By John T. Funk, Funk & Spandau
When my partner Ben Spandau and I set out in our second year of law school to start our own law practice, Funk & Spandau LLC, we didn’t have much guidance. Granted, we took a wonderful Law Practice Management class at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law that we highly recommend, but for the most part the leg work, the grunt work was ours to do. That left us scratching our heads and thinking, “where do we even begin?” So, we hit the pavement. We met with attorney after attorney; some big firms and some small firms. We got great advice and encouragement and we got some hard truth too. We knew it was going to be tough. We had to press people to get insight from them about slogans, financial planning, billable rates, marketing, accounting, firm management software — anything from A to Z that needs to be considered when deciding to hang your shingle. We gleaned all of this information from as many different attorneys as we could. We had legal pads full of notes and ideas, suggestions and advice. What we didn’t have was a central place to get answers.
Enter IndyBar’s brand new product, Practice Builder. Practice Builder is designed to give new firms and those taking the plunge and starting their own shops a place to go. A place to ask questions, a place to get answers, and a place to learn and develop their law firms. The IndyBar has taken some of the “hitting the pavement” elements out of the process of starting your own firm. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still advocate for getting out there and meeting folks, and learning from those who have done it. But, instead of piles and piles of legal pads filled with notes and ideas, new firms will have a centralized location to help them get information on general topics such as forming a practice, building visibility, managing a practice, protecting your practice and succession and wellness. These are major topics that must be addressed, considered and planned for. Building my own firm is one of the hardest things I have done, but the new IndyBar Practice Builder is here to help new firms prepare to succeed.
Practice Builder comes with additional links and topics and helpful hints as well as a software library, resources in abundance and webinars and podcasts. Everyone learns and likes to acquire info differently, and Practice Builder addresses those needs with different ways to learn about how to build and maintain a successful practice. As the IndyBar was designing Practice Builder, I was flattered that they asked for my input. As I perused the website during its creation, I was amazed at the amount of content that is available. I was excited and jealous at the same time. This much info in one centralized location simply wasn’t available to Ben and me when we made the decision to start Funk & Spandau. But, luckily for new lawyers and those in law school considering starting their own firms, they have a place to go! I still say (and Practice Builder suggests the same) there is no substitute for getting out there and meeting your future colleagues and bouncing ideas off of them. But after those meetings you can always come back to the site and take it step-by-step, tab-by-tab, and figure out what questions you need answered and what plans you need to have in place.
Starting your own law firm is nerve-wracking, exhilarating, and rewarding, but Practice Builder helps make it a reality for those considering hanging their own shingle. Practice Builder is now available for purchase! Get details and pricing information at indypracticebuilder.org.•