A Coffee Date with a New Solo


I had a great meeting this morning at my little neighborhood coffee shop. It was with an attorney who has recently launched her own firm. She is smart, driven and excited about going it on her own.

And she is already overwhelmed by the work.

To be clear, she does not have all the work she wants just yet. She is still working for another firm as a project-based attorney, but when work does come in, she takes it. It’s just too early to be too picky. And in practice, that has made for some long days and some late nights. This is not only unfortunate for her own self-care, but also for the well-being of her new firm. When exactly will she have time to go out and get the other work that she’s going to need to sustain her new practice?

This attorney is already a project attorney in our network, but this morning, we talked about how using Aggregate Law could help her grow her firm and set some best practices right from the start.

She explained that she had just taken on a client who had a pressing hearing–and that when she looked over the case, it was an organizational mess and a lot more work than she had anticipated. After a long day of meetings yesterday, she had been up half the night finishing an unanticipated brief. This is exactly when she could have used Aggregate Law. Since our matches happen very quickly (at times within the hour), she could have posted a job and had someone else working on the brief while she attended meetings yesterday. Then, her only job at the end of a busy day would have have been to review the work done by her project attorney, possibly make some brief edits and send it on its way. In addition, she could bill out the work on the brief at a higher rate than she paid the project attorney to write it, thus making money on the project, increasing her profits and still getting a good night’s sleep.

She is surprised at just how busy she already is–and is concerned about having time to do the critical work of getting NEW work and clients. At the point in her new practice, she has the opportunity to set a precedent: she can hire out work to other experienced project attorneys so that she is freed up to lunch and network with potential clients and referral sources (not to mention do all the other things a solo needs to do, like finding a small business accountant). If, as a small or solo firm, you make it your priority to steadily and consistently work on getting new work, you will avoid the up and down profit cycles and dry spells that come when you are too busy doing current work to look for more.

It’s true, none of this is rocket science, but for some attorneys we know (my hubby included), it’s hard to let go of control of the work. It’s a critical decision that has to be made: Will you keep the control, work all hours and kill yourself trying to do it all? Or will you learn to outsource, free up some time to network, market, write that business plan….or maybe just sleep?

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