Today we’re continuing with the latest installment in our series connecting with attorneys from the Rocket Lawyer On Call® network. As we’ve done with our last profile, we’re meeting with attorneys in our network to discuss how they’ve made the most of their practice. Read on!
There are many reasons attorneys choose to enter solo practice. In some cases, it’s because they aren’t satisfied with the direction of their career while working for someone else. In other cases, attorneys choose solo practice for the flexibility and control it provides them in juggling the many competing demands of a busy life. It was the latter that led Thousand Oaks, California attorney Kendall Taylor Jones to launch her first private practice.
Initially, Jones began her career working for Big Law. In fact, she began her career working as an associate in the Atlanta HQ for Alston & Bird LLP. She worked long hours, often as many as 60-70 hours a week, alongside the Atlanta office’s approximately 450 other attorneys in an office that occupies ten floors of the One Atlantic Center building which is a distinctive landmark of the Atlanta skyline. Jones says that she enjoyed her time working there, but nonetheless recognized that 60-70 hour work weeks weren’t compatible with her plans to start a family. “It was too much. I left when I was six months pregnant,” said Jones.
At first, she took it easy after leaving Alston & Bird. She taught GMAT courses for additional income and decided to learn Spanish. But the allure of legal practice called out to her. About a year after leaving Alston & Bird, a small practitioner contacted her about covering an upcoming trial for him. After all, Jones had already earned a reputation as an effective litigator with significant experience and it was work she enjoyed. She agreed to take the case. Afterwards, she decided she wanted to re-enter the legal world, but she was also determined to maintain her freedom and flexibility. As a result, she decided to start her own practice.
Over the subsequent years, Jones balanced her expertise as a lawyer and litigator with her passion for writing and contributing to various publications. Jones worked, at times, for magazines and digital publications while simultaneously practicing law as a solo attorney. Currently, Jones is the principal at her own law practice based in Thousand Oaks, California. Her practice includes significant work in defamation law, trademark law, copyright law, and general civil law. Indeed, Jones says that her work is best described as “representing clients in general business disputes of all kinds.”
Jones has found launching her own private practice to be exceptionally rewarding: “When you work for yourself you have a great deal of flexibility. I volunteer at my kids schools and in their girl scout troops.” She’s even been able to accept the responsibility of coaching her daughter’s high school Mock Trial team.
Like many attorneys founding their own private practice, the biggest challenge for Jones has been maintaining a steady book of business. But by valuing professional ethics and hard work, Jones has built a solid reputation. Specifically, Jones said she believes in always taking the high road and acting as an ethical attorney in every interaction with clients and potential clients. For example, she refuses to drum up work by encouraging clients to litigate when they may be better served by simply letting things cool off. Her values have paid off, and, as a result, she finds most of her work by word of mouth.
Additionally, Jones takes advantage of services like On Call to connect with clients: “I love this. I don’t know why everybody doesn’t use it.” Jones said that she was especially impressed by the opportunities for clients. On Call allows clients “instant gratification” by connecting them immediately with an attorney to discuss their case. It’s also paid off for her business as a number of these individuals have subsequently hired her to take their case.
Indeed, private practice has been good for Jones. Earlier this year she led her daughter’s high school Mock Trial team to their second consecutive win at the California State Championship. Meanwhile, her private practice has been thriving: “I haven’t been this busy in awhile, but that’s a good thing.”