We’re happy to announce a new series that we’re launching on The Sociable Lawyer. Starting with today’s post, I’ll be connecting with attorneys from the Rocket Lawyer On Call network to profile them and take a look at how they’ve made the most of their practice. I hope you enjoy!
Many lawyers find entering solo practice to be an exhilarating experience. This was certainly the case for Pasadena, California-based attorney William DeClercq after entering solo practice last December: “This is the most fun I’ve ever had… by a lot. It’s shocking. It has reinvigorated my whole view of what it means to be a lawyer.”
After graduating from UCLA School of Law in 2005, and subsequently passing the bar that same year, DeClercq started his practice working in Big Law. Increasingly though, DeClercq began to feel that life in a big firm wasn’t for him. As a result, he moved to a California-based firm to breathe new life into his career. And he excelled at his new firm, having even received a “Super Lawyers” designation during that time. Still, he continued to feel like something was missing from his career. After talking with a friend who had recently entered solo practice, DeClercq thought to himself: “You can do that?” Not long thereafter, DeClercq set out to hang his own shingle.
Late last year he founded DeClercq Law Group in Pasadena. Before founding his own practice, he’d already earned significant experience while representing clients that ranged from new entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. Now, less than a year old, his new practice has already applied that experience towards successful resolution of a variety of interesting new cases for a diverse range of clients. He specializes in business litigation and real estate law, and, in that regard, he’s already been involved in landlord-tenant disputes, partnership dissolution, labor and employment matters, and real estate lawsuits. But he’s also enjoyed providing small business clients with general business advice; providing borrowers with loan modification tips; and helping partnerships resolve unanticipated business disputes. He’s also proudly accepted a number of pro bono cases which he describes as his “civic duty.”
Unsurprisingly, the demands of solo practice have presented some interesting challenges for DeClercq. Like all new businesses, DeClercq has had to find creative solutions to keep his revenue high and overhead low. For example, a shared office space and a simple, cost-effective website have helped him achieve the goal of keeping his overhead low without having to sacrifice productivity or the quality of his work.
Of course, many attorneys will recognize that the true challenge is continuously generating new business. DeClercq says that the trick for him has been to “fish in as many ponds as I can.” Namely, DeClercq has accepted contract work from other firms in addition to the business his firm has generated organically from referrals and word of mouth. DeClercq also noted that Rocket Lawyer’s On Call program has been a great source of new work for his office. For example, he noted that in the past month he has received about a dozen calls as a result of the program. About half of those calls have led to paying clients.
So, having successfully developed a thriving young practice, what’s been the best part of entering into solo practice? “I’m excited to go to work everyday. I’m excited about being a lawyer,” says DeClercq.