In this latest installment of my Author’s Cut/Pocket Part series, I’m going to address two of the questions about the book that I’ve been frequently asked this month:
1. Why did you call the book Solo by Choice, particularly when so many people don’t voluntarily choose solo practice?
When I started the writing process, my publisher cautioned that choosing a book title would prove a difficult task, and he was right. I originally had a concept for a title, but that was back when my topic was much narrower than the final product. More than two years into the writing process, my publisher proposed Solo by Choice, a title that immediately fit. That’s because I believe that irrespective of our circumstances, all of us lawyers always have a choice. Some of us embrace solo practice joyfully and affirmatively. Some of us come to solo practice as a last resort – an act of desperation or a last shot effort to get our money’s worth out of a law degree. Some of us start a firm to get back into the law after staying home for a decade with children so that we can raise them and actually see them. But in any of one these scenarios, we all have a choice other than solo practice: we can leave the law entirely, we can stay employed in a job that offers financial security but doesn’t feed our soul, we can work part time. Those of us who eventually become solos make a choice to stay in the law and to use our law degree to serve clients, make money or leave a legacy behind. No matter what route took us here, ultimately, we stay because we are solos by choice.
As my book moved towards completion, I realized that Solo by Choice was apt for another reason as well. Because in virtually every aspect of the book – from deciding why to start a solo practice, to figuring out where to locate an office or what practice areas to pick or how to bill clients or market the firm – I don’t offer definitive answers (except in very narrow, no-brainer cases such as “don’t violate ethics rules”). I give examples of what I’ve done or what other solos have done, but ultimately, my book gives readers a discussion of available choices. And that’s because I’ve always believed that there is no right way to start a solo practice; for every rule, there are dozens and dozens of exceptions. As I’ve always said, there are as many ways to start a solo practice as there are solos themselves. What works for a gregarious young lawyer in a rural town may not apply to a shy older woman returning to the work force after twenty years of absense, and vice versa. What works for an Ivy League grad with a biglaw corporate practice probably won’t help a second career lawyer with a social worker background who hopes to start a collaborative family law practice, and vice versa. Sure, some general principles apply, but the nitty gritty decisions are case specific. Some don’t care for books that discuss options; they’d prefer a list of “do this, do that and you’ll succeed.” For me, however, making the choices and picking the ideas that work for me represents the most exciting and challenging part of the solo journey, and one that I wouldn’t want to replace with a one dimensional check list.
2. Where can I buy the book now? A couple of glitches in the distribution process slowed the process of getting the book to Amazon – and when it finally arrived, apparently, it was already oversubscribed. Another order is being shipped over right now. However, the book is also (sometimes) available on BarnesandNoble.com and the NALP.org bookstore. However, the best and quickest way to order now is to contact my publisher, Mark Jaroslaw by email at email@example.com. Or send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I apologize for these problems but they will be smoothed out in another two weeks.