Independent Law Practice: Redefining Success

Tips for transitioning or scaling down to a solo practice.

By Jay Kamlet


When you consider moving from a large law firm to a small firm, or going it alone, think about it as a total career move. Such big career decisions need more personal investigation than most of us realize. As much as we don’t want to admit it, our self-image is in large part defined by our careers.

Working for a big-name law firm carries a lot of cachet. That can be difficult to leave behind — even if the work is not satisfying. After several years working at a firm, the creativity and excitement you felt as a new lawyer can erode. Lack of flexibility and the opportunity to practice law your way can wear down your enthusiasm about making a difference. As the years go by, that freedom seems further and further away.

Envision yourself in your new role as an entrepreneur but with all the skills and experience you have gained throughout your career. You are changing your career identity, but it is the next step forward in your personal journey.

A new definition of success

As you redefine the word “success” for yourself, think beyond career or professional success. Back at that big law firm, were you ticking all the boxes of success — money, status, connections — but left feeling exhausted and empty at the end of the day? Ask yourself honestly: Did you ultimately feel successful?

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the March 27, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.