I have reached the point where I could really use some help from another lawyer.

I knew this day would come. It is part of my business plan. Yet, I don’t really know how to hire someone and I am not sure I want to. I can see it being a total disaster. Why would I want to spend time training someone when I don’t have enough time as it is? I also don’t really need the money. I have enough. Yet, it would be really nice to have some help. Someone to rely on. Someone else to answer the calls and meet with clients. I do everything. I am pretty tired.

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Associate

(* Caveat: I don’t know that hiring an associate is a good idea. Maybe it should just be a contract employee, etc. The discussion of independent contractor versus full or part-time associate attorney is too big for this post and I am not going to think about that important delineation yet.)

I figure people like lists and they help to organize my thoughts. Therefore, let us move forward with the pros and cons of hiring someone:


  • Someone to differ tasks to
  • Someone to answer the phone
  • Someone to meet with clients
  • Someone else to generate revenue
  • Someone to share the experience of running a law practice with
  • Someone to cover you when you go on vacation, get sick, play hooky, etc
  • Someone to share some of the load


  • They want to be paid
  • They don’t know what they are doing / won’t do it right
  • They don’t do it the way you do it
  • They may not show up
  • You may have to fire them
  • Payroll tax
  • More accounting headache
  • You will likely have to take time to mentor them when you don’t want to
  • They may steal your clients and leave
  • They may just leave and not tell you
  • They may be unethical, lazy, not smart

I am sure there are other points I am missing.


In a nutshell, I think I really want to hire somebody because I think it would be fun to have a teammate. I also want to mentor somebody. I feel strongly that it is time to do that. Yet, I am also very nervous because I know being an employee is not all that fun. I never liked being an employee. I also really don’t want to manage somebody every single day.

Basically, this was a gather my thoughts post. I will think more about this later and update.

As always, I am signing off with an obligatory “who I am post”. I do this mainly to let people know I am a Minnesota probate attorney who is looking for some help, or, perhaps just a place to vent.

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I was going over my various blogs and I thought I would visit my first one – this one.  It has been a couple years since I started this blog to serve as my outlet while I moved from a law firm job, to taking the bar exam in another state, and, essentially starting my legal career over again.

I haven’t posted on here in months.  I may not post here again in months.  I may post next week.  I may never post again.  Who knows.

However, I wanted to say to all those lawyers who find there way to this blog  – which was started by an amateur business man who just really, really wanted his own law practice – you can do it.  Seriously.  If you want to, go start a law firm.

It isn’t always easy, it isn’t always fun.  But, if you want it bad enough, you can do it.

The first few months are probably going to be tough. The middle months can be amazing.   When you really start cooking it is a great feeling.  Then you realize you got to keep feeding the beast.

I’ve made more money than I ever did at a law firm.  I have freedom.  I save what I want for retirement.  I call all of the shots.  I am a Minnesota estate planning and probate attorney.  Nobody tells me what to do.  I pick my clients.  I work my ass off if I want to and take vacation if I want to.   I love it.  I am happy.

Getting new clients is always tough, but they are there.  Be bold.  Take a chance.  If you can stomach the risk, do it.  Do it right and don’t look back.

I will leave you with this:


Starting Law Firm | I’m still here

December 4, 2012

I am about eight months into starting a law firm.  I don’t know if I have “made it” yet but I can tell you that the absolute terror and nervousness is gone.  I almost feel like this is my real “career” now.  I have a long ways to go, but I got a lot of […]

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Rural Lawyer v. Big City Lawyer

June 20, 2012

I’m struggling a bit with my practice area focus.  No, not my legal practice area, my firm location area. I live in a small town just off the fringes of the Twin Cities.  I’m closer to St. Paul than to Minneapolis but it is all relative.  I have gotten several clients out of most of […]

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Solo in Minneapolis has a New Look!

May 23, 2012

For any of my readers who care – I am redisgning this blog.  Why?  Because business is a little slow and I didn’t like how it looked. Warning:  designing and redesigning the way a blog looks has very little bearing on starting a law firm. Don’t fall into the trap of making things look pretty […]

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Starting a Law Firm | Business Plans | Solo in Minneapolis featured in Minnesota Lawyer

May 14, 2012

In an effort to post more on starting a law firm, I wanted to let my readers know that I was recently featured in a nice article on Minnesota Lawyer’s solo and small firm website:  Solo Contendre. Reporter Dan Heilman contacted me several weeks a go to do an interview.  He was looking for my thoughts on […]

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Iowa lawyer suspended 30 days for $2,500 minimum fee.

April 13, 2012

As reported by the ABA Journal and Lawyerist, an Iowa lawyer was suspended for 30 days for keeping a $2,500 minimum fee on a criminal law matter. According to the article, the lawyer only completed 3.7 hours of work  – including 1 hour spent doing an accounting.  The case against the client was ultimately dismissed […]

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Starting a Law Firm | Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Roadmap

April 13, 2012

I wanted any readers out there who are either (1) contemplating or (2) starting a law firm that Minnesota Lawyers Mutual (MLM) now has a blog and roadmap for lawyers who are looking to go out on their own. This helpful tidbit of information was reported by Andrea Hable at the Minnesota State Bar Association […]

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Starting a Law Firm No-Nos | Minnesota Law Firm scammed to tune of $400,000

April 11, 2012

As reported by the ABA Journal, the Minnesota law firm of Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz (MGM) has sued Wells Fargo Bank for cashing a fraudulent check in the amount of nearly $400,000 from MGM’s IOLTA account.  Click here for a copy of the complaint.  Bad news. According to reports in the Minnesota Star Tribune, MGM was the […]

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Starting a Law Firm | Online fax resources for lawyers

April 6, 2012

While doing the due diligence and trying to set up faxing services for my law firm, I discovered a nifty little comparison website for online faxing for lawyers.  Great! I wanted to share my find with readers of this legal blog. The fax comparison website is aptly titled www.faxcompare.com.  Cool! The comparison site does a […]

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