Most of the 1.3 million lawyers who practice in the US today are solos and lawyers working in firms of up to nine. Attorneys taking the solo leap face an endless list of daily decisions and responsibilities that can distract them from focusing on what they do best – practice law.
When Chicago lawyer Michelle Lawless decided to go solo, she knew her biggest challenge would be figuring out how to handle the administrative responsibilities of a solo practice. “I was coming from a place that was a well-oiled machine,” said Lawless, who spent nearly 20 years as a large-firm partner before making the leap. “While there are a lot of resources available to solos, it’s about finding the ones that work best for your practice,” she said.
To address her concerns, Lawless eventually chose to rent a virtual office with Amata. She had heard about the company from other family law practitioners who appreciated that Amata allowed them to singularly focus on the practice of law. “I wanted a place where I would have the support I needed right out of the gate,” she said.
Endless choices for services and support can grow as one’s practice grows. Lawless started out as a “mail only” Amata client, working remotely. “Mail is actually still an integral part of the practice of law, especially with subpoenas, so in the very beginning, it was great to have someone telling me when I’d gotten mail from a person or business,” she said. Lawless then became a “virtual plus” client and was pleased that, wherever she was, she could receive client calls through an app without giving out her cell phone number. She recently chose 180 N. LaSalle, one of six downtown Amata lawyer-focused communities.
Now, as she settles into her new space, Lawless, who used to have a big-firm team of associates, paralegals and assistants, focuses on taking systems that ran smoothly at her large firm and adapting them to her solo practice. She is working with Amata to develop a client-intake process that will free her from fielding preliminary questions from prospective clients. Amata staffers will handle these calls, asking questions provided by Lawless.
She is also hammering out a process that will allow her to efficiently send out subpoenas. At most large firms, the task involves several players. A paralegal typically drafts the subpoena for the lawyer’s review; the lawyer drafts the rider to the subpoena and ensures the right documents are requested; an accounting department employee prepares the check for the witness fees; and a legal assistant or paralegal drafts the accompanying letter, makes the necessary copies and ensures the subpoena is sent by certified mail.
Now, Lawless prepares the rider, the check, and the letter, and Amata’s paralegals help draft the subpoena. Her location’s admins make copies and handle the certified mailing. “Amata is willing to create a customized process for me,” Lawless said.
As she navigates the challenges of going solo, Lawless said it’s nice to feel supported by a team dedicated to finding the solutions that her growing practice demands.
Call us today to learn how our virtual offices can help you successfully go solo with your law practice.