You paid your dues after law school. Maybe you clocked the hours at a big firm as an associate. Perhaps you worked under an established attorney at a smaller firm. Either way, you wanted to go out on your own. So, you started a firm that allowed you to help clients navigate any legal issue that came their way.
Solo or small, this was your dream – the opportunity to give your clients more personalized attention, agility, and less bureaucracy. You know that the advantage of the big firms ultimately comes down to one (big) thing: resources. Resources, human and otherwise, leads to more time, more people, and the ability to specialize in one area of law.
Here’s what you have to offer
You’ve built a name for yourself. You’re recognized in your community because you’re a genuine part of it. Your kids play ball together. You’re a member of the chamber of commerce. People know you, and they all know someone you’ve helped.
When prominent resident Joe Smith seeks out your services to help his son get out of a DUI charge, you do what you always do: your best. You’re successful in getting the charges dismissed, and Joe Smith is happy—very happy.
So, when Joe Smith decides it’s time to plan for the future, he comes back to you for estate planning assistance. The local lawyer who has proven they can help his son out of a jam can surely set up the appropriate trusts, right?
That’s where the differences come into play
Unlike some big specialty firms, you don’t have the luxury of focusing on only one practice area. As a general practice firm, you’re expected to know and do it all. From DUIs to estate planning and everything in between, you’re the expert. Impossible or not, that’s the expectation. With everchanging laws and rulings, the depth of your knowledge on any one practice area may not match the breadth.
There are ways, however, to run your firm without sacrificing your knowledge base or stretching yourself too thin. You understand the law in general. It’s familiarizing yourself with a new area of law, finding precedents and practical guidance, researching recent rulings and figuring out new processes that can be time-consuming.
And it’s the learning and investigating that are an inefficient, non-billable use of your time. Your clients aren’t going to pay you to get up to speed on a new area of law – they expect that you already know that, and that you know it well.
The starting point you need
Fortunately, you can get that information, distilled and ready to go. Thomson Reuters Practical Law offers standard documents, how-to guides, and more that are maintained by true experts. That way, you get to be both the local law firm and the professional on all things legal. It’s what your clients expect. And it gives you more time to do the work that matters.
Practical Law can help you guide Joe Smith through the process of setting up the right trust. It’s the practical legal know-how that the big firms have due to the sheer number of people on their payroll and clients that come through their door. This content helps level the playing field by putting the information that your clients already expect you to have directly into your hands. You and your clients get the best of both worlds – personal attention and legal prowess.
Managing expectations becomes a whole lot easier
The ability to provide your clients with the service level they want and the attention they deserve is one of the reasons you chose the small firm path. No matter what the scenario, the legal issue your client is facing is likely the most pressing matter in their life at the time. It’s critical to them, and therefore, it’s critical to you. But the demand for excellence is perpetual, and the time you have available is not.
You know that your clients expect that you’re up to date on all things legal. And now you can be. Practical Law makes that possible.