You feel out of your depth on a matter
All lawyers, from time to time, suffer from imposter syndrome. However it is quite different if you have taken on a new case or entering a new area of practice. Quick fix: Reach out to another more experienced lawyer for help. While it is uncomfortable to ask for help, many lawyers are more than happy to assist you.
Your clients are giving you trouble
You can have challenging clients (ones not getting back to you, cancelling appointments) or impossible clients (argumentative, pushing boundaries). Quick fix: Identify those that are so impossible to work with and see if you can refer them to another attorney who might be able to handle them (with full disclosure to the new attorney, of course). For example, we once had a probate client who was always emotional, would not follow our instructions and our meetings turned into therapy sessions. We sought help from an older male attorney who assisted us with her case. Because the dynamic changed, she somehow kept her emotions in check and we were able to resolve her case.
You should also be judicious in choosing which clients to represent. Read our post, Avoiding Problematic Clients – 9 Read Flags to Watch For.
You aren’t getting paid
You zealously represent your client. Shouldn’t they be zealous in paying you? It is uncomfortable to ask clients for payment. It is also time-consuming to following up on invoices and make collection calls. Quick Fix: Get a retainer. Clients will be more responsive if they have already paid part of your fee. Keep on top of your clients and don’t be shy about asking for payment. Read our post, Solo Law Practitioners 101: How to Get Paid.
You are lonely being a solo practitioner
While it is nice to be your own boss, sometimes it is hard to do everything on your own. Quick fix: Find places to network with other attorneys or other business owners. Start your own networking group. Read our post, 7 Tips to Beat Loneliness in Solo Law Practice .
You are overwhelmed.
When you are in charge of everything it is hard to say “no” or give yourself a break. Quick Fix: Identify your pain points and see where you can get help. Can you outsource tasks or work with other attorneys? We recommend that you have a number of people you can contact for help. Read our post, Do You Have the Right Support Team for Solo Law Practice?
Finally, if you are not loving your law practice now, you may just need a break from it. Read our post, 5 Reasons a Solo Lawyer Needs Vacation.
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.