My Shingle

Can Solo Practice Make You Open Your Mouth?

by Carolyn Elefant on June 15, 2006 · 0 comments

in Finding Your Passion, MyShingle Solo

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Each week, the ABA e-report has been featuring some of the runner up entries in its Ross Essay Contest.  One of this week’s essays, Opening My Mouth by Elizabeth Streit caught my eye.  Streit doesn’t write about solo practice; she’s a government litigator.  But what she’s written about how government practice transformed her life as a lawyer is equally true of solo practice.

From her account, Streit was a shy kid, “too afraid to open my mouth.  I was not a leader.”  Streit’s dad was a lawyer who encouraged his children to join him in the profession.  So after college, Streit gained admittance to a prestigious law school, joined a prestigious firm, but still never found passion in the law.  She had married before law school and began to think that once her children arrived, that she would abandon the profession.  But then, Streit experienced her aha moment:

But something happened to me as I continued to practice law. I started to open my mouth on behalf of clients. I left the prestigious law firm practice and became a government lawyer, where I found I represented interests I could become passionate about.

I felt the same way about solo practice that Streit felt about her government job. Solo practice gave me a chance to open my mouth on behalf of my clients, but more importantly, I started to open my mouth behalf of me.  Has solo practice transformed you and ignited a passion for law that you’d lost along the way – or never believed you had in you?  Let me know how, in the comments below.

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