If you’re a successful mid-career lawyer who never considered starting a law firm, then this is for you. If you’re reasonably happy at your current firm, but you have a nagging feeling that you may not live the life that you hope to, if you continue on your current path, then I’m making this for you. Truth is, I’m not sure whether anyone will get any value out of this or, or be interested in this effort, but this is the content that I personally would’ve wanted more than anything. When I was considering quitting my big law partnership and launching my own firm almost four years into launching my firm, I have made many mistakes, and I am just getting started. I will make millions more, but I’ve learned a couple things along the way, and I’m hoping to share them. In fact, I feel compelled to share them. I need to get this off my chest, almost like a sneeze. And so I’m hoping that if only one person gets some value out of this content, then I’ll consider it a success. Success. For the first 17 years of my law practice, I was at am law 100 and 200 firms, including almost 15 years at a terrific firm in Chicago where I was a partner in its construction law group for almost seven years, making me one of several hundred partners along with several hundred associates. And at the time that I first started to think about law firm management, I wasn’t thinking about it for me. I was actually thinking about how I might help my wife, who also was in big law before starting her own firm. I was thinking about how I might be able to help her have a better running firm and a and a more efficient firm and a and a happier lifestyle. But over time, as I was taking in all this content, mostly in the form of podcasts, I started to develop a nagging feeling that maybe it had some relevance to me. I had a nagging feeling that maybe something was not quite right with my professional situation. Even though by all accounts, I had exactly what anybody would’ve wanted. I I was working at a wonderful firm with wonderful people and had a job that I really enjoyed. But I’ve got four kids and there’s a lot that I want to do with my life, and this requires time, and it requires the means to do these things. And, and over time, time, I started to just wonder whether I was on the right path. But the idea of starting something new, you know, quitting my job, you know, finding a new job or starting a firm was, you know, really frightening. And I was very influenced by a terrific author and thinker named Seth Godin, in particular, his book The Dip, which makes a lot of brilliant arguments, but one of them is, is that the notion that winners never quit is actually bad advice. Godin argues that strategic quitting meaning quitting the right things can actually be a, a real key to success. You know, and specifically, you know, you want to quit the things that don’t make sense for you to hang with, and then stick with the things that do, you know? And so, you know, this conventional wisdom, you know, that winners never quit. You know, it doesn’t really make sense if you think about it. You know, Godin makes the point that if the secret to success in life were never quitting, and instead putting your nose to the grind grindstone and, and, and pushing ahead, if that were the path to success, then how come everybody who tries that you know, is not successful? I can think of hundreds of brilliant big law firm attorneys with their noses of the grindstone that maybe are not achieving the success that they’re looking for. And so I think that the million dollar question is, you know, is it strategic for you to make a change? Or is it really an imperative actually for you to make a change? Or, or would it, would it be unwise? Would you be better off just continuing on your current path or maybe finding a similar path? And I’m hoping that this will help you think that question through. So I guess the first question is, you know, should you be quitting what, what you’re doing right now? Or should you be sticking with it? And then I guess the second question is, is if you decide that you, you ought to quit, you know, are you meant to work for someone else? Or would it be possible for you to start your own law firm and work for yourself? Now, I was shocked to learn that starting and running a law firm is easier now in 2023 than it’s ever been before. That’s not to say that it isn’t quite hard, but it’s hard in ways that were different than what I expected. You know, at the time that I was staring over the precipice wondering whether this crazy idea starting my own law firm is something I should pursue, what I was worried about is client acquisition. You know, like many of you, who are the clients? You know, where are they coming from? You know, and was I going to be able to avoid going broke? Or would this starting a law firm just be a misadventure that I regretted? But what I learned is I was actually scared about the wrong things. It turned out that client acquisition and not going broke was actually much easier than I thought. You know, if I wanted to be scared about the right things. I wished a couple years ago, I had read a brilliant book by Michael Gerber called the E-Myth Revisited, why Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do about It. Now, this is a brilliant book, and Gerber makes the argument that the fatal assumption for people who start businesses is that if they understand how to do technical work, then they will necessarily understand how to run a business that produces technical work. In other words, if you’re a great lawyer, then you know you’re necessarily going to understand how to run a business that produces excellent legal work. You know? And Berger Gerber makes the argument that, that that assumption is not true at all. And I think that’s particularly the case if you are thinking about starting a firm where you’re considering growing. