more often, having no fixed schedule, and having to think in terms of "market" instead of where you want to live, work, etc.
4) Initial investment of $$

1) No fear of pleasing a boss at the expense of your comfort
2) No fear of losing a job because you disagree with something
3) Practicing law the way you want to practice law (Could we sum it all with "More control!")
4) No limits to your potential
5) Control on how you spend your day
6) Control on which trainings etc. you want to go to
7) Being able to offer what you can offer - no artificial limits based on "job description".
8) Hopefully eventually being able to hire others for the "grunt work"

So, I still have to figure out all of the following
1) Accountant
2) Name for a law firm
3) Name for a website
4) LOCATION of law office
5) Sources of clients (ads? where?)
6) Designing a website

Phew! I will keep you updated on this journey.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bad Experience followed by Unemployment AGAIN

The world of immigration law jobs has not been an easy one for me. Thinking I was getting a great opportunity, I quit my "safe" job at the non-profit for a more lucrative one at a large national immigration law firm. However, that law firm has been a HUGE let down. I was subject to 15 hour workdays and non-stop traveling and visiting clients in various immigration detention centers far and near. Weekends were workdays as well. That would have been okay if that's all that was bad. However, the managing attorney was downright abusive to his employees. Any dissenter was fired. People were hired and fired in a snap for no apparent reason all the time. At-will employment at its best! I was forced to stay in an office far from where I was hired and was living off hotels. One question about when I would be sent back to my permanent location, and I was "let go".

And Good Riddance at that! I mean, how long can you hang on to a job like that? But then I went from a safe job to no job in the period of a month! As I write this, I have no job to speak of. I am hesitatingly considering applying for unemployment benefits. But a new possibility that has kept poking its head is now knocking on the door again, and yelling, "Start your own practice already, Dummy!"

What's keeping me back? I do not know. I know in my heart that I am a fantastic lawyer and that once I get started, I will be amazing. I know that I want to have my own schedule and be my own boss. I know I can deliver good results. But....getting that first client is still scary. It is scary to spend money on marketing without having any money to spend!

This is the new reality. No job security at all. Everyone is out on his or her own. Women like myself are forced to be bread-winners of the family. I am excited and nervous and at the same time a tad bit fearful of the future. But my cup is empty again. That means something will have to fill it!