Solo by Choice
How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be
By Carolyn Elefant
$45.00, paper back, 300 pages, 0-9406755-8-7 (2008)
Carolyn Elefant writes the highly popular blog www.MyShingle.com where she provides lots of encouragement for lawyers who are thinking about going solo. This wonderful book is for all those folks who are frustrated in their legal career and wonder if there is something more.
Carolyn captures the focus of her book wonderfully in her preface:
Back when you were in law school, you had dreams. Maybe it was standing before a jury, passionately arguing on behalf of a desperate client … or winning an appeal that would link your name to a new legal precedent … or pulling off a dramatic 11th hour deal that would give your struggling technology client a life-saving infusion of capital.
But what happened?
Here it is two, five, eight years out of law school – maybe more, maybe less – and most of these dreams are unrealized:
· You work 60-hour weeks in BigLaw, researching narrow legal issues for clients you never met, toting a partner's briefcase to court and watching him argue a motion you drafted nights and weekends, and which you know you could argue better given the opportunity.
· Or, you’re a government prosecutor or Justice Department attorney whose litigation experience is the envy of your large-firm colleagues, but where the work no longer challenges you and you can't move up any higher without political connections. Or you want to move to the private sector but your limited tenure won't bring sufficient value to the firm.
· Or, you were let go from a firm because you weren't partnership material, and now you're temping at document-review jobs that barely pay the bills.
· Or, you enjoy your work but you're plagued with guilt about leaving your children with a nanny five days a week.
· Or, you just passed the bar, and the prospect of paying off your student loans by slaving away the next seven, eight years on the chance you might make partner has you popping antacid in the middle of the night.
Of course, your own situation might not be all this grim, but you're still haunted by the thought there ought to be greater satisfaction practicing law.
Believe me, there is.
This book is dedicated to every lawyer who ever wanted to run the show but worried that going solo was career suicide … every lawyer who wanted to solo but didn't know how to set up the office and make it work … every lawyer who never set foot in a courtroom but dreamed of one day practicing law their way. In short, this book is dedicated to becoming the lawyer you always wanted to be.
Elefant begins an early chapter by listing six reasons to go solo (autonomy, practical experience, to feel like a lawyer, work flexibility, to own not loan your talent, and career satisfaction) and explains why each reason merits consideration. She then provides no-nonsense guidelines to follow in planning your solo practice and gives plenty of advice about getting started.
Elefant offers a practical course of action for dealing with clients, billing and fees, generating cash flow, outsourcing and growing your business. She also has highly informative chapters on both traditional marketing (including Web based marketing) and some nontraditional ideas.
The Appendix is filled with sample business plans, hardware and software basics for starting an office, legal research services, and ideas about creating a sample forms library. What is also noteworthy about this book is the treasure trove of author notes, solo quotes, sidebars filled with practical advice, and interviews with other solos.
This book is also filled with great ideas for those already in solo practice. But the real benefit is for those considering hanging out their own shingle. So if you've even had the glimmer of an idea that you'd like to become a solo practitioner, don't make a move before reading this excellent book.
Buy it on Amazon here.