Empathy With My Clients on My Second Anniversary

May 30th, 2008

June 1 marks the two year anniversary of starting my solo law practice. Recently a friend asked if it was what I expected, and it has taken me until now to think about how to really answer the question.

The answer is yes and no (you expected something different from a lawyer?).

Yes, the work itself is what I expected. I do more or less the same thing I did when I worked in larger law firms- a mix of (i) brand-new startups focused on getting off the ground and raising money and (ii) later-stage companies concerned with negotiating and signing revenue-generating deals as efficiently as possible.

The no has to do with the structure of the business itself. Working for yourself means wearing lots of hats.  The other day someone called and asked for the “billing department”, which interrupted the “maintenance department” in the process of changing a light bulb in my office, both of which stopped the lawyer from doing the actual work of my business- advising companies and negotiating transactions.

I knew that part intuitively, but experiencing it firsthand is totally different. I have advised startups and company founders for ten years now, and having been through the startup process myself I have a *far* deeper understanding of how hard it can be to juggle all the balls that need to stay in the air to keep a business running.

So to all my past and present founder clients- nice job keeping it all going, and keep up the good work!

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