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with starting your own firm and just working for yourself and, and being a true solo and doing excellent work. There’s absolutely no virtue in growth for the sake of growth. But there’s a very big difference, Gerber argues between creating a business and creating a place for you to go to work. There’s a difference between being a freelancer and creating a job for yourself versus creating a business. This, this is something Seth Goad talks a lot about as well. And if your experience is like mine, if you’re sitting there watching this video and the content is hitting home for you the way that it would’ve for me several years ago, you should be scared. You should feel fear. And I think that that’s perfectly normal. I was very much influenced by the great author Stephen Pressfield, and specifically his terrific book, the Art of War, where he talks about this notion of resistance, this resistance that we feel inside of us. Pressfield describes it as the enemy within, or a force of nature, and that this is something that stops us from doing what we ought to do. And Pressfield describes resistance as something that presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications about why we shouldn’t do our work, about why we shouldn’t do the things that we’re really, you know, called to do or, or being pulled towards. You know? And, and he argues what’s particularly insidious about it is that many of these justifications are true. I mean, personally, right now, I should probably be focusing on running my law firm and taking care of my wife and my four kids, not, you know, creating this content, but I had to get this out of me. And after several years of planning, I’ve decided that I need to do it. Press field makes the argument that procrastination is the most common manifestation of resistance. And he argues that if you’re afraid, that’s good, because resistance, this thing inside of us that tends to keep us from doing what we’re meant to do is often presented as fear, and it’s what keeps us from becoming who we’re meant to be. Pressfield argues that combating this resistance is how you turn pro. He makes the argument that amateurs don’t love game enough to get past the resistance. But, you know, the professional, by contrast, Pressfield argues, is someone who acts in the face of their fear because the professional knows that the fear can never be overcome. And even though I’m feeling very good about where my law firm is right now, I’m scared every day, and I don’t think that that’s likely to change, but I understand that it, it is something that I need to push through. So if you’re feeling massive resistance inside of this idea of making a change, whether it’s quitting your current job, you know, or, or striking out on your own, I think that’s good. You know, press field makes the point that the more that you’re feeling, that fear, that resistance, the more important your unmanifested art or project or enterprise, you know, it is to you. And the more gratification you’re going to feel when you finally get to do it. And, and I also should also talk about how important Seth Boden Godin’s, terrific book The Icarus deception was for me at the time that I was an am at 200 partner staring at over the precipice, wondering whether this crazy idea of starting my own law firm was something that I should really consider. And Godin makes the point that there is such a thing as a comfort zone, and there’s such a thing as the safety zone. And he points out that, you know, in the old economy, the way things used to be, when, if you’re like me, you know, back when I started my law career, they used to be the same thing for me. You know, the comfort zone and the safety zone for, you know, almost 15 years were the corner office. It was the fancy law firm, the big law partnership. You know, it was comfortable and it was safe. But over time, I came to realize that while it continued to be quite comfortable, it no longer felt safe. And, you know, I realized that it wasn’t safe if I wanted to live the kind of life that I aspired to and to achieve my goals. Godin makes the argument that we are no longer in an industrial economy, but instead in a connection economy and in this new economy, which, you know, I I hope to talk about more in the future. The safety zone has changed. It’s moved, but the comfort zone has not. And so Godin makes the point that recognizing that the safety zone has moved, it might be the prompt that you need to reevaluate your comfort zone. Because if you can’t realign your comfort zone with today’s new safety zone, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Now, I’m, I’m very happy about four years into starting my firm. I feel like I’ve found, you know, my new safety zone. I feel like I’ve aligned it with my comfort zone because I’ve done what Seth Godin recommends, which is becoming comfortable with the behavior that is most likely to make me safe going forward. I’m not that comfortable with recording videos and putting myself out there into the world. I’ve never been very comfortable with this. You know, me, me, me, look at me culture. But I’ve realized that this is a very different world that we are in right now than the world that we are in when I started my law practice 22 years ago. And you have to consider whether you’re willing to recognize this difference and adapt to it. You know, a few years ago, what really pushed me over the edge towards this change that I made in addition to many other things I’ll talk about is my realization that the years were accumulating like snowfall, you know, silently like snowfall. And the fallout was, you know, me getting older and further along in my career and in my life. And I became convinced that if I didn’t make a change, I was going to find myself at the end of my law career, you know, in 20 years, you know, with grown children. And I might not be at the destination that I hoped to get to. So I hope that those of you who find what I’m saying, interesting, if this is striking a chord with you, I hope that you’ll continue on and listen to a few more of the things that went through my mind, both before I leapt out and started my firm and the things that I’ve thought about over the last four years. And in the event that there is one person out there who gets some value out of what I’m saying here, I’ll consider it a terrific success.