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Starting Up or Starting Over Hanging Your Own Shingle Presented by: Christopher Anderson Johnathan Stone Richard Vanderslice.

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Presentation on theme: "Starting Up or Starting Over Hanging Your Own Shingle Presented by: Christopher Anderson Johnathan Stone Richard Vanderslice."— Presentation transcript:

1 Starting Up or Starting Over Hanging Your Own Shingle Presented by: Christopher Anderson Johnathan Stone Richard Vanderslice

2 2 Introduction to Panel Christopher Anderson Started out as assistant district attorney in NYC and Athens, GA before working his way from associate to managing partner of an eight-attorney firm in GA. Johnathan Stone Recent graduate who decided to start out as a solo practitioner at the Law Office of J.D. Stone, PLLC in Austin, TX. Richard Vanderslice Previously a large law attorney, left and partnered with another attorney, and later broke off to be the managing partner of Richard L. Vanderslice PC in Philadelphia, PA.

3 3 Items of discussion Selecting an area of practice Law firm formation– sole proprietor, professional corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership (should you consult a CPA to understand tax and reporting issues?) Developing a start-up budget and plan Identifying and knowing your competency when it comes to running a business like project management, marketing, and getting and staying organized Lease Office space or go Virtual When does it make sense to hire an assistant vs. outsource Investing in a web site and technology – DIY, outsource, self-hosted or hosted, hardware, software Office equipment, services and supplies Insurance protection The items you didnt learn in law school Other resources to leverage

4 4 Selecting An Area of Practice Considerations you should take when selecting an area of practice: 1)Prior experience 2)Formal education 3)Market need 4)Accessibility to get up to speed through CLE, courses, certifications

5 5 Law Firm Formation ? Sole Proprietor ? Limited Liability Company ? Limited Liability Partnership ? Professional Corporation There are Pros and Cons for each formation type. What questions should you ask yourself before choosing? Know when to engage with an expert like an Accountant to understand tax and other implications

6 6 Developing a Start Up Budget and Plan By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ( Benjamin Franklin) For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned. (Unknown Source) The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. (Sun Tzu)

7 7 Self Analysis - SWOT Understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats when it comes to running a business

8 8 Lease Office Space or Virtual Law Office Formal office space Client phone calls and consultations i.e. in-person client meetings P.O. Box or Physical Address for clients Depreciate office or not Turning off the office Contractual obligation Client meeting space Furnishings Shared services (e.g. administrative and janitorial) Parking Location Equipment covered under separate topic Lease Office SpaceVirtual Law Office

9 9 Hiring vs. Outsourcing Staff When does it make sense to hire an employee vs. outsourcing the resource through a temporary agency or business? Is there a threshold, calculation or methodology you should use to figure this out? Other considerations and risks: A contractor who might be classified as an employee, know your state laws and regulations Do back ground checks and get references

10 10 Web site and other technology DIY = do it yourself or BILL = brother in law labor Web site creation: Reputable company who has references and expertise in the area of marketing, not just building a web site; importance of ranking and search ability Other technology: Hardware – computer: Mac vs. PC; stationary vs. laptop; other mobile devices, i.e. iPads, tablets, phones; hosted vs. on-premise Software – types – project management, billing, accounting; hosted vs. on-premise; word processing; etc.

11 11 Equipment, Services and Supplies Tips and Tricks Copiers Scanners Printers All-in-one Courier and process services Office supplies

12 12 Insurance Protection Sources for finding more information about: Insurance for health, life and disability Professional liability insurance Other - Bonding employees / D&O insurance

13 13 Develop an Exit Strategy Be prepared for closing your business! Many reasons: You get an offer to work somewhere else Your firm was not profitable and you were not able to make ends meet You run into health problems Etc. etc.

14 14 What You Didnt Learn In Law School The importance of continuing legal education courses and webinars. Accounting and business management Dealing with difficult clients

15 15 Additional Resources [list resources you know of – could include local bar association; solosez; ABA solo small firm division; your practice management advisor; web sites youve found etc.]

16 16 Questions and Contacting Us Use the Go to meeting window pane to type in your questions for the panelist(s) To contact panelists directly, them at: Christopher Anderson Johnathan Stone Richard Vanderslice To learn more about LexisNexis Firm Manager visit us at:

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