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
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
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
Additional Resources to Help You Build a Solo
- 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 www.yospinlaw.com
, 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
- For Information on Law Office Hardware and Law Office
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
- 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