Here’s an extract from Legal Week on lawyers who have become entrepreneurs by Sofia Lind.
From the ground up – ex-lawyers who found success going it alone
They say lawyers aren’t the type to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, but Sofia Lind speaks to four ex-lawyers who found success in going it alone
“Lawyers don’t make natural entrepreneurs, with law firm training geared towards risk management and cautiousness.” This sentiment from one former lawyer sums up the general feeling about lawyers as businessmen.
While a number of lawyers have successfully cashed in their chips to start afresh with their own businesses, it seems that many of the City’s finest believe these ex-lawyer entrepreneurs to be the exception rather than the rule…
The entrepreneurial Bar
Could it be that while solicitors are used to leaning on the security of their partnership that the self-employed barrister has a more natural make-up for entrepreneurship?
Tim Kevan is a barrister turned fiction author who also runs his own successful online webinar business. His first novel, Law and Disorder – Confessions of a Pupil Barrister (also known under working title BabyBarista and the Art of War), was derived from his acclaimed BabyBarista blog, while his second novel Law and Peace will be published by Bloomsbury in May 2011.
Kevan draws on his 10 years practising at 1 Temple Gardens in London. He specialised in credit hire, personal injury, civil fraud and sports law. Unlike many others who have left the law, he strongly intends to return to his practice, albeit in his new home of the West Country rather than the Big Smoke.
Kevan thinks the argument for barristers trumping solicitors as entrepreneurs is two-sided. On the one hand, barristers have the freedom to plan their own time and how much they work, but on the other, any day without work is a day without pay.
However, especially for his own writing career, he thinks being a barrister was helpful in developing his storytelling skills. He says: “Barristers are very much storytellers and communicators. You are constantly presenting the client’s side of things in the best light possible.” He thinks lawyers make good entrepreneurs: “Lawyers are bright, dynamic people so should translate quite easily into business people. As a barrister you are used to running your own business from day one.”
And Kevan does have some advice that might suit the business-minded but risk-averse lawyer entrepreneur, whether they are a solicitor or not. “Go for it, if you want to. But the best advice is to start from the bottom up rather than the top down. Build up a base of customers first rather than just launching around a big idea. Then you are starting something that can grow organically.”