Illinois Bar Journal Features Attorney Sarah Toney’s Advice for Lawyers Starting Their Own Practices

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Sarah Toney, of The Toney Law Firm, spoke at an Illinois State Bar Association conference about the dos and don’ts attorneys should follow when branching out on their own. Her advice was recently discussed in the association’s monthly magazine.

The Toney Law Firm

The Illinois Bar Journal’s February 2014 issue included an article that covered tips by Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Sarah Toney for how lawyers can avoid common mistakes when they venture out as solo practitioners or launch their own law firms. The article was titled “Law Office Management: Practice-Launching Tips for Solos and Small Firms,” and it was included in the February 2014 issue, Volume 102, Number 2, Page 72. The article provided a recap of the advice given by Attorney Toney and another lawyer in a presentation at the bar association’s 2013 ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference. Attorney Toney’s practices criminal defense through her Chicago firm, The Toney Law Firm.

According to the article, the two lawyers covered a broad spectrum of topics at their speaking engagement, discussing what to do and not do when it comes to setting up an office, drawing in clients and retaining them, handling billing and banking, and dealing with bookkeeping and answering the phone. In speaking on the first topic, tips for setting up an office, Attorney Toney advised lawyers to start slowly. She explained that the legal practitioner should avoid overcommitting, such as by signing a lengthy office lease, purchasing office equipment that is not really needed purchasing an expensive company car before the lawyer even gets the chance to see what his or her volume of business will be like. She mentioned that another aspect of setting up an office is obtaining the right technology in a cost-effective way.

On the topic of attracting and retaining clients, Ms. Toney explained how Facebook and blogging can be highly effective tools, according to the article. When discussing billing and banking, she said solo practitioners and small firms will need to set a couple of bank accounts, usually a trust account designated for client funds and a an operating account. Credit card processing is another factor these lawyers and firms may need to consider, she said. As for bookkeeping and reception duties advice, Attorney Toney stressed the importance of hiring a strong support staff, which should include an accountant, a bookkeeper and a secretary.

Attorney Toney is a highly acclaimed Chicago criminal defense attorney. She has been selected for inclusion in the list of Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ for the past five years (an achievement that was featured in Chicago Magazine), and she has received a 10.0 Super rating by Avvo. She has been appointed to serve on the Assembly for the Illinois State Bar Association, and she has served and continues to serve on various councils and boards for this organizations and for others. Furthermore, Ms. Toney teaches law as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University of Chicago Law School.

The Toney Law Firm provides high-quality defense in a wide range of criminal matters, including cases for both state and federal crimes. The Chicago law firm serves clients throughout Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties. Additional information about the firm is available at

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Sarah Toney
since: 08/2012
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