Robert Denney has an article in this month’s Oct/Nov ’06 issue of Law Practice Management on What’s Cooking for Solos and Small Firms. At least one the trends is kind of old news to me, such as the move towards specialization, though in rural areas, clients seem to want and need the old-fashioned “country lawyer” who has a diverse practice and can serve as “one stop shopping” for the client’s legal needs. Solos, however, who specialize, are offering one stop shopping as well by affiliating with other specialized lawyers.
As for trends, standbys like estate planning, divorce and criminal remain hot, with elder law and immigration law growing in popularity. Consumer bankruptcy has cooled because of reforms, as had medical malpractice, because of tort reform.
And there’s good news for lawyers who want to pursue traditional biglaw practice areas:
Because of Sarbanes-Oxley and other potential conflicts, the lawyers in large firms no longer serve on the boards of publicly held companies. Recently, however, there seems to be an increase in solos and small firm lawyers sitting on the boards of privately held companies. And not only are these lawyers serving, in effect, as “in-house” legal counsel, they are also serving as trusted business advisors.