Accounting for Law
Estates & Wills & Trusts, Real Estate

Stay organized, network when starting law firm

The learning curve can be steep for lawyers going out on their own — making resiliency, flexibility and organization essential steps to success, Toronto real estate and wills and estates lawyer Lisa Laredo tells Lawyers Weekly.

“I cried a lot in the first few years, but I’m calmer now,” Laredo, principal of Laredo Law, says in the article.

“You feel you’re always on call, work never stops, but once you become more adept, it gets better. It’s a crazy learning curve. It’s lonely by yourself, and at first you feel you know nothing, so you need to have a mentor and reach out to others for help,” she adds.

Laredo, who founded her firm eight years ago, tells Lawyers Weekly that she has plenty of practical advice for her former self, including: “Keep your costs low and stay organized. My world is colour-coded.”

Also, she says, be sure to pay your Law Society dues, make sure you have enough errors and omissions insurance coverage and enough money for decent office equipment and initial operating expenses.

Laredo also suggests working with an accountant and bookkeeper who are competent. The first time she was audited by the Law Society, she says, it turned out her bookkeeper was disorganized and Laredo’s trust accounts were in chaos.

“It was a nightmare, a terribly stressful time, and it eventually cost me $5,000 to have a chartered accountant fix everything,” she explains.

“My advice is, spend money wisely upfront on professionals you can trust and rely on. Don’t cut corners on things that will affect your business. And be aware that you will be audited by the law society. For me, the initial audit was horrifying, but I learned that audits are routine, and they’re helpful.”

Laredo advises that lawyers starting a law practice should begin networking and marketing.

“You eat what you kill, and most months you starve,” she says. She also recalls having to overcome her early discomfort around billing clients.

“To start with, it’s hard to ask for money, such as retainers,” says Laredo.

To Read More Lisa Laredo Posts Click Here
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