Practice Tools

Hanging Out a Shingle - Practice Resource Center

Starting your own firm can be overwhelming. Learn from others who have been there and done that.

General Information

The shoe-string law firm
By Charles G. Wentworth
Opening an office takes at least as much—if not more—business experience as it does legal knowledge, and lawyers have to be both smart and creative about how they spend their money and time when building a practice on a shoe-string budget.

Hey, Kids, Let's Start a Law Firm
By Karen Erger, Illinois Bar Journal, December 2011
An interview with a lawyer who did just that.

I hung my shingle: What I've learned in two years of solo practice
By Peter R. Olson, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, January 2008
Author Peter Olson shares what has worked and what hasn't during his first years as a sole practitioner.

Small law, big plans
By Katherine A. Chamberlain, YLDNews, August 2012
A new solo practitioner explores the woes and wows of making it work in the working world.

Managing ourselves
By Dan Breen, Law Office Management and Economics, June 2011
Because more and more attorneys will begin their legal career without a traditional business structure, it is important that we, as a profession, pay more attention to the business side of law.

From Sheepskin to Shingle
By Helen Gunnarsson, Illinois Bar Journal, September 2009
Can you really go straight from law school into solo practice? Do you know enough? What are the surest ways to succeed - or stumble? ISBA-member solos and others offer advice.

Making the transition to a solo or small firm practice
By Nathan Lollis, YLDNews, April 2008
Many attorneys consider starting their own firm. Obtaining clients and successfully collecting your fees are a couple of obvious aspects of starting your own solo or small firm practice. Some other aspects of the transition may not be so obvious.

You're the Boss - Now What?
By Helen W. Gunnarsson, Illinois Bar Journal, March 2010
Supervising employees, meeting a payroll - more things they didn't teach you in law school. Find out some of what you need to know to be an effective, legally compliant, ethically aware employer or supervisor.

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These resources are presented as educational resources for for ISBA members. They should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual legal research, and the ISBA does not warrant the accuracy of the information that appears in them.