A lot of people become disillusioned with the law because they become frustrated with the lack of control over the working day. Solicitors are often brought into deals late on to record the terms, and associates/assistants are the workhorses of the recording process, with little final say over the content. It can be a grind to reach partnership. Moving in-house provides a more commercial working environment but career progression can be stilted. Setting up your own firm can potentially address all these aspects in one stroke.
A USP, some kind of very basic following, and strong nerves are required, but the potential upside is huge. There is a initial outlay in investment, insurance being one of the most expensive costs. It is certainly easier setting up with two or three others because the burden is shared and the interaction is invaluable. Suddenly a new client is exciting not a drag. A 2am finish is good news. One continues to practice, but there is also a business to run and whilst you need to become a PR, accounts, and administrative expert, this can provide a welcome change. Confidence to be the decision maker is required, on behalf of clients and in relation to your own business. You earn what you earn, and so a few quiet weeks can lead to sleepless nights.
Check existing restrictive and non-solicitation covenants in your employment contract before gauging client interest, if such potential clients are on the radar. Once you have decided the idea is feasible you need to decide on whether you will be a partnership or LLP (which has a subsequent bearing on costs), a business plan, a meeting with the bank, a rough idea about office space and costs, and an insurance quote. Unexpected costs inevitably arise (eg. Insurance and Law Society fees are more costly as an LLP). Other logistics include deciding on a name, finding an office, ordering IT, building a website, ordering stationery etc.