Starting Your Solo Practice: The Basics of Starting a Solo Practice (10/26/2021)

Are you thinking of hanging a shingle as a solo or starting your own small law firm? Do you already have your own practice or firm but want to know more about updating your business model to make your firm more client focused? This seminar is for you! In this 90-minute CLE, our panelists will cover the basics of starting a client-centric law practice, including where to start, entity formation, how to set expectations and establish a robust client communication policy, best practices on setting your prices, and the importance of innovation.


Stephanie Garces, founder of Garces Law, LLC. Stephanie A. Garces Donat is the founder of Garces Law, LLC. Stephanie is an experienced bilingual attorney who prides herself in fighting for her clients while exceeding their expectations. Garces Law concentrates on Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Real Estate, and Civil Litigation. Stephanie obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with honors. She received her Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law. She is licensed in both Illinois and the Northern District of Illinois. Stephanie is an active member of the community and has a passion for helping others. She serves as a pro bono attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Erie Neighborhood House helping individuals with immigration issues. She is an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Northwest Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, and the Elgin Paralegal Advisory Board. Stephanie has been recognized as a Rising Star and Super Lawyer for 2020 and 2021. When Stephanie is not practicing law, she enjoys exercising, traveling, swimming, and going on walks with her dogs.

Nadine Heitz, founder of Heitz Immigration Law. Nadine Heitz grew up in Toronto, where she was born to German immigrant parents who came to Canada for a better future. After a successful career as a marketing executive in Canada, Nadine brought her family to the U.S. on a TN visa to manage a high-volume immigration law practice for five years. It was here that she embarked on a career in law and began her own immigration journey towards U.S. citizenship. Nadine is a member of the California State Bar and launched her solo practice in 2015 in the coastal town of Lake Worth Beach in Florida where she lives with her husband and three children. Heitz Immigration Law represents foreign nationals in all immigration areas with a strong focus on clients from Canada, Haiti, and the Nordic countries. Her passion has always been technology so to better share tips and learn from others, she started a Facebook group called Technology for Immigration Practitioners or TIP, a space where immigration lawyers can discuss how to leverage technology to improve their immigration practice. Nadine is currently the chair of the AILA South Florida Practice Management Committee and was last year’s Vice Chair. 

Darren Perconte, founder of Perconte Law. Darren Perconte provides affordable and tailored legal services to business owners and professionals. He draws upon his legal and business experience to pursue specific, client-focused solutions to legal issues. Darren understands that every client faces a different situation, so he offers a range of payment plans and representation options, including limited scope, unbundled services, and coaching. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative for four years. Darren earned his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School and his B.A. from Boston College.

Reid Trautz, JD and Senior Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Practice & Professionalism Center. Reid Trautz is a lawyer, author, and practice management advisor who helps lawyers improve their businesses and the delivery of legal services to their clients. He serves as Senior Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Practice & Professionalism Center. He is a frequent speaker at legal conferences throughout North America on the issues of management, technology, legal ethics, and attorney-client communications. Reid is co-author of the book The Busy Lawyer's Guide to Success: Essential Tips to Power Your Practice, published by the ABA. He is a past chair of ABA TECHSHOW, the legal profession’s premier technology conference. Today he serves as Co-Chair of the ABA Law Practice Division Futures Initiative and co-authors the Future Proofing column for Law Practice magazine. Reid is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. In 2012 he was honored in the sophomore class of the Fastcase 50, recognizing innovators in legal technology. Prior to his focus on the business of practicing law, Reid was a partner in a five-lawyer firm in Alexandria, Virginia. Reid leads an active family life with his wife and three sons. When not at home in Virginia, they like to travel the US, discover local diners, drive-ins and dives, and ride roller coasters until they can't anymore.

Moderated by: Ericka A. McFee, founder of McFee Law Offices. Her immigration law practice focuses on a broad range of matters, including business and family immigration, removal defense, humanitarian relief, and citizenship. Her family law practice currently focuses on divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities. She is an active volunteer with several legal aid organizations, including National Immigrant Justice Center and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. Ericka received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Germanic Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and a Juris Doctor with a concentration in immigration law from New England Law | Boston in 2014. She is admitted to practice in Illinois, Massachusetts, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Seventh Circuit. She is a proud November 2018 graduate of the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), an incubator program that helps innovative attorneys build and grow socially conscious yet sustainable firms that help bridge the access to justice gap.

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Live CBA Committee meetings and seminars will take place via Zoom webinar.  You will click on "view video" and be directly connected to the meeting/seminar on Zoom.  (You will not receive a Zoom link.)

You MUST have Zoom Desktop Client on your Mac or PC to view a live program. If using a mobile device, you must have the Zoom App (available in the App Store or Google Play).

System requirements for Mac & PC can be found here. System requirements for mobile devices can be here.  

Please note that audience members do not need video or audio access.  Audience members are able to submit questions via the chat or Q & A features of Zoom. 

Chat: Open in-meeting chat, allowing you to send chat messages to and send a message to the host, panelists, and attendees (if permitted). Question & Answer: Open the Q&A window, allowing you to ask questions to the host and panelists. They can either reply back to you via text in the Q&A window or answer your question live. 


The Basics of Starting a Solo Practice (10/26/2021)
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Evaluation (4 speakers)
10 Questions
10 Questions Seminar evaluation form for seminar with four speakers
Claim MCLE Certificate (Live webcast, 1.25 IL - PR MCLE Credit)
Up to 1.25 CLE credits available  |  Certificate available
Up to 1.25 CLE credits available  |  Certificate available
Claim MCLE Certificate (on demand webcast, 1.25 IL - PR MCLE Credit)
Up to 1.25 CLE credits available  |  Certificate available
Up to 1.25 CLE credits available  |  Certificate available