Trend: Attorneys Launching Their Own Firms By Rebecca E. Neely According to the November 24th nytimes.com article, “Skipping the Partner Track for a Shingle of One’s Own”, more and more lawyers ranging in age from their twenties to forties are following their own path versus the once fast track to partnership in Big Law.
Why? Becoming a partner in a big law firm is certainly a worthy goal; it offers lucrative pay and often, high profile case work. But times, they are a changin’. Due to a variety of factors, including the economic downturn, which has resulted in fewer legal jobs, the opportunities to become partner are also fewer. Younger attorneys – as we all seem to be in this day and age of technological ‘right now’ – are more impatient, and more anxious to take charge of their professional, and financial futures.
school classmates. Last year, they launched their own firm in Manhattan, taking one large client with them, who accounted for three quarters of their revenue. When the client dropped them, only Yim and Chuang continued on. Today, the firm is doing well, and Yim was quoted as saying: “You can get this sense of desperation where you’ll take any paying client that walks through the door. We’ve learned the best clients are people we would socialize with, because the relationship is comfortable, there is trust and it’s far more productive.”
Per the article, Margie R. Grossberg, a partner at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, said, though there are no hard and fast statistics, she has witnessed a growing number of associates starting their own businesses.
Still another example of attorneys striking out on their own includes Joel Kauth and two of his colleagues. The trio left Christie Parker Hale in Irvine, California to launch Kauth, Pomeroy, Peck & Bailey with Kent Pomeroy, a lawyer and accountant, in 2007. They charge clients a flat rate, versus billing them by the hour. And though clients appreciate the fee structure, and the attorneys are experienced enough to accurately estimate the time it will take to complete a service, at times, per Kauth, ““if the court is being difficult or opposing counsel is crazy, the cost goes up and we just have to eat it.”
Take for example Sari Gabay-Rafiy and Anne Marie Bowler. Both worked as commercial litigation lawyers at Proskauer Rose in New York City for years, and decided to start their own firm some five years ago. While they’ve faced lean times, they’ve reevaluated their business practices continually, cutting costs and improving efficiency wherever possible. Today, they are earning more than they did with Proskauer. They network constantly, every chance they get.
The moral of the story? Driven, intelligent, business conscious attorneys can successfully launch their own firms – but they must be prepared for ups and downs, and be prepared to be able to survive on their own savings for a few months; six is a safe bet, per Pomeroy, of Kauth, Pomeroy, Peck & Bailey.
Another example of attorneys striking out on their own are Michael Yim, Jane Chuang and a third lawyer, all former law
Published on Aug 26, 2012
According to the November 24th nytimes.com article, “Skipping the Partner Track for a Shingle of One’s Own”, more and more lawyers ranging i...