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Top Ten Secrets in Starting Your Own Firm

By Jason Brown I spent the better part of a year preparing to open shop in 2003. I was just three years out of law school. Many thought I was nuts for taking the plunge. My former boss told me I'd regret it. With due respect, joke's on him. Instead of lining the pockets of others with your hard ...


  1. Some great tips here. Be careful though about how you advertise having multiple “offices” through those available conference rooms. It could be considered misleading to give the impression that your firm is so large that you have several offices, when in fact you have one or two attorneys with access to conference rooms in the various cities.

    I agree that is is important for new solo and small firms to focus their energy in one area and develop expertise in that area. But be careful about describing yourself as a “specialist” or “specializing” in any area of practice (see MRPC, Rule 7.4).

  2. is an excellent looking website. Clean, easy to navigate. I wondered why you went with a PA instead of a PLLC as an organizational structure?

  3. Thanks Jim. Tax issue on the PA. Our situation resulted in more favorable treatment under the tax code. I would suggest speaking with an accountant.

  4. Really enjoyed this post. Any other authors you’d recommend in addition to Foonberg?

  5. Thanks for a useful post. I also found Carolyn Elefant’s book to be very helpful when preparing to start a practice. And don’t forget that Minnesota CLE publishes a “how to” guide for starting a law practice that’s available through the online library.

  6. I really appreciated this article. I would agree 100% with his recommendation to scan, scan, scan….. I am one of those attorneys who stapled paper to paper and then filed hard copies (and in most cases more than one hard copy of the same thing…. so that I would not lose it) and now I scanned virtually all my documents.

    I scan even letters, notes, cards and the like from clients and friends (for future referral sources and addresses). I can see little reason for a new attorney (opening her own practice) to pay the office space (or use garage space) for file storage. I just wonder what the document storage people think of this new change in file maintenance?

  7. Dear Mr. Brown,

    Thank you for those tips! I had considered implementing eight of them, but had not yet considered the answering service or remote secretary, and was hungry for confirmation of the other choices. I may, pending bar results (in two weeks) and many job applications, open a virtual office “in” St. Paul by November, probably specializing in Family and/or Criminal Law.

    Regarding Internet access, I plan to use to host a Sharepoint site – I get no kickback for recommending them. The upsides of Sharepoint there should be (a) it’s cheap to host if multimedia is excluded, and (b) one can easily grant restricted “library” access to specific groups or individuals. For example, one could grant Client XXX exclusive read-only access to certain files.

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