Monday, May 27, 2013

Solo Lawyering as an Option in this Recessionary Market


Solo practice, a no doubt terrifying option for most new graduates, still remains an option for lawyers.  

Many resources exists to help new solos.  An article published recently, lists a few of them here. I am also following several blogs focused on solo practice that you can easily access through this blog site.  A much longer list of relevant blogs appears here

Recently, we offered students a one day workshop on going solo.  It covered:
  • Assessing the Risks and Rewards of Being a Lawyerpreneur 
  • Financing a Solo Practice 
  • Trust Accounts 
  • Income Tax Implications of Solo Practice 
  • Legal Research Resources 
  • Law Office Technology 
  • Ethics 
  • Marketing a Solo Practice, and 
  • Tips from an Alumna
For a free scanned copy of these materials, send me an email at pyoung@asl.edu.  

Interestingly, the alumna who offered advice to students told me she had turned down a job in the local Commonwealth Attorney's office because she was making more money in private solo practice.  Yes, it took her a few months to win the trust and confidence of the local judges and bar, but having done that, she now had a reliable stream of referrals, many of which were court-appointed criminal defense cases.    


The ABA's Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division, found here, provides many resources for new and existing solo practitioners.  The group offers monthly teleconferences and webinars on substantive topics, as well as on law office management issues.  It publishes a well-known book: How to Start & Build a Law Practice by Jay Foonberg, available here


The ABA President, Laurel Bellows, recently described solos as flexible and responsive making it easier for them to "thrive" in the recessionary economy.  In the same issue of the ABA Journal, Deborah L. Cohen identified mentors as the key to the success for fledgling solos.  They can serve as legal advisers, business strategists, courtroom guides, ethics counselors, and supportive listeners.  

Finally, in preparation for my portion of the presentation to students, I surveyed our library collection of books relating to solo practice and law firm marketing.  Even at our small library, I found over 20 books on the topics.  The library also had a multi-volume CD set of presentations and advice for solos, including one on how to develop a business plan. 


With all the changes the legal profession faces in this age of the New Normal, even experienced lawyers are looking at the solo option.  Yes, it is scary, but the upside potential is great!  Based on their FB postings, I see so many of our grads pursuing successful solo practices.  I am very proud of their courage, service to the community, and ability to support themselves and the ones they love.  

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