Starting a New Law Practice: Go Solo or Join a Partnership?

law practice solo vs partnership

Whether you have just passed the bar or you have been in practice for years, many attorneys eventually decide to start their own practices. The first decision you need to make—and possibly, the most important—is whether to go solo or join a partnership. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to each option, but here are some things to keep in mind when deciding which option is best for you.

Solo Practice

Taking on a solo practice will be a lot of hard work, and will require a significant investment of your time, energy, and financial resources. It may be several years before you turn a profit, and you will spend a lot of your time doing non-billable work. Additionally, you make all the decisions—good or bad—about how to spend your time and allocate your resources. You have to network to build your client-base, and determine the best way to get a steady stream of clients. Even if you are the smartest and most knowledgeable attorney in your area, if you are not able to network and attain clients, your practice will not succeed.

The primary advantages to starting a solo practice is independence, which is limited only by your time and economic constraints. Your own ability and motivation, without a partner or partners to slow you down or pick you up, determines the future success of your practice. A solo practice can be a great option for an attorney who is organized, works well independently, is highly competent, confident, and motivated, and is willing to suffer short-term pain for long-term gain.


For many attorneys, it is more attractive to embark on the journey of starting a legal practice with a partner or partners. In a partnership, there is a sense of comradery and teamwork, and you have at least one other person enduring all the challenges and rejoicing in all the victories with you. You are also able to bounce ideas off of, and collaborate with, your partner(s). This is not only true with legal issues that arise, but with decisions regarding the firm itself. A partnership also gives you a bench in the event you are sick, on vacation, or tied up with another case or matter. Although in a solo practice you do not have to get permission to go on vacation, in a partnership, when you do go on vacation, the business and the revenue does not stop. Additional benefits with a partnership include the ability to share costs and offer complimentary practice areas/services to your clients, further increasing revenue.

A partnership, however, does not guarantee sunshine and just like a solo practice, takes work. Partnership is like a marriage, and you will have to accept and adjust to your partner’s particular style, habits, and opinions. When a partnership disintegrates, it can be like an acrimonious divorce. Tempers will flare, it will be emotional, assets will be divided, and there will be disputes over the clients. Partnerships can be great for attorneys that know how to collaborate and compromise and do not need to make every decision.  

Final Thoughts

Starting a new practice, whether a solo practice or a partnership takes focus, planning, and a bit of time, but, when done properly, the rewards can be endless and can come in the form of clients, revenue, and name recognition. If you have started your own practice and are looking to build your client base and generate additional revenue, Legal Services Link is an online platform where attorneys can quickly, easily, and informatively connect directly with people and businesses that have legal needs now. Sign up at for your FREE account, post your FREE profile, and start generating clients today!

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Posted - 05/18/2016