Opening your own law practice is hard. Opening a law practice immediately after being called to the bar is harder. In his blog “Solo in Ontario” one newly minted lawyer, Bo Arfai, shares the joy and pain of opening his own law office in Toronto after his call to the bar in 2008.
Lawyers can be the envy of other professionals when it comes to setting up a solo practice. While other professionals, such as veterinarians and dentists, often require large capital to start up their practices, lawyers seem to need relatively less: a laptop and a phone.
If only things were as easy as that sounds. Bo soon finds out that the expenses of setting up a law office goes far beyond a laptop and a phone (in his case, an iPhone). There are fixed assets, office equipment, insurance premiums, law society dues, reference materials, and telecommunication expenses. Eventually Bo finds that the total cost for his first few months comes to a staggering $10,048.00.
I note that Bo’s start-up costs are relatively low for a new solo practice. As Bo works at home, he saves about $500-$1,000 per month on office rent. Professional service charges and the costs of computer software are conspicuously absent from his calculations. These additional costs would have likely pushed his expenses up toward $15,000.
Besides the frank disclosure of his operating costs, Bo shares something else with his reader: his relentless entrepreneurship.
With great energy and enthusiasm, Bo takes on the challenges of a small business owner: the limited resources, the difficulties of reaching out to clients, and the ever-daunting tasks of doing it all oneself while staying afloat (“What to Do with All Those Business Cards,” posted December 1, 2008; “The Highs and Lows of Being a Sole Practitioner,” posted November 27, 2008).
In fact, he takes great pride in reaching out to the community and operating on a tight budget. He shares with his readers the fruits of his hard work (“Networking Paying Off,” posted November 27, 2008). He learns to adjust his attitude towards clients and fees (“Fees and Clients,” posted November 11, 2008). Perhaps the most enjoyable part of reading Bo’s blog is simply the pleasure of watching his practice grow.
To visit Bo’s blog, click on the following link:
You can also find the link on this website’s main page, under “PSW Recommends.”