Three Tips for Setting up a Freelance Practice in a New State

I didn’t realize the power of a network until I moved from Minnesota—where I went to law school and worked for three years—to Utah, where my network consisted of only a few family members who were attorneys. Over the past few months, I have learned some key lessons in building a new practice in a new state.   Ask other attorneys, “Whom should I talk to?” When I moved to Utah, I opened an appellate and freelance practice. I spent the first few months talking to the few attorneys I did know and asking them about which attorneys in the area did appellate work. I then contacted those attorneys and went out to lunch with them. And I asked them whom I should talk to. I did the same thing with freelancing—I asked those I knew about which attorneys could use some freelancing services. This way, I started to develop relationships with the group of attorneys who could either use my services or refer cases to me. Get involved in organizations where your ideal client is. I had to figure out who my ideal client was and who would refer those ideal clients to me. The next step was figuring out where those ideal clients and referral sources would be. For me, both my freelance clients and my referral sources for appeals were solo and small law firms (large law firms have in-house appellate groups, so my services would be redundant). So I got involved in a few Utah State Bar organizations where I expected the solos and smalls would be. I originally attended bar organizations for women, young lawyers, and labor and employment; I have recently reassessed where I found the most success so that I can narrow my focus, and I have consequently cut out the labor and employment section. I also attended several CLEs that were...

Introducing Emily Adams

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to post on MFAN’s blog! The attorneys at MFAN substantially impacted the way I thought about practicing law, and because of them, I am in the process of building a solo law firm—even though solo practice never crossed my mind in law school. Law school, although challenging, was a wonderfully exciting and stretching experience for me. I attended the University of Minnesota Law School, and I loved it. I ended up clerking after law school for the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a fantastic judge who mentored me and had very high standards. I learned immensely; words mattered and had to be chosen carefully; research must be accurate and recent. After my appellate clerkship, I clerked on the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota for another very intelligent judge. I learned firsthand that quality lawyering mattered, especially with frantic district-court schedules. During the two years I spent clerking, I saw many law school colleagues progress in their careers; many of them moved to different firms or in-house right around the two-years-out mark. I was surprised with how many expressed frustration with their employment. Because I had two small children by the time I finished my clerkship, I was especially keen to the hours worked and the practicality of daycare schedules and sick leave. My husband was in the process of becoming an attorney, also, so I became aware of how two-attorney households managed everything. And I was a little discouraged. I had eight months between the time I finished my federal clerkship (and had my second baby) and the day I would be leaving Minnesota for Utah. My husband was finishing law school, and we decided to move to Utah to be closer to family. Given the short time period I would be in Minnesota and the fact that I...

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