Is the expression “entrepreneurial lawyer” an oxymoron? As lawyers are fond of saying, “It depends.” First, from various sources, definitions of “entrepreneur.”

“...a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and accepts full responsibility for the inherent risks and the outcome of a product.”

“...an innovator who establishes a new business...strong beliefs about market opportunities...willingly accept a high level of personal, professional and financial risk.

“...the recognition and pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources you currently control, with confidence that you can succeed, with the flexibility to change course as necessary, and with the will to rebound from setbacks."

“...doing something which they feel gives them control over their future...like to set their own course.”

Looking at law firm forms, two are easy, after which, well, “It depends.” The easy ones:

BigLaw: I’d have a hard time calling most BigLaw lawyers entrepreneurs. Their only real risks are compensation reduction and getting fired. I’m not belittling those, but they’re really no different than with any other job. Granted, they take emotional risks whenever they step outside to try to make a sale.

Solos: They seem inherently to be entrepreneurs. It’s their capital, everything is at risk, and they’re definitely setting their own course.

But, what of lawyers in five-, ten- or twenty-lawyer firms? Or 50? Or 100? Is there really a bright line? Or, is it all about individual lawyers rather than firms? Here’s a short quiz that will give you a taste of what the research says. Click here to complete this survey online and we’ll share the results with you.

Entrepreneur traits.jpg

For help with this, I turned to Entrepreneur magazine, who conveniently offer 10 Traits All Successful Entrepreneurs share. To what degree does this describe you?

Mike O'Horo

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