Starting Out Solo

  • 22 janvier 2021
  • Erin O’Rourke, principal lawyer

When COVID-19 hit, I was only two and a half months away from completing articling. It was the final hurdle in the long arduous process of becoming a lawyer. As law firms struggled to figure out next steps amidst the pandemic, hire-back and opportunities for first year associate positions were sparse. 

One day while researching associate positions for new calls I turned to my boyfriend and half-jokingly said, ‘well what if I just opened my own firm?’ He replied, ‘why not?’ Well, I had a few answers for that question. I was a brand-new lawyer, who was I to start a firm? Who would pay me? Where would I find clients? How would I afford running a firm, isn’t that expensive? What about my student debt? What about Bar fees and LAWPRO? Despite all of these daunting fears and questions, I was a brand-new lawyer with no job prospects. 

With more time on my hands during lockdown, I figured now was as good a time as ever to look into whether going solo was the best fit for me. I researched and read blog posts, I reached out to solo lawyers, I planned out financials, I joined Facebook groups, lurked #lawtwitter, and joined the OBA. I was absolutely amazed by how many lawyers were sole practitioners. In law school there was such an emphasis on getting a good articling position at a firm or organization, getting hired back and getting on a partner track. I never realized how many people actually go out on their own. 

After many pros and cons lists, I decided to take a chance on myself and open Erin O’Rourke Law. I must admit I am blessed to have many talented relatives who helped and supported me throughout this process. My cousin designed my logo, my uncle (who is also my financial advisor) assisted me in mapping out the finances and helped me build my website from scratch. My other cousins and uncle came up with some excellent slogans that I have yet to use (my personal favourite is: Choke on a Fork? Call Erin O’Rourke!).