While you may never find an ideal time to start a firm, hopefully, you’ll realize when it’s time to stop. The attorney described in this article, Attorney Loses License Again, Kevin Eigelbach (9/21/05) apparently didn’t so now the bar’s stopped his practice for him. Attorney Gabbard of Kentucky has been suspended from practice for 21 months for neglecting two cases. Gabbard, who’d never had a complaint before and even won a pro bono award, claimed that his wife’s illness prevented him from carrying out his obligations which probably was a consideration. But given the amounts paid in these cases – $950 in one and $450 in the other, I’m wondering whether after 2 decades of practice, Gabbard just couldn’t get himself motivated for the amount of money involved. That doesn’t excuse his conduct of course, since for his clients, those amounts may have been substantial. But for me, the lesson is that if you can’t get yourself going to handle smaller matters, then don’t take them to begin with or farm them out and take a break. Better than a forced respite from practice.
Update: See Lisa Solomon’s comments on this story below, pointing out the impact that illness can have on a solo practice and more importantly, the need to get assistance when that happens.