Solo Practitioners’ Perspectives: Octavio Duran

Interviewed by Kenny Matuszewski

Where do you work?

Octavio: I run my own law firm, Duran Law Offices. I opened it about a month ago.

What do you practice?

Octavio: I practice in personal injury. I represent people who are injured in any capacity, whether it’s medical negligence, aviation or construction disasters, or trucking accidents.

Why did you decide to start your law firm?

Octavio: I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur. I also want to run things my way, with the most sophisticated and organized system possible. Ultimately, I want to be able to use technology, policies, and procedures to give my clients the best representation and customer service possible.

Did you use any particular resources when starting your own law firm?

Octavio: Yes.  I immediately bought client support software and have been relying on my marketing and business lead-generation teams.

Should solos start as generalists, or should they specialize in a particular practice area right away?

Octavio: No, they shouldn’t. It’s very tempting to take any business that walks in the door, but I believe the better, more successful attorneys are specialists. I also think there is a big opportunity cost in having to learn multiple aspects of law, instead of working on one.

How do you balance your legal work with running a business?

Octavio: I do most of my legal drafting before 8am and after 6pm. I have meetings, court, and depositions between these times. So far, it seems to be working.

What do you do to generate business?

Octavio: The CBA has been an instrumental tool in business generation for me. It has given me the opportunity to meet multiple attorneys and develop business referral relationships. I also cater heavily to the Latinx community, so I give presentations to these members.

Currently, you’re the Chair of the CBA’s YLS. What drew you to the YLS, and what made you want to be Chair?

Octavio: Mentors and friends that I made through the YLS encouraged and inspired me to become a member and to push for leadership roles. The YLS is one of the strongest hubs for leadership development. I wanted to be chair because I wanted to advance what prior chairs accomplished and pass on all that they taught me.

What has been your most memorable experience with the CBA so far?

Octavio: One of my favorite events was hosting two historically underprivileged schools at the CBA headquarters for a Holiday Party. The children were about 5-6 years old. We had our very own Santa and we put on various games and events for them.  One of the games involved throwing hoops on the reindeer’s antlers, and I was one of the reindeer. The smiles and joy that this brought the children always made my day.

Why should solo practitioners invest their time in the CBA?

Octavio: Any solo practitioner who wants to be successful should invest their time in the CBA because it provides a plethora of tools that they can use. For instance, I have access to older attorneys who are now co-counsel on trials. Others have been helping me on the business side of building a law practice. Needless to say, I have access to a very wide community of attorneys who can refer me business.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your own law firm?

Octavio: It is very important to have a well-defined business plan. I had what I believed to be established ideas and visions, but it is more beneficial to have everything in writing.

Why should younger attorneys go solo?

Octavio: I would encourage younger attorneys to go solo only if they have the following: a solid book of business, knowledge on how to generate business, and a good handle on the law. If they don’t have all three, I would actually discourage young attorneys from going solo. Starting a law practice and practicing law is challenging. Anyone doing it needs to have some assurances they can float on their own.

Do you have any last pieces of advice?

Octavio: I always encourage people to use the CBA for the community. Whether its shaking hands or talking to other attorneys and judges, it only opens up opportunities for business development. Additionally, it enhances attorneys’ recognition in the legal community.

About Octavio:

Octavio is the Principal Attorney of Duran Law Offices, where he dedicates his practice to representing individuals and families in all areas of personal injury including automobile collisions, construction negligence, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and premises liability. Octavio has had much success in his young career. He has acquired millions of dollars for his clients and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2013-Present. Octavio is an active member of the legal community. He formerly served as the Parliamentarian for the Alumni Association Board for Michigan State University College of Law. Currently, he is the Chair of the YLS for the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. Previously, he served as the chair of the Tort Litigation Committee for the CBA and the social chair for the YLS. Through both organizations, Octavio has launched several fundraising functions that will benefit law school students and the legal community. When he is not volunteering for political candidates, he spends his time running and biking. He recently placed in the top 1% of all runners in Race Judicata, a race that raises funds for the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.

 

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