On things he “should have done” regarding starting his own practice, David Tarrell of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Blog, listed several things that hit close to home, and which I wholeheartedly agree with – some that I did do, and some that I also did not do but should have.
First on his list is “bought a Mac.” Fortunately I did do this, and have never regretted it. In fact, I bought several Macs. Number 10 on his list is that he should have bought an iphone/ ipod sooner. I finally got an iphone about a month ago, and now I don’t know how I ever functioned without it. They go together (the iphone and Mac).
Second, third, and fourth has to do with billing. One “thing I should have done” that I would add to the billing category, is making sure to take cases that allow you to bill. A wise attorney told me as his one piece of advice to me when I started my practice, “don’t waste your time taking cases that your not gonna get paid on.” That seems obvious enough, but you would be surprised. It’s easy to do. For instance, any case where your not paid a substantial amount of what the fee is going to likely be, up front, it is extremely likely that your not getting paid for your time. Some are worth it – e.g., personal injury cases – most are not. Of course, the realization that he should have “gotten more money upfront” is number 7 on his list. I would put it at number 1 on mine.
Fifth, he lists “not taking business I had no business doing.” For me, this was real estate work. At least one time, I agreed to do a title search, etc., and after I had wasted about 30 minutes floundering around, I said, forget it, leave this to the real estate attorneys, and referred the client to one. Another one is the drafting of any type of trust. Forget about it. I’ll stick to litigation.
He also notes that he should have implemented G.T.D. sooner. I’ll have to look into that one.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.