A year ago, Hurricane Katrina reminded all of us solos of the somber side of solo practice; how everything we’ve worked to build can be wiped out in an instant. Sad to say, a year later, some solos are still struggling to get back on their feet, as reported in Uneasy Times for Lawyers in the Big Easy, National Law Journal (8/30/06). (h/t to Ernie the Attorney).
From the article:
Small-firm practitioner Bill Rittenberg is also dismayed
by the speed of rebuilding. He is earning about 60 percent of what he
was making at Rittenberg & Samuel prior to Katrina, he said, adding
that for eight months after the storm he did not pay himself anything.
But Rittenberg hastens to say that he feels fortunate to be working as
a lawyer. A fellow New Orleans attorney he knows is working as a
short-order cook, he said, and several lawyer-acquaintances have left
the area because they could not support their practices.
good news is I’m home with my friends. The bad news is that people are
still leaving,” he said. Rittenberg and his wife evacuated New Orleans
on Aug. 28 last year with two days’ worth of clothes. They were on the
road for two months, staying with various friends before they could
return home. While he was gone, his 93-year-old mother died, after
having been evacuated from two different facilities following the storm.
Rittenberg said he is “in much better shape,” but he is exasperated by
the lack of progress in his hometown. “The country seems to have
forgotten about us,” he said.
Still other firms are
beginning to recover, and some have even added new attorneys. Perhaps
in another year, business will return to normal for more small firm