FTE to freedom: Managing risk as a solo practitioner

January 4, 2021

This is the fourth installment of a four-part series exploring the risks and rewards of freelance legal work. Be sure to read:

Join Ontra’s Legal Network

Even if you’ve made the decision to strike out on your own for all the right reasons, built a solid foundation for your business, and invested in growing your practice, you’ll still face an element of risk. Being a small business owner will always carry the possibility of strategic missteps, unreliable revenue streams, and market forces outside your control.

An external relationship can help you manage some of the risks, so you can focus your attention on lawyering. Legal practice management software solutions like Clio and Zola help solo practitioners consolidate case documents, client information, billing, and email. By bundling the essential elements of legal business practice, these solutions relieve some of the infrastructure burdens we discussed in previous blog posts.

Even if you invest in a powerful software suite to handle administrative tasks, you’ll still spend a considerable amount of time managing logistics and your client pipeline. To acquire, maintain, and collect on hours worked, you’ll need to “wine and dine” clients, participate in community organizations to build goodwill, and advertise your services through traditional and digital channels.

You might also find that bidding for work from your ideal clients — sophisticated enterprises with recurring legal needs — is difficult in a saturated market of elite law firms and AI-backed legal technology companies that can cut legal spending through automation. 

If you want to augment your current solo practice or, conversely, scale down your business and practice law on more of a part-time basis, you may want to consider becoming a member of Ontra’s Legal Network.

How Ontra supports solo practitioners

In addition to receiving infrastructural software support like email and case management, Ontra’s legal network members:

  • Set their own flexible schedules
  • Receive consistent revenue streams
  • Work virtually from anywhere with an Internet connection
  • Handle high-level projects for blue-chip clients
  • Have business development, billing, and collections managed for them

Working alongside Ontra shortens the runway for lawyers launching new ventures and removes some of the logistical challenges small practices face when seeking to grow.

Read Ontra's guide, “From FTE to Freedom”

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