We’re very pleased to announce our newest columnist, Joleena Louis, a solo practitioner practicing matrimonial law in New York. Joleena has some great experiences to share about going solo in 2014 and she’ll be sharing them with you.
Sometimes you just know. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut and go for it. By way of introduction, my name is Joleena Louis and I am a matrimonial and family law attorney. A solo practitioner. I started my own law firm, Joleena Louis Law, in December 2013 after unsatisfying work at another small matrimonial firm.
Truth is, I never had a desire to start my own firm until I worked for a small matrimonial and PI firm in Brooklyn. I worked exclusively in the matrimonial practice side and it was just one of the partners and myself. It was very different than any of the firms I interned with and I was given a lot of responsibility right away. Over time I took on more and more of the work and eventually, I was practically running the matrimonial practice.
I loved my clients. This was good. I loved the work. Yet every day I went to work I found I was becoming increasingly unhappy. This wasn’t good. I was working so hard, putting so much effort into this practice and I wasn’t getting anything in return. I wasn’t getting paid a fair wage. I didn’t feel appreciated in any way. I had a lot of ideas as to how to run things more efficiently but my ideas were not acted on. My family, friends and even some of my adversaries kept telling me I should just open my own practice.
One day I was complaining to my husband about how I would make different business decisions about the firm than they were making, decisions. And my husband told me it was time to step up and do something about it . That was when I decided that it was time for me to stop complaining and take action.
The decision to go solo was difficult and it took me months to actually go through with it. I would be giving up a steady (but small) paycheck and the illusion of security that comes with that. And while some of my former law school classmates were still looking for their first full time permanent positions, I was voluntarily leaving one. What if I failed? It was definitely scary.
In the end, though, I just couldn’t bear to be employed anymore. I had no choice but to overcome my fears. I went for it. I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life.
I’ve learned a lot along the way and keep learning new things everyday about running a solo practice. And what I’m learning I wished I’d learned in law school. My goal is through this column to share some of the trials and triumphs I am encountering in these early years of my solo practice and if you are thinking of going solo, maybe what I have to share will make your journey a little easier. So, join me!
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.