Solo and Small Firm

The Practitioner Winter 2014, Volume 20, Issue 1

Navigating Tough Waters: 5 Tips For Starting Your Own Firm

By Eli Economou

Eli Economou is the founder, president and CEO of Economou Law Group. Mr. Economou practices educational law and estate planning in southern California, and has been doing so since passing the CA bar exam in 2009. Mr. Economou is also a member of the special education advisory committee of the CA Office of Administrative Hearings, and has been recognized by such agencies as Public Counsel Law Center for his representation of children.

The decision to start your own firm is a big one. While that statement may seem rather pedantic, it is nevertheless accurate. I have had the discussion with many attorneys regarding starting up a firm, and many speak of it with a sort of reverence – their eyes glassing over slightly as they talk of what their firm might be like and phrase the opening of such a firm in the distant future. It is a common goal I found, but not realized as often as many would think. The reasons? I believe it is a mixture of comfort and fear. At least, that’s what it was for me before I made the plunge into being a solo practitioner.

For the first part of my legal career I was extremely lucky. I was offered an associate position at a small firm right after I passed the bar exam in 2009 – the same firm I had been clerking for two years prior. I was privileged to work for two fantastic attorneys, both of whom took painstaking time to provide me with guidance in all areas of practice for my daily work with the firm. I was provided with an environment of friendship and just the right balance of relaxed office and zealous legal representation, with no limitations whatsoever upon my own practice of law in the field of education law. I mention this because, obviously, not all roads to solo practice are going to be the same. Mine just happened to be rather cushy, and I was able to practice for four years in a wonderful environment until such time as I felt ready to go out and hang my own shingle.

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