6 Reasons to become a Sole Practitioner…and 6 reasons not to…

Michael CarabashGoing solo is not for the feint of heart. I knew I was going to go solo long before I even finished articling. I prepared myself for months. I wrote a 200 page business plan (which, although remains incomplete to date, did help me focus my ideas at the time). The bottom line is that endless preparation is one thing, good execution is another. Here are 6 good reasons why any lawyer would want to go solo. In fact, these are precisely the reasons that made me do it:

  1. allow me to earn a significantly higher income vis-à-vis being employed for someone else;
  2. expose me to clients and interesting/challenging work;
  3. provide me with new legal and business knowledge, skills, and experiences;
  4. create new income-generating opportunities;
  5. give me significant control over my working environment; and
  6. provide me with an unmatched level of overall personal satisfaction.

These things being said, there are also 6 reasons why some avoid the prospect of going out on their own:

  1. Lack of specialization, leading to lack of knowledge about various subject areas and the risk
    of making mistakes;
  2. Succumbing to financial problems (e.g. having to pay for high overhead expenses all by yourself);
  3. Not being able to handle large or complex matters (and the large fees that go with them);
  4. Having responsibility over all administrative details;
  5. Not being able to have anyone in the office to handle emergencies during your absence;
  6. Isolation from other lawyers.

Overall, a lawyer should do a lot soul searching before deciding whether going off on their own is the best thing for them.

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