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Counsel to Counsel is a podcast for attorneys who are looking for insights to help increase their overall career satisfaction.  You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.  You can also listen to episodes from this home page.  In each episode, I introduce you to consultants who have been shaping the legal industry and attorneys who have done interesting and sometimes unconventional things with their careers.  My guests will share with you tips on how to achieve greater career and marketing success.

Apr 1, 2018

Launching your own law practice can be both exhilarating and terrifying. For lawyers who are accustomed to the structure of a law firm and a steady paycheck, hanging a shingle means saying goodbye to security. Leaving a large firm means that there is no one between you and the client. You need to figure out how to advise your clients without the help of partners who are just down the hall. You also need to develop your own infrastructure.

At the same time, leaving a law firm also means having tremendous flexibility and a chance to really build something of your own. But it is not for everyone.

In this episode, I am joined by Matt Yospin. Matt is an IP attorney who graduated from law school in 2009 at the end of the Great Recession, not a great time to be starting a legal career. But Matt was one of the lucky ones. While the economy was reeling, he was still able to start practice at one of the top law firms in Boston. He stayed with the firm a little over two years. Eventually, there was not enough work to keep him busy and he was laid off. Since that time, Matt has been building a successful law practice of his own.

Matt is a patent and intellectual property attorney who has been in solo practice since 2012. He began his career at the Boston firm Bingham McCutchen (which has since been acquired by Morgan Lewis & Bockius). Prior to law school, he ran his own computer software consulting business.

Matt works with businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, government agencies and inventors on a range of intellectual property and transactional work. He speaks regularly at bar association events and events for other professional groups, publishes a blog on developments in IP, writes on technology and practice management for others’ blogs, and co-hosts a TV show on issues in the news from a legal perspective. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs and creative people, helping them to build or grow a business, to protect their ideas and inventions with IP and business strategies that make sense for them. He also is on the Boards of two local non-profits.

Matt is very effective at marketing and his ability to keep his visibility high in the bar is one of the reasons I invited Matt to be a guest this week. What I mean is that not only does Matt really understand marketing, but his own marketing efforts kept Matt on my radar when I was thinking about a good solo to invite on as a guest.

Additional Resources to Help You Build a Solo Practice

  • For practice management and mentoring, find other solos in your area and ask them for help.  Matt Yospin is happy to field your questions.  Find him  at , 617-340-9295, or email him via his Contact Me form.
  • If you are in Massachusetts and looking for some general support around starting a law practice, try the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program  (a free resource). Most states have similar organizations. Check with your state bar association or board of bar overseers.
  • In Massachusetts, join the Solo and Small Firm Section of the Boston Bar Association or the Law Practice Management Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association. Most state bar associations have similar committees where you can meet other solos who are happy to share their experience (and possibly referrals).
  • Jared Correia of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting writes and speaks frequently on law practice management and technology. He also does a great podcast called the Legal Toolkit. Jared offers low cost consulting services that are targeted at solo and small firms looking for help with law office technology and general law practice management systems. He is a fountain of knowledge on the full range of issues that you need to consider in going solo.
  • Hanging Your Shingle, offered periodically by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, is a great program which you can purchase for replay.  MCLE has also published a book by the same name.  I originally set this program up 20 years ago and happy to see that it is still alive and well.
  • Starting Out Solo is an organization to consider (particularly if you are in Massachusetts).
  • For Information on Law Office Hardware and Law Office Ergonomics consider Matt Yospin's article in Law Technology Today
  • Get a multi-function laser printer, so you can photocopy and scan books. Matt Yospin recommends a dedicated two-sided fast scanner; most attorneys like the Fujitsu ScanSnap line. You can get great scanner software for your phone or tablet, too.  Matt Yospin recommends Readdle’s Scanner Pro.
  • Matt suggests you consider practice management software, to tie together your contacts, calendar, tasks, project flow, and notes.  There are many attorney-specific platforms, or you could make your own system work.  Matt likes Daylite but there are also Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase, Practice Panther, Smokeball, and too many more to name.
  • Every attorney (and everyone else) should use a password manager.  Matt likes 1Password.  I use LastPass.
  • Matt recommends using some keystroke expansion or macro software (to save a lot of time typing.)  He wrote about this category of software here. Matt uses TextExpander, and there are many others.
  • Local and remote backups, with encryption, are a must.  If you hire someone, be sure they are doing this for you.  If you prefer DIY, consider FileVault and Time Machine (on a Mac), and services like Dropbox, Box, and Boxcryptor (and there are many others).