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

  • Dion U. Davi
    The Bottom Line, May 2016

    The author shares what he's learned through common sense and trial and error.

  • Amber L. Mikula
    YLDNews, August 2015

    In order to be prepared to start your own practice, you should start out by establishing an organizational plan, including staff job descriptions, policies and procedures, document control, and file checklists.

  • Bryan M. Sims
    Nerino J. Petro Jr.
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, July 2014

    Some thoughts on how to equip a law office for $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000.

  • Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, February 2014

    Time to strike out on your own? Veteran practitioners help you get off to a good start - and avoid common missteps - with tips on marketing, billing, retainers, client management, and more.

  • Charles G. Wentworth
    The Bottom Line, April 2013

    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.

  • Maria Kantzavelos
    Illinois Bar Journal, February 2013

    Are your employees getting the tax relief they deserve? Are you? Should you process your own payroll? A CPA tells lawyers a thing or two about the business side of running a practice.

  • John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, December 2012

    Successful mergers are based upon a sound integrated business strategy that creates synergy and a combined firm that produces greater client value than either firm can produced alone.

  • Katherine A. Chamberlain
    YLDNews, August 2012

    A new solo practitioner explores the woes and wows of making it work in the working world.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2011

    The Rules of Professional Conduct make managing nonlawyer staff a high-stakes business. Find out which rules are most directly implicated and learn how to be a better boss.

  • Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2011

    An interview with a lawyer who did just that.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, September 2011

    Too many lawyers - especially new ones - undervalue their services. It's a short-sighted approach that can lead to big trouble, this lawyer argues.

  • Dan Breen
    The Bottom Line, 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.

  • Patrick G. King
    YLDNews, February 2011

    Similar to a start-up business, a young lawyer must begin somewhere and start small. This article offers tips for cost-effective and practical ways a young lawyer can be seen and heard.

  • 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.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, September 2009

    Can you really go straight from law school into solo practice? What are the surest ways to succeed — or stumble?

  • 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.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 2008

     A young sole practitioner's take on the perils and pleasures of hanging out your shingle.

  • 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.

  • Mary A. Corrigan
    The Bottom Line, September 2006

    As a business attorney, I routinely advise clients on a variety of issues related to the start-up of their businesses.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2005

    Three ISBA members speak from experience about the joys and challenges of solo practice.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, June 2005

    The conference center concept has profoundly changed how many firms greet and accommodate their visitors.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, March 2005

    Part 2 of a three-part article designed to help attorneys in planning and designing their law firms.

  • Dr. Thomas J. Venardos
    The Bottom Line, January 2005

    A new generation of law firm lawyers need new tools to maximize profitability.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, January 2005

    During the course of 20 years of planning law offices, patterns are identified and analyzed. These patterns turn into valuable lessons for firms considering a relocation or renovation of their law offices.

  • Christopher T. Hurley
    YLDNews, April 2002

    Looking back, the only regret I have is not taking the leap sooner.

  • Michael A. Hall
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, March 1999

    Those of us from general practice firms have a distinct advantage over our colleagues who concentrate in one or two areas of the law; namely, they need us more often than we need them

The Details


Have a suggestion for a practice resource? Please email Mark Mathewson.

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.