When it comes to launching a successful law practice, a healthy financial foundation is essential, as it will allow a lawyer to focus on bringing in new business, Toronto tax litigation lawyer Peter Aprile tells Lawyers Weekly.
“Starting a practice is hard enough and I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m worried about making rent right off the bat,” says Aprile, principal of Counter Tax Lawyers.
Given that a reputation is the most valuable asset a lawyer has, Aprile also says in the article that it can be a recipe for disaster if decisions are made based on finances as opposed to servicing clients. Instead, he says, lawyers starting out should consider whether a purchase will benefit them in the future.
“People tend to focus on things like fancy office furniture, but that is where people would be wise not to take on those expenses, at least not in the short term. I think you need to be projecting the right image, but I don’t think it needs to be over the top,” he tells Lawyers Weekly.
For example, instead of going for lunch or a round of golf, Aprile says he prefers to visit clients at their offices or partake in “modest” activities.
“Making personal connections with people and having a cup of coffee with them and taking the time to go and meet with them at their offices is just as valuable,” he says.
Ultimately, Aprile tells Lawyers Weekly, costs can add up when a lawyer decides to start a practice, so it is a good idea to be cautious.
“I always have and would encourage people to be very willing to take risks but be conservative in terms of costs and things of that nature. Having a cash reserve, as well as a good relationship with the bank, and a healthy line of credit are other things that I would recommend for a lawyer starting their own practice.”