Starting Solo

Making the decision to start your own law firm



Attend Solo/Small Firm Conferences

Networking is an essential step in building your practice. One of the best decisions we have made thus far was to attend the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) Solo & Small Firm Conference. We were able to receive scholarships through IU McKinney’s Office of Professional Development.  Which, by the way, is another great reason to get connected with IU McKinney’s (or your own law school’s) Office of Professional Development.  We didn’t know that this conference existed or that we could receive scholarships to attend, but getting connected with the Office of Professional Development afforded us this opportunity.

The ISBA Solo/Small Firm Conference is routinely held in French Lick, IN. The conference is a three day whirlwind with cocktail hour meet-and-greets and sessions on technology, best practices, client matters, etc. The conference was a great chance for Ben and I to start to get to know other solos from around the state. We heard war stories, gleaned advice, and got to know people. One of the best parts of the conference is that new attendees are matched up with conference veterans or leaders in the ISBA. We were luckily matched up with Brandon Tate and Kevin Bowen of Tate and Bowen. We spent the conference chatting it up with newly minted solos and 20 year legal veterans. We spent time sharing our business plan with others and we soaked up as much advice as we could. One piece of advice that may seem obvious to some is that rather than attending sessions together Ben and I split up and attended different sessions. We met up after to share notes and compare impressions. It spread our reach and allowed us to cover more ground.

The The ISBA Solo/Small Firm Conference or any similar conference in your area is a great place to get quick feedback on your business plan, meet other solos, and start to make connections with not just other attorneys but with your state bar association as well. If you’re considering working for a small firm or going solo or even if you work for a medium to large-sized firm head to the ISBA Solo/Small Firm Conference. 2016 ISBA SSFC Brochure


Starting Your Own Law Firm

Welcome to Starting Solo!  We hope this blog will provide you with information, resources, and insights on how to start your own law firm.  My business partner, Ben Spandau, and I hope to especially target current law students or new lawyers who are considering starting solo.

The Decision

My name is J.T. Funk and my business partner, Ben Spandau, and I decided in our second year of law school to start our own law firm.  Our decision began to take shape after my first year.  I had a wonderful experience interning over my 1L summer with some brilliant lawyers at a small firm in Indianapolis.  That small firm experience solidified for me my desire to build a practice on my own or with another new attorney.  I approached Ben in September of our 2L year; I told him my goals for my law career and he echoed them. Ultimately, we made the decision to start solo (well, start small in our case).

When Ben and I decided to go it alone we did not make the decision in haste, nor did we anticipate the reactions we received from peers and other attorneys in our area when we told them.  We were told that we were “stupid,” “crazy,” “awesome,” and “bold.”  However, we have pushed on undeterred, and our hope is that this blog will serve as a resource for law students or attorneys who are considering going solo or starting their own firms.

We also view this blog as an opportunity for us to tell our story, as well as show others how this process works.  We hope to focus our attention on how you can get a jump on the process while you are still in school as well as discuss technology, networking, going paper-less, and anything we think may help others succeed.  We will discuss what has worked and what has not worked.  We will show students and other hopeful solos or small firms the ins-and-outs of the risky, but rewarding (we hope!) venture of starting solo.


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