Attorney Katie Ludwick recently made the big
decision to go out on her own and open a law
office. From day one, she has been documenting
her challenges and rewards for NWLawyer
readers. Follow along as she navigates the
business of law, finding clients, and the
resources that have helped her hang her own
shingle. Read her diary below, and join us in
wishing her the best of luck. –NWL
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
WHAT A DAY!
Today I opened the doors to my solo practice in downtown Bellevue. After working as a deputy
prosecuting attorney for Island County for the past two and a half years, I made the leap into private
practice with an initial focus on estate planning. I am excited, but terrified. I am entering a world full
of legal issues I haven’t touched since the bar exam. The good news is I know I killed civil procedure
on the bar exam. The bad news is I’m not entirely sure how to file a civil lawsuit.
Thankfully, I am office sharing with two older attorneys with a combined 96 years’ experience. Tack
on my own three years, and I feel confident about rounding the number up to an even 100. Maybe that
can be my slogan: “Slogging through a century’s worth of legal history so you don’t have to.”
I still have to make a lot of decisions. I have yet to commit to a case management program or
any accounting software. I literally brought nothing to the office today but my laptop and my cheery
disposition. However, I figure I can get away with waiting to make my decision about technology
until I have an idea of what my needs will be. It will be somewhat easy in the beginning as most of
my work will be contract work for one of the attorneys, who is also—full disclosure, Diary—my dad.
Even though I don’t know how much money I will be making, part of me is relieved that the contract
work should ensure prompt payment, provided there is enough work for me to do.
That said, I’m a little worried about working with my dad. Growing up, when I got frustrated with
his coaching on the basketball court, I had a tendency to chuck the ball at his head. I’m pretty sure I
can’t do the same with a stapler in the office, especially in front of clients. I will have to learn how to
have a professional relationship with my father.
Also, what do I call him in front of clients? Do I call him Dad or do I call him Jack? I’d better go with
Jack. That seems more professional, and might be a good icebreaker.
All these questions came up today, Diary, because on my very first day in the office, my dad and
I went out to lunch with clients. Even better, those same clients brought me cookies because they knew
it was my first day! That will definitely be something to get used to: people happy to see me. It was rare
anyone was happy to see me as a prosecutor. And I would never have accepted cookies from strangers.
Anyway, all in all, today was a good day. I had some issues with connecting to the printer in the
office, but I think I got everything ironed out. Can’t wait for day two!
Diary of a New Law Office
By Katie Ludwick