Many who contemplate starting a law firm, or see others who have started a law firm, have the wrong idea in mind. They think running a law firm is easy. They envision the freedom that might exist from having a law firm. They might envision the money they might think they will make. And they might even envision praise, thanks, and pats on the back for starting a law firm.
In other words, in the minds of some, by starting a law firm, you are giving individuals jobs. You are allowing individuals to advance their careers, hone their skills, and perhaps improve their life. You might even be giving individuals the ability to feed their families.
The thought of many new when they are starting a law firm is that their efforts will be appreciated. They might believe that individuals will be thankful for all that you do in taking the risk and employing individuals. The reality is that law firm ownership is a 24/7 job that never stops. There is rarely a break.
Lots of risk goes into starting a law firm by the way. You likely have to sign on to a lease. You likely have put yourself on the line in terms of payroll, advertising, taxes, and other costs in terms of running a law firm.
The employees can all literally walk from these responsibilities. But if you are the one who started the law firm, you cannot do so. You likely are attached to the indebtedness of the law firm itself. If negative things happen, you likely are responsible for cleaning up the figurative messes that exist. Folks will look to you for whatever is taking place.
If you are going to start a law firm or thinking about starting one, you have to go into it with the mindset. Do not go into it with the idea that you are going to get frequent pats on the back or appreciation for taking the risk. Some of that might come. But it is likely to be rare and fleeting.
The reality is that you have to go into the law firm ownership business for other reasons. You have to go into it because you truly know what you are getting yourself into and want to take it upon yourself. You have to go into it because you truly want to provide legal services for those who are in need. You have to go into knowing that there is a great risk, and that many will not appreciate the risk you took, but that the risk is worth taking. The risk can worth taking for many reasons, but you really need to analyze them and list the pros and cons in advance.
However, if you go into it with the idea that you are going to receive praise, thanks, and adulation, that’s likely a mistake. Running a law firm is hard. No matter how hard you think it is, you likely are underestimating it.
But in the eyes of some, they likely could do it better than you. Even if you are successful in starting and growing a successful practice, some of those around you (and from the outside) will always think that it is easy. They will think that if they were in charge, things would be better.
Of course, those individuals likely have not taken the risk. They likely have not experienced the stress and hardship of owning and running a law firm. But that’s always the perception of some — particularly in the legal industry with lawyers.
If you go into owning or running a law firm with the right mindset, it will be okay. But if you go into it thinking you will be appreciated or thanked for doing so, you will likely be disappointed. Running a law firm can often feel like a thankless endeavor.
You took the risk. But in the eyes of some, they will never see the risk that was taken. They will likely not see the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to keep the firm afloat. To them, they could do it better than you ever could.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.