Elizabeth J. Ferguson is a woman who wears many hats. Not only because the San Angelo, TX attorney must handle a variety of legal matters for her community but also because she is a hat aficionado.
She graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder and New York Law School. After practicing in New York, she settled back in her hometown to start her solo law practice. She has fully embraced social media and has a great website that incorporates video. You can check it out at www.elizabethjferguson.com.
In our interview, she shares her secrets of her solo success.
Q. Why did you make the leap to start your own law firm?
A. I was working in local government representing guardianships and indigent people. It is difficult, heartbreaking work and I found little variation in the caseload. I really wanted to practice a variety of law.
Q. What makes your practice unique?
A. Being in a small Texas town, you must handle many different client matters. I represent landowners and interest holders of oil and gas rights. There are many local businesses that need help with entity formation, contracts and debt collection. I represent individuals with estate planning, social security denials, civil litigation and criminal misdemeanors.
Q. What do you wish you knew before jumping in?
A. I wish I appreciated how much time you must put into a solo practice that is not actually billable hours.
Q. What advice would you tell someone who is considering solo practice?
A. Invest in a great website. Make SEO a priority in your budget. Hawk Web Design has been instrumental to my success, there are ways you can build your own website, but for the SEO I would definitely recommend a web developer. Use social media. I have had success with boosting posts on Facebook, so much so I had to set a budget! Also learn the delicate balance of pitching your service without giving away free legal advice.
Q. What do you enjoy most about having your own firm?
A. I enjoy the variety of work that I do. I love solving people’s problems. As my own boss, I still work many hours, but I can decide when I want to work those hours.
Q. What social media account do you find most effective?
A. I use my social media accounts for different purposes. I use Facebook for more formal posts and I find those reach an older audience. Instagram is for more fun, legal memes which attract my younger clients.
And Now Some Random Questions…
Q. If someone gave you $10,000 to give to charity, which one would it be and why?
A. I would split it between two charities. Half would go to the Humane Society and half would go to a local organization, ARC of San Angelo. They have a Guardianship Alliance that provides guardians for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities that have no one else to care for them.
Q. If someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere, where would it be and why?
A. The French Polynesias. I would love to go to Tahiti and Bora Bora. Or San Francisco to visit my best friend and the headquarters of my favorite hat shop, Goorin Brothers.
Q. What is the next thing you want to learn?
A. Mindful coping skills and self-care. Some of the clients and cases I deal with are heartbreaking. It is hard not to take that home with you.
Q. What cheers you up after a stressful day?
A. Being in Texas, I enjoy cooling down at home with a glass of wine and hanging out with my 2 doggies, Lil Dan (girl, 10 years old) and Gertie (girl, almost 2 years old).
Want more tips and advice for your awesome law practice? Check out Law Office on a Laptop, Second Edition: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Law Mobile Law Practice.