The phrase "hang your shingle" is commonly used to define a lawyer's bold decision to embark on a formidable journey toward self-employment. This locution clearly oversimplifies the process that goes into finally opening one's doors. For that reason, I prefer the analogy "build your house." As a young lawyer and entrepreneur, I chose to build my own practice directly out of law school, and through research, experience, and trials and errors, I have created a toolbox of ideas that can be used to build your house.
As a business-law practitioner, my first inquiry to a new client is whether or not he or she has developed a business plan. Unfortunately, all too often, the answer is no. A business cannot achieve success without a clear plan analyzing one's current identity, resources, and goals and setting a distinct timeline for plan implementation. Copious planning will save time, frustration, and money.