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Tips for Starting a Law Firm With Friends

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's not exactly the American Dream, but starting a law firm with friends could be close to it.

It's almost like a family business, but without having to go home together. That's a plus in itself -- for some people.

In any case, choosing your partners will be the most important decision you make in the enterprise. Here are a few thoughts if you choose friends:

Choose Wisely

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Grail Knight made an epic observation when greedy Walter Donovan drank from the wrong cup. After Donovan shriveled up into a dusty skeleton, the knight said in a classic understatement: "He chose poorly."

The point is when choosing friends to start a law firm, don't choose that guy. Here's what you need to do:

  • Name your firm
  • Choose a location
  • Get your permits
  • Bring your equipment
  • Staff your office

Of course, the checklist goes on from there. It's business as usual, but you have to do it with friends instead of strictly business people.

Some things, like choosing whose name goes first, will be harder than others. Dissolving the firm could be as bad as a divorce.

Business First

The problem is, friends don't always make good partners. In other words, you have to put business first.

John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest businessman in American history, said "a friendship founded on business is a good deal better than a business founded on friendship."

Even working with family can be a problem. Just ask Donald Calaiaro, an attorney who hired his son as an office manager but fired him after he embezzled $827,000 from the firm.

The good news is, if you have to kick friends out the law firm, you don't have to live with them.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

